When one of the coolest actors on the planet takes on the role of Santa Claus, he turns what could have been just another sappy, sugary sweet Christmas movie into a tasty Christmas treat.
Santa Claus premieres on Netflix on Thursdaday, November 22rd.
The Christmas Chronicles opens with a montage of the Pierce family Christmases over the years before snapping into 2018 where find the Pierces – mother Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Nashville) teenaged Teddy (Judah Lewis, The Babysitter) and Katie (Darby Camp, Big Little Lies) – about to celebrate – if that’s the word – Christmas Eve with Claire having to go to work.
Katie spends much of the evening watching old Christmas videos – and missing her dad – before spotting a mysterious red-clad arm placing a Christmas present under their tree.
Convinced it’s the real Santa Claus, she persuades Teddy – now something of a delinquent – into helping her video Santa (Kurt Russell, The Fate of the Furious, Guardians of the Galaxy 2) when he arrives. And, sure enough, he arrives.
In trying to get more and better video, Katie and Teddy wind up stowing away on Santa’s sleigh and causing an accident that puts Christmas in jeopardy.
Naturally, they want to help get Santa back on track.
Cue free range flying reindeer; Santa in jail (with Russell rockin’ a little Santa Claus Is Back In Town); thugs hassling Teddy, and… elves!
Lewis and Camp make quite the pair of slightly dysfunctional siblings – and Martin Roach (officer Poveda) and Lamorne Morris (Officer Jameson) play the two cops who arrest Santa with suspicion (Poveda) and growing belief (Jameson) – the former taking a wee bit more than a selection of the toys he asked for when he was a kid.
As for Santa, Russell instantly makes him the coolest toy giver on the planet. Could we expect anything else?
At a time when you could drop into a diabetic coma from all the sugar in the average Christmas movie, it’s nice to have one that rocks a bit – and is still very much a film for the whole family to enjoy.
Final Grade: B+