Your appreciation of The Christmas Chronicles will depend on your age, or your excitement over the concept of seeing Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. If you’re under 15 then you’ll likely enjoy this festive family flick as a kid’s adventure and if you’re a Kurt Russell fan then you’ll take delight in his rough and tumble performance as a kick-ass St Nick. However, if you’re not in either of these disparate camps then you might find this Clay Kaytis directed Netflix adventure something of a chore.
Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) are a bickering brother and sister combo who are still mourning the loss of their father (Oliver Hudson). However, they unite under the joint decision to catch Santa (Russell) doing his thing on Christmas Eve. Not only do they catch him, but they cause him to crash his sleigh and lose his reindeer. Stranded in Chicago and in trouble with the cops, can they help the big man save Christmas?
The big (and some would say only) selling point of The Christmas Chronicles is Kurt Russell. The iconic star fully embraces the role, offering-up a different slant on the infamous sleigh-rider. He’s a little bit rougher, rocking a red leather jacket and not averse to belting out a blues number or two. It’s clear he’s having a blast and I imagine that if the viewing numbers are good, then you might see a few additional Christmas Chronicles in the future. Russell sells the material, raising it above its hokey and saccharine trappings. It’s obvious that he knows that his career has gone full circle and that he’s once again making the type of family film which he started with 40-odd years ago when he signed on the dotted line for Walt Disney. These sorts of movies live and die with the casting of the kids roles and Darby Camp and Judah Lewis are solid as the kids who set Santa off on the wrong course and they just keep things on the right on annoying. Things could have so much worse.
While it’s not a stone-cold Christmas cracker, The Christmas Chronicles is a fun festive sleigh ride with an enjoyable performance from Kurt Russell. It might not become a firm festive favourite, if you’ve got a list filled with Christmas classics, but it’s harmless fun all the same. It might not be a masterpiece but it’s far from being Ho-Ho-Horrible.