Courtesy of Netflix

Blurd: “Operation Christmas Drop” captures the Christmas spirit as it transports you to a tropical holiday wonderland.

With the holiday season fast approaching, Netflix recently released “Operation Christmas Drop,” a truly different film that takes place on an island —  as opposed to the usual snowy settings that several Hallmark movies are known for. It seems like the world is divided by whether or not one is a winter or summer person, and this film brings together the best of both worlds in a unique tale of what Christmas really entails.

Based on a humanitarian mission conducted by the Department of Defense, “Operation Christmas Drop” follows Erica Miller (Kat Graham), who works as an aide to Congresswoman Bradford (Virginia Madsen). Upon seeing an article questioning the operation, Bradford sends Erica to Guam to assess the productivity of the U.S. Air Force base. Erica, desperate to ascend the ranks, views this as an opportunity for a promotion and is given the vital task of assessing whether the operation should be ceased. She befriends the Air Force captain, Andrew Jantz (Alexander Ludwig), who shows Erica the mechanisms of the operation and attempts to convince her that it should be maintained. 

Although it takes place on an island, the film still manages to capture the Christmas spirit. It effortlessly captures two different settings by shifting between a white Christmas in Washington, D.C. to the sunny, tropical Guam islands. Furthermore, it is filmed at the Andersen Air Force base in Guam, which makes the film more authentic. The amazing locations in the film make it visually stunning as it showcases the tranquil beauty and crystal clear beaches in Guam. The camera also works well in capturing the entirety of the island and beaches by utilizing a bird’s-eye view. The film takes the audience along with Erica and Andrew as they travel through the island’s lush greenery in their Jeep. 

Despite the great locations and camera work, there are some flaws in the film that make it less engaging. The film has a predictable plot, allowing the audience to deduce the ending and the actions characters will inevitably take. In addition, there are a few scenes in the film that are too lengthy. In one scene, a CGI geico is in Erica’s room as she has a conversation with it and attempts to lure it outside. While it was perhaps an attempt to include humor in the film, it fails to do so and seems pointless. 

Each actor performed a great job in delivering their respective characters. Graham was successfully ambitious and dedicated to being an exceptional employee in the eyes of the congresswoman. She transitions from embodying a strict attitude towards the operation to a zealous demeanor to embrace Christmastime in Guam, being miles away from home. Her costume design also works in establishing this change in character as her attire changes from dark, professional clothing to more colorful tones. Ludwig captured Andrew’s kind-hearted, selfless nature who finds joy in helping others in any way possible. His character is predominantly seen smiling throughout the film, and his facial expressions really nail Andrew’s content personality. Madsen portrays the “Grinch” in the film with her intimidating, powerful manner and stubborn attitude. In addition, the film also includes a nonfictional character, Bruce Best, who is a researcher at the University of Guam and has dedicated multiple years in proving communication to islanders and volunteering for the operation. Playing himself in the film, he shares some of his contributions, such as helping to collect generators for the islanders. This makes the film altogether more meaningful and establishes a sense of unity among compassionate individuals with a common goal of helping others. 

“Operation Christmas Drop” effectively fosters the themes of giving and selflessness through dedicated characters that will stop at nothing to aid those in need. They display heroism by taking initiative and dedicating numerous hours towards the operation, which reinforces the meaning of humanity and inspires the audience to give back. Moreover, a theme of unity is established as the air base works together to justify the operation and is determined in overcoming obstacles that prevent it from executing their mission. The film displays the true meaning of Christmas: discovering ways to provide happiness to others.

Ultimately, the film is unique in that it doesn’t take place in a winter wonderland. Sure, it has a few faults, but the effectively delivered theme, acting and superb scenery make up for them. Furthermore, it manages to maintain the holiday ambiance as it educates the audience on the U.S. government’s humanitarian airdrop mission to provide donations to islanders.

Verdict: With a few bumps in plot, “Operation Christmas Drop” is a lighthearted, decent film with great acting and cinematography. Through it’s heartwarming themes, it is sure to put anyone in the holiday spirit.