BY stephanie pettway
On Nov 22, “The Christmas Chronicles,” directed by Clay Kaytis, was added to the list of Netflix Original movies that gets viewers in the holiday spirit.
I didn’t know what the movie was about when I clicked play.
The only thing I knew was that Kurt Russel was Santa Claus; and my reaction to that was “Oh, okay.”
In the history of Christmas movies, there have been many well-known actors who have played Santa, from Tim Allen in “The Santa Claus” to Ed Asner in “Elf.”
However, “The Christmas Chronicles” follows two dysfunctional siblings, Teddy Pierce (played by Judah Lewis) and Kate Pierce (Darby Camp), who’s relationship becomes even more dysfunctional after the death of their father Doug (Oliver Hudson).
On the night of Christmas Eve, when their mother, Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley), has to go to work, the pair are forced to stay alone together.
During this time, Kate comes across an old Christmas video of her parents and sees a hand which she believes belongs to Santa. She then calls her brother to see the video where she then convinces him to come up with a plan and help her catch Santa.
When they do this, they become part of an adventure to that you have to see to believe. Kate brings her camera along to record their whole journey.
This is where we are introduced to Russel as Claus and he is not necessarily the typical “jolly” Claus that we are so used to seeing.
He states that he doesn’t say “ho ho ho,” and that it is “fake news.”
He hates how advertisements make him seem so fat when he really isn’t and makes many references throughout the film about how much he hates those versions of himself. He also has his moments of sarcasm, wit, and roguishness when dealing with the many people and situations throughout the film.
Though he is different from the stereotypical Claus, he still carries the familiar traits. He’s caring, thoughtful, and selfless, and just overall a great guy and Russel does a great job at being that.
He still reminds you of what you imagine Santa to be like: a cool grandpa, and adds his own spin to it that will make you wish this was more of a movie about “Santa Claus and how he finds two kids that help him save Christmas” rather than “two kids who find Santa Claus and help him save Christmas.”
The Pierce siblings were great, but I found myself getting bored during the movie in moments where they were on-screen without Russel.
Also, many moments throughout the movie were spent focusing on the skeptical people that they came across on their journey, who didn’t believe that he was the real Santa.
People were either creeped out by the fact that he knew them by first name, (because of course he does; he’s Santa) or even more creeped out by the fact that he knew what toy they wanted 30 years ago.
Now of course Claus uses his “Santa powers” to try and get what he wants, like trying to get out of going to jail, but once again it came off creepy to the many adults seen in the film, and of course, he still went to jail because the cops had to lock up the apparent crazy old man dressed as Santa on Christmas Eve.
While there, however, it was the only time that the powers actually worked and no one, not even his cell mates, found any of his actions to be weird, especially when he managed to put on a whole jazz performance while behind bars.
But I guess that is what it took for people to believe what they were actually seeing. Not the flying reindeer galloping and flying throughout the city, or him magically pulling clothes from his jacket. The jazz performance is what did it and filled everyone with the Christmas spirit and made them believe.
And in the end, that is all that matters. I was filled with Christmas spirit and holiday joy once I finished watching it. The film served its purpose and I was by no means dissatisfied.