The Christmas Chronicles – 3 out of 5
I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas films. I’m not going to yuck on anyone’s yum it’s just that a majority of these holiday features were just things that weren’t a part of my formative years. Yes, I watched Charlie Brown’s special and all the stop-motion stuff but they never struck a chord in me and, after seeing them once, I was never filled with the desire to see them again. Don’t get me wrong, there are Christmas movies I love like A Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation and Elf (and no, I don’t consider Die Hard a Christmas movie. If you do, that’s fine but because a story takes place during that time of the year doesn’t mean I’ll accept it as a holiday movie). However, when Netflix decided to bring in Kurt Russell and his fantastic hair to play Santa Claus, I listened and heeded the call.
|They were impressed to see Santa but when they saw that magnificent hair...|
In the Pierce household, Christmas has always been a big deal but after the father Doug (Oliver Hudson) passes away, the matriarch of the family; Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) desperately tries to keep the family strong. The spirit of the holiday season is alive and well in her daughter Kate (Darby Camp) but her son Teddy (Judah Lewis) starts to fall in with a bad crowd. After her job forces her to leave the kids alone on Christmas Eve, Kate decides she wants to use her father’s old camcorder to catch footage of Santa (Kurt Russell). After they discover that he is in fact real, they end up getting trapped in his sleigh and the surprise of it causes enough mayhem where Santa loses control and his reindeer scatter. Now they are all stranded in Chicago and time is running out for Santa to deliver presents to all the children of the world so he must team with the kids to get his job done.
|I almost want to believe that there really is a Kurt Russell Santa Claus delivering|
me presents every Christmas.
Overall, I found The Christmas Chronicles to be a cheesy but enjoyable holiday film. It has its fair share of sappiness that works effectively well and its share of moments that it was hard not to cringe at or even chuckle over. The performances range from fun to serviceable and the all-around look of the film ultimately feels and appears like a Hallmark Christmas film. The movie is never really doing anything truly awful but isn’t doing a whole lot to really standout in the sea of holiday films. I know that sounds harsh but it’s not intended to be because I did enjoy the film and found it made me laugh, smile and even squeeze out some tears but it did feel a tad on the generic and formulaic side for me.
|I'm not going to beat around the bush here, I found the animated elves a|
The one thing I really enjoyed about this film is Santa Claus himself, the man that was the reason I gave this film a shot to begin with; Kurt Russell and his luxurious locks. I’m a fan of the guy (and his great hair). I think he’s a terrific and versatile actor that oozes charisma and charm. He brings all that and a lot of fun to the role of Santa. Also, by having Russell as Santa, this allowed for the film’s best running gag and that is how he is the antithesis to the expectation of Santa. He’s not round like a bowl full of jelly, he doesn’t say “Ho Ho Ho,” and there are no red chubby cheeks behind that beard. Russell really brought something new and fun to this character as this dynamic allowed for Santa to be a tad snarky and Russell delivered that aspect incredibly.
|This Santa will steal your girl...and you'll be okay with it.|
Will The Christmas Chronicles go on to be a Christmas classic that I have to watch every year? No. Did I expect it to be when I sat down to watch it or even when I first saw the trailer? That answer is also no. I grant that the film is super cheesy and looks to be a little on the cheap side but I did find it fun and heartwarming. There’s an entertainment value to it that compliments the season rather than feel like it is capitalizing from it. Plus, Kurt Russell was a damn cool Santa.
|I won't spoil who Mrs. Claus is but it was pretty amusing and adorable.|