The Christmas Chronicles is the newest Chrimbo film to hit Netflix and it might not have been able to reach the lofty heights of Elf or a Christmas Story but this does not mean it was / is a bad film. In fact, I would go as far as to say, despite its mixed bag of reviews, it is a pretty damn good one. Granted Its nothing new, somewhat predictable and has some dubious CGI, BUT… but, it has a lot of heart and warmth within and Kurt Russell is the best Santa Claus I’ve seen in a film to date; just oozing with cool and bringing what could have been a subpar film straight out of the snow drift…. Oh and the additional cameo, at the end, of Mrs Claus is pure Gold…ie.
The story is a variation of a well-trodden path: sister and a brother, Kate and Teddy Pierce have a Christmas Eve plan to catch Santa Claus on camera. This unexpectedly turns into a journey that most kids could only dream about! So far, so generic BUT there is something in this familiarity, and coupled with Russell’s portrayal of the great man himself, that works and keeps you hooked in. On top of this, there are also two additional facets that truly gave me the warm and fuzzies.
First off is simple exposition of how Santa, well, works. From how he gets from one place to another, with basically a Santafied warp drive, to how he gets in and out of people’s houses with the aid of his magic hat… What about all the presents? Well his toy sack is a portal to his work shop; simple. I loved it, it was silly, but it gave me, and my girlfriends daughter, explanation and reason.. it worked so well in fact that whenever the elf on the Shelf in our house teleports around and gets up to mischief, she believes it all the more, unquestioned and that to me is beautiful.
Secondly is a personal one and I think only something a family who has suffered loss will resonate with. The main premise behind the film is one of loss, how it can dilute, if not destroy, your Christmas spirit and how that without that spirit people are just, well, dicks. And so it is that Teddy and Kate lose their dad, Kate is too young to fully understand but Teddy, being older, not only lost his role model but also lost his belief in Christmas. All the while their mother works late to make sure they are supported and just wants them both to get a long and for them all to have a proper Christmas again.
This for me was pretty powerful stuff. My father died a few years ago and Christmas has never been the same since.. like Teddy I’d give anything to see him again and like Teddy there was a time when I lost my Christmas Spirit, but as is shown in the film, family and friends can bring it back for you and that to me is a warm and impactful message for anyone who has been through the same thing.
The Christmas Chronicles is pure heart. It might not have been the most original film out there but who wants originality at Christmas eah? Its all about Familiarity, warmth and embracing the spirit of the season.
Enjoyable, heart-warming, funny and with the greatest portrayal of Santa to date, the Christmas Chronicles is definitely worth some air time with you loved ones close by.