Operation Christmas off script


photo by Netflix

Released Nov. 5, “Operation Christmas Drop” does not follow your typical holiday movie standards.

Going snorkeling or tanning on a beach do not exactly fit the classic image of snow falling, snowmen and hot chocolate of a sappy Christmas movie. However, Netflix’s “Operation Christmas Drop,” released Nov. 5, attempts to change that narrative. It follows Erica (Kat Graham) as she heads to Guam on a mission from Washington D.C. to find flaws in an Air Force base. Erica’s boss specifically asks her to go on this trip so she skips going back to her hometown to visit her dad for Christmas.

The Air Force base in Guam makes their goal for the holidays to deliver presents to families on remote islands in need. Every year, the base drops boxes of items out of a plane for different islands. While Erica’s boss pushes to defund the program because she wants to make changes or close the base completely. But, Erica finds ways to fight to keep it afloat – making her an empathetic and relatable character.

Known for playing Bonnie Bennett in the popular teen drama, “The Vampire Diaries,”  Graham makes a smooth transition into her role in “Operation Christmas Drop.” Her normal drama-filled, supernatural TV show character is very different from the workaholic personality of Erica, but her acting is superb.

Cast members made their roles in the movie seem like they not only enjoyed their role but related to their character as well. Although their acting is well-done, the film is predictable once the plot starts to pick up. 

While she is in Guam, Erica meets Andrew (Alexander Ludwig), and their relationship blossoms into more than just a couple of co-workers and they have excellent chemistry. Despite this, the film’s plot is too predictable to make up for in good acting.

While the storyline was easy to follow and chronological, it lacked originality and felt slow. The first 20 minutes are full of nonsense to take up time, making those minutes feel overly long. What was going on throughout was not clear for the audience. 

Even though the plot is bland, the character development of the main duo is still enjoyable and engaging enough. Erica and Andrew build a strong bond throughout the movie by spending time together and getting to know each other instead of going off of what the other person seems to be. This gave a romantic characteristic to this holiday movie. 

One thing that made the film special was its humor and comedic timing. Erica embarrasses herself by dancing in front of the whole Air Force base at a party, a notably amusing scene. Little scenes like this created a cheery atmosphere. 

In the same respect, the music further infused the film with the holiday spirit. Unlike most recent Christmas movies, the song list is well planned, with a mix of newer and classic songs. “Christmas in the Sand” by Colbie Caillat and “White Christmas” by CeeLo Green give this film its own Christmas twist, tying in well to the unusual setting. This was much appreciated over the alternative option of original songs from the cast members. The classic tunes enhance an authentic holiday feeling.

“Operation Christmas Drop” went off-script with a unique setting and perspective on Christmas cinema. But despite centering around a sunny and humid Guam, the holiday joy radiates off this movie, making it another hit to watch snuggled up on the couch with family or friends sipping hot cocoa. 

Some may call it cheesy, and the writing can be lackluster at times, but the Christmas spirit in this film is enough to make it watchable. “Operation Christmas Drop” might not fit the regular Christmas mold like “Elf” or “The Polar Express” but it’s unusual setting made this movie one in a million.