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Films that rely on the premise of the movie revolving around Christmas are always a perfect viewing experience during the holidays. It’s very rare that viewers feel the absolute need to watch a holiday film during fall, spring or summer, so when these movies finally arrive/air, it’s worth the wait. I feel a certain leniency when talking about Christmas movies, due to the fact that I just enjoy watching them in general. That being said, I will be putting my personal bias aside in favour of giving an authentic review here, which is going to be quite positive regardless. One of Netflix’s latest feature film releases in The Christmas Chronicles may just be one of the best Christmas movies in recent memory, but that’s because there really haven’t been many great ones in the last decade or so. Here’s why I believe The Christmas Chronicles deserve your attention this holiday season.
Still grieving the loss of their father and having to stay home alone on Christmas Eve, two siblings discover the real Santa as he enters their house, which sets them on a journey with him to save Christmas. Yes, this plot is very formulaic and has been done a million times in throughout the years, but these are all very like-able characters. Teddy (the older brother) begins as a troubled teen, but has a great arc throughout the movie, especially between him and his sister’s relationship and Kate (his younger sister) is reinvigorated with her belief in Santa. This film explores many facets of the Christmas season and what it means, while also presenting a fun adventure for the whole family. On top of that, Kurt Russell makes for a fantastic Santa Claus.
Aside from appearing in tentpole films like The Fate of the Furious or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, it’s been a while since he’s truly headlined a mainstream film. While Netflix isn’t exactly mainstream in terms of theatricality, I would classify this as his biggest lead role in quite a while. Not only is it nice to see him at the forefront, but he truly does play a great Santa. His enthusiasm is terrific and the way he plays off the kids as if he’s almost tired of being Santa or just too good at it in general, his performance makes this film worth watching alone. The subtle adult humour makes this movie an easy watch for adults, but there’s also a lot to go around for kids.
From computer-generated elves to Santa’s sleigh flying through the sky with computer-generated reindeer, this has everything that kids hope to see in a film like this. Not that I’m saying it’s as good of a film as the original Tim Allen-lead The Santa Clause, but this is the first movie since then that had such a broad spectrum of comedy. From lame poop and fart jokes for kids to humour that only adults will understand, The Christmas Chronicles truly has it all. As I said though, you’ve seen this movie a million times, but if that doesn’t bother you, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy this film as I did.
In the end, The Christmas Chronicles was a very nice surprise from Netflix and I hope more holiday films like this can be made in the foreseeable future. Aside from R-rated sequels to comedies like Bad Santa 2, A Bad Moms Christmas, or even A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, original Christmas movies have been lacking over the last few years. Although not perfect, this was a breath of fresh air and I can absolutely see myself revisiting this one in the Decembers to come.