Major streaming platform Netflix recently started to release its share of Christmas movies for 2018. Among them, The Christmas Chronicles, a movie about two kids that decide, upon witnessing Santa Claus, to climb on his sleigh, with mixed consequences.
Merry Christmas! Or so you’d like to believe… Because Christmas’ spirit is quickly decreasing, and only Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) can save the day. Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp) Pierce are two kids from Lowell, Massachusetts, who always saw Christmas as the major event of the year. Their father used to record every single one, until his death the year before. As a result, Teddy turned into a young thug and Christmas rhymes with sadness. But after his sister boards Santa’s sleigh clandestinely, Teddy feels forced to follow, and they scare Santa, causing his sleigh to crash. The three of them now have to gather reindeers, the sack of gifts and elves if they don’t want mayhem to occur, as Teddy and Kate accepted to atone for their sin and help Santa in this dangerous quest.
The new Netflix movie strikes as an instant family hit. Here, the film transmits “It’s all about believing” as its main message. Teddy’s major hobby is to hang out with his thug friends and he lost all belief in Santa Claus and in the Christmas spirit, so his encounters with Santa offers him a chance to redeem himself. Kate always hoped to see Santa and her wish finally comes true. Kurt Russell portrays quite a modern Santa, talking about ‘fake news’ and owning mainly the power of remembering every person’s name and Christmas wishes thanks to their kid selves. He surprises more than one character in the movie by getting out of his coat the toys the character loved as a kid. One of the most unlikely scenes sees Santa singing like a rock star after being thrown to jail.
The scenario doesn’t have any big twist, but the execution remains quite enjoyable. The elves come into play at some point to help fix Santa’s sleigh (they even speak their own dialect) and to deliver Teddy from a dire situation; Santa predicts that the police will have a lot to do if he can’t distribute the gifts, and sure enough, they do; and the movie’s last part consists in a rush against the clock to get all the gifts to all the rights receivers in time. And our trio succeeds before Santa makes an exception to what he said earlier was a myth by leaving by shouting a powerful “Ho ho ho”.
Overall, The Christmas Chronicles is an interesting take on the classic Christmas story, spiced up with quite a lot of modern elements (one of the supporting characters asks the protagonists why they don’t take an Uber to find the reindeers). It will perfectly fit in the Christmas library next to classics such as Love Actually.