NETFLIX (2018)

 

Directors: Clay Kaytis

 

Starring: Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Lamorne Morris, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Oliver Hudson

Ho ho h…not THIS Santa!

 

Continuing their year-end assault, Netflix throws its Santa hat into the ring with the festive The Christmas Chronicles. As you should be able to tell, it’s a Christmas movie, which may have already alienated those readers averse to festive fun or the undeniable saccharine and cheese that follows these movies and their every scene. Me? I do enjoy a little Christmas flick over the season, though, some are just…awful.

The Christmas Chronicles follows Kate (Camp) and tearaway teen Teddy (Lewis) as they team up with Santa Claus (Russell) himself after their plan to catch him on camera goes south leaving Christmas itself in the balance. With the aid of some feisty elves and the magic of the season, the three must reinstall the Christmas spirit to the world and ensure all those gifts get delivered. Oh, it’s all so cliché and well-worn, but its Christmas and Kurt Russell as Santa!

 

Everything you’d expect to see is here, so think of it and you’ll find. The abundant joy of the season is what fuels everything and it’ll take a hardened heart not to feel warm at the images that painted our childhoods. Hip-deep snow, fuzzy reindeer, eggnog, impeccably wrapped gifts, family sadness – it’s all here! With Chris Columbus (of Home Alone, early-Harry Potter and Gremlins pedigree) producing, the look of Christmas was always going to be realised and, of course, it all feels very merry. In Kurt Russell’s Santa we get a jovial Saint Nick who’s more in shape than most, scowling at the mention of “ho ho ho” and more than happy to drop a rock n roll number whilst incarcerated or joyriding in a Dodge Challenger - he’s by far the most appealing part of The Christmas Chronicles and one of the more pleasing cinematic Santas. Camp and Lewis make fun, if not vanilla, leads who capture the childlike, Disney Channel-esque vibe required.

  

Though some will indulge, it would be sacrilege to watch The Christmas Chronicles at any other time during the year – it only works during the Holiday Season. The feelgood factor that comes with the time of the year removes the cynicism that would ordinarily smother a movie as sickly sweet and predictable as this. In terms of Christmas movies, The Christmas Chronicles is a great movie to watch with the little ones and just have fun – leave the criticism at the door and just enjoy. The kids and I did. Of all the Christmas or festive offerings this year, The Christmas Chronicles is the best of the lot – it’s simply just a lot of fun...plus, KURT RUSSELL AS SANTA.

December 23rd 2018

© 2016 Matt Hudson / What I Watched Tonight / Essex

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