As soon as I watched the first trailer of The Christmas Chronicles, I was sure that I was going to add it to my holiday watch list. I didn’t originally know that it was going to be on Netflix so imagine my pleasant surprise when it turned up on my recommendations list along with The Princess Switch. No two words about it, it skyrocketed to the priority list as a must see with my three year old nephew.
Synopsis: After losing their firefighter dad to a work-related accident, the Pierce family is celebrating Christmas for the first time without a father. Claire, the mom is always being called away at work while Teddy (Judah Lewis), the eldest, becomes quite distant to his little sister Katie (Darby Camp) who is even more lost than the rest of her family. While reviewing footages of Christmas past on her dad’s old camcorder, Katie finds evidence that Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) exists and blackmails her brother into a stakeout to capture Santa on film on Christmas eve. Unfortunately, a wrong move threatens to ruin Christmas for kids all around the world and the siblings vow to help Santa on his journey to save Christmas for all his true believers.
If you’re looking for a holiday viewing treat to be enjoyed with the rest of the family, then The Christmas Chronicles will definitely fit the bill. Kurt Russell may not be the typical Santa that audiences are used to. He’s not extremely jolly and cliche but he made the character more human, more chill and more cool. He also doesn’t shimmy down the chimneys and rather prefers to do a Flash Gordon and speed through houses through the chimneys and windows to deliver his presents, superhero style.
I loved the rapport Santa established with the rebellious teen Teddy and true believer Katie and I loved the way he went about the business of saving Christmas dropping names and pulling gifts from underneath his greatcoat like a magician even as his reindeers are running loose in the streets of Chicago and his bag of gifts is nowhere to be found. I like that even though he’s different, he is also the same as other Santas before him. He believes in the magic of Christmas and is fully committed to saving Christmas even in the face of the insurmountable odds.
I can’t say that the plot is overly original, nor can I say that The Christmas Chronicles managed to steer clear of the cliches. It doesn’t pretend to do that, but rather embraces the best parts about the traditional and unique aspects of the Christmas season. In doing so, it succeeds in enveloping the film with the magic of the holiday and the warmth of family at every turn. Its not just the belief in Santa that the film promotes but its the virtue of love and family and the miracles that one can achieve with determination and confidence.
All in all, I love how Christmas-y the entire movie was. It manages to embody everything that people love about the holidays and it even got me tearing up through the corniest and cheesiest of dialogues simply because it taps into audiences’ soft spot for family and love. The elves are super cute, especially Lars and Bjorn who can’t get enough of candy canes. I loved Santa’s Fast and the Furious moment, his hatred for his commercial depictions, his brutal frankness and his musical number and the reveal on who Mrs. Claus was. It was fun and entertaining yet it was funny and dramatic at the same time and that’s a plus and a plus on my book. Personally, I think this could work perfectly as a standalone but I wouldn’t mind sitting through a sequel if Netflix decides to greenlight a follow up movie for next year. Thumbs up to the entire team behind this movie! Its the perfect way to welcome the season.
PS. By the way, my nephew sat through the entire movie and this is the first time he has completed watching an entire full feature film and remained interested throughout. If that isn’t a shining endorsement, I don’t know what is. Thank you or this gem, Netflix!
PPS. I also loved Santa and Mrs’ Claus’s costumes in this movie. I loved that Santa’s hair and beard wasn’t pure white which perfectly complemented the fur lining of his coat and hat. He’s one cool Santa, this one.