The Christmas Chronicles (not rated, but would be PG)
The Christmas Chronicles on Netflix is an entertaining and heart-warming family-friendly holiday film. The film is directed by Clay Kaytis (The Angry Bird Movie) and written by David Guggenheim (Designated Survivor) and Matt Lieberman.
We meet the Pierce family through a series of family videos filmed during Christmas over a period of several years. We see the children, Teddy and Kate, growing up as the videos go through Christmas 2017. But on Christmas Eve 2018 it’s obvious that their father Doug, played by Oliver Hudson (Nashville), has died. Mom (Claire), played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley (According to Jim, Nashville), is a nurse and she’s doing her best to keep the family together.Kate, played by Darby Camp (Big Little Lies), is 10 years old and still believes in Santa, while her teenage brother Teddy, played by Judah Lewis, is moody and has been getting into trouble with his friends since his father died. And he wants nothing to do with his young sister, who he used to be close to and affectionately called her “Katy Kat”.
Kate finds her father’s video camera and makes a humorous video letter to Santa, joking about her occasional bad language. She enjoys watching the family Christmas videos, and is shocked when she sees what she believes is Santa’s arm in one of the videos. When Mom is called away from making Christmas cookies with Kate to do an extra shift at the hospital on Christmas Eve, Teddy is told that he has to stay home with Kate, which he is not happy about. Kate shows him the video of Santa’s arm and convinces him to set up the video camera to catch Santa making his delivery to the Pierce home, which is exactly what happens.
Kate and Teddy watch in amazement as Santa, played by Golden Globe nominee Kurt Russell (Silkwood), makes his Christmas gift deliveries throughout their Massachusetts neighborhood. Kate and Teddy end up in Santa’s sleigh without him knowing about it. Santa and the reindeer take off to make his deliveries around the world. As the sleigh speeds through the evening sky, Kate is freezing cold. She frightens Santa, who loses his bag of toys and hat, while his reindeer run loose. Santa’s sleigh crashes in Chicago, and Christmas is now in serious jeopardy.
Santa must find his reindeer and repair his sleigh, but time is ticking away, especially when the Chicago Police end up throwing Santa in jail for stealing a car. Can Christmas be saved?
The film has a good deal of humor and some nice special effects. It features a pleasing performance from Kurt Russell as Santa Claus, who doesn’t say “Ho, Ho, Ho!” No, he says that is “Fake news”. Oscar winner Goldie Hahn (Cactus Flower), has a small role as Mrs. Claus to real-life partner Kurt Russell’s Santa Claus. Her real-life son Oliver, plays father Doug in the film. E-Street Band member Miami Steve Van Zandt plays Wolfie, a member of the band, in a fun musical number of Elvis’ “Santa Claus is Back in Town” in a Chicago jail sung by Santa (Kurt Russell). Other members of the band are from Van Zandt’s band The Disciples of Soul.
The Christmas Chronicles is an enjoyable, heart-warming and well-made film that the entire family can enjoy. Family is the major theme in the film.