Here’s where I admit that I never watched The Christmas Chronicles. The response, at the time, was mixed and very generally speaking Christmas movies in November are not my favourite thing. Now that there is a sequel coming out I took the time to watch them both and you know what? You guys were wrong. The Christmas Chronicles is delightful, and while it definitely loses something by being a sequel The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two is too.
The story picks up two years after the first Christmas Eve adventure, with the kids and their family in Mexico. Teddy (Judah Lewis) is happy to be there, but Kate (Darby Camp) is dissatisfied with the lack of snow and with her their mom’s new boyfriend. At the same time, word has gotten out that she’s a true believer in Christmas and Santa Claus and an angry figure from the south pole –and Santa’s past– called Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) schemes to use her to make his return to the north pole and usurp Christmas.
The plot of this film is not exactly unpredictable. Kate ends up on another adventure, this time with her mom’s new boyfriends younger son. The younger kid needs to find his courage, the older kid needs to accept the passing of their father, and that Mom’s new boyfriend (Tyrese Gibson – yes, Roman from the Fast & Furious franchise is in this as a wholesome dad) and an adventure with Kurt Russel’s Santa and Goldie Hawn’s Mrs Claus is just the ticket to solve these character dramas.
In many ways, the story is exactly the same as the first time around with the characters shuffled a bit, with a small amount of character development for Santa as well. There’s solving of daddy issues, rediscovering the Christmas spirit, and a lively musical number in the middle where Santa serenades a crowded airport with a Christmas rock song (and backed up by Darlene Love).
Kurt Russell stole the show in the first film as Santa, and he does here too. He is just the right amount of cranky and sweet, and while the logic of his magic is inconsistent at times… well… he’s Santa, so who cares? He and Goldie Hawn are clearly having a great time making these things and while I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call them great films I will go so far as to say they are fun holiday romps.
The Christmas Chronicles 1 & 2 owe a lot to many other holiday movies that have come before, but if you love holiday films like Elf or The Santa Clause, then these movies should both be right up your alley.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two premieres on Netflix on November 25th