Film Reviews

Film Review: The Christmas Chronicles

Like it or not, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In the past, we have seen a range of Santas grace our screens at this time of year, from Richard Attenborough to Tim Allen, but now it is time for Kurt Russell to take the reins in his fabulous take on St. Nick.

The Christmas Chronicles follows much the same plot as most other Christmas films; Santa needs help to save Christmas. Here, an argumentative pair of siblings, Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp), hatch a plan to try and catch Santa on camera, thus incorporating the interesting technique of found footage film through their discovery, and through a touching set of home videos shown at the beginning that give a respectful nod to single-parent families in the Christmas period.

“Potentially the coolest Santa of the Christmas season”

Admittedly, the film is a slow starter, and I imagine it is no coincidence that it picks up once Russell makes his first appearance. However, in this more modern take on this classic plotline, Clay Kaytis directs a Santa unlike any we have seen before; Russell’s portrayal of a gym-going Santa, with his leather red coat, and an excellent knack for one-liners, makes for potentially the coolest Santa of the Christmas season. This characterisation goes hand in hand with the snippets of action applied to the film, from sleigh crashes, to car chases, to jail breaks. All this is topped off by the fabulous performance Russell gives in his performance of ‘Santa Claus Is Back In Town’.

“Russell is, unfortunately, the only driving force of the film”

In terms of character, Russell is, unfortunately, the only driving force of the film in this sense. However, in terms of visuals, the film excels. One of the great images of the film is that shown when Santa and the kids travel from place to place, visual effects encompassing a sense of the Northern Lights that you cannot help but be slightly in awe of. But, for me, perhaps the best scene of the film is one in which we see the North Pole for the first time. The image of the North Pole and Santa’s Workshop is a visual eagerly anticipated in every Christmas film, and Kaytis’ representation did not disappoint. With a breath-taking look at the grand layout of Santa’s office, with its towers of alphabetical draws packed with the letters of children all over the world, and his wall of television screens streaming the video mail also sent, this scene is unforgettable.

“This film may not be a Christmas classic, but Russell’s performance is definitely one to watch”

This film may not be a Christmas classic, but Russell’s performance is definitely one to watch this festive season. So, log on to your Netflix account, binge off someone else’s, or sign up for that famous one-month-free trial, because it’s time to get into the Christmas spirit.


Emma Walsh

Featured Image courtesy of Madhouse Entertainment and Netflix via IMDb.

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