Netflix recently released The Christmas Chronicles, a family movie starring Kurt Russell filling the role of Santa Claus. He might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of possible contenders for playing “Jolly Old Saint Nick,” but Russell actually knocked it out of the park with this role, as he does with every role.
The premise is simple enough, Kate and Teddy are two children whose father recently passed away. Kate and her mother are doing their best to try and enjoy their first Christmas absent a paternal presence in the home, while Teddy has become a rebellious teen, ostensibly abandoning Christmas and getting into trouble at every opportunity.
Things take a left turn when the children’s mother gets called into work on Christmas Eve and the two are left home alone. Kate gets the bright idea to stay up and try to catch a glimpse of Santa Clause, while her brother begrudgingly agrees.
As it happens, their plan actually works.
Santa Claus turns out not to be the jolly old man with a big round belly, as they’d previously assumed, but a gruff, easily irritated Kurt Russell who refuses to say “Ho Ho Ho.” After losing his sack of presents, the kids have to help Santa Track it down, lest Christmas be completely ruined.
The Christmas Chronicles has a little bit of everything. It’s funny enough that both children and adults will find their fair share of laughs. It’s sentimental enough to warm the hearts of the young and old. It’s even action-packed and effects-heavy enough to keep the attention of teenagers.
Santa Claus eventually ends up being detained by the Chicago Police Department and lands himself behind bars, a plot audiences have seen before in films like The Santa Clause, but there have been so many movies about Santa Claus made at this point that it’s virtually impossible not to have some overlap.
At the end of the day The Christmas Chronicles isn’t an art-house masterpiece or even a high-octane thrill-ride, but it’s a lot of fun and something the entire family can enjoy together. Isn’t that what most Christmas movies are trying to achieve?
If so, The Christmas Chronicles is a home-run.
The Christmas Chronicles also stars Oliver Hudson, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Judah Lewis, Lamorne Morris, Tom Kane, and Darby Camp, and is directed by Clay Katis. Katis previously directed The Angry Birds Movie.