Netflix Original: The Christmas Chronicles Review
Netflix’s newest Christmas movie gives us a different kind of Santa Claus in The Christmas Chronicles, and who better to play the part then Kurt Russell.
Siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis) hatch a scheme to capture Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. When the plan goes awry, the kids join forces with a somewhat jolly Saint Nick and his loyal elves to save the holiday before it’s too late.
The Christmas Chronicles has lots of heart and life to it, but there is a very sad story to it as well. The Pierce siblings come from a Christmas-loving home, but the recent death of their firefighter father (Oliver Hudson, Splitting Up Together) has put a dark cloud over what’s supposed to be a happy holiday. Kate hasn’t lost her Christmas spirit, but Teddy has lost his faith and looks to be heading down a dark path. But when they are left alone on Christmas Eve with nothing but their dad’s old video camera and a plan to prove that Santa is real, things get wild fast.
Kurt Russell is a phenomenal Santa and is very different than what’s been done before. He is edgy, hip and notably slimmed down which he mocks by constantly pointing out that the commercialization of Santa Claus has unfairly packed on pounds. Russell is having so much fun with the role, really going all out and delivering plenty of charm, making his rendition of Santa Claus one of the best we’ve seen in the movies.
The best part about this version of Santa is how he knows intimate details about every person he comes in contact with. The most important example of this is a scene involving a Chicago police officer who won’t admit he only wants to hear from his ex-wife for Christmas, and Santa knows this. It doesn’t convince him to pull Santa out of the slammer, well almost.
Even though the movie is called The Christmas Chronicles, you really see only one setting, and that would be the streets of Chicago. Kate is the only one who ventures outside of Chicago when she has to find Santa’s elves for help in getting Christmas back on track. The elves have a smurf-like CGI look to them and they only speak Elvish. Sadly, they aren’t a fleshed out as they should be. It’s also sad that when Kate does make it to the North Pole we don’t really spend enough time there.
Overall, The Christmas Chronicles is an enjoyable holiday film. There are some fun, lazy jokes that should be taken as just jokes (especially the one involving fake news), but the movie soars high thanks to the joyous energy that Kurt Russell brings to the movie. You can clearly tell he is having a crazy amount of fun, and that feeling is rather contagious.