Netflix is known for taking risks and “The Christmas Chronicles” is no exception. There are six felonies in this film: 2 Grand Theft Autos, a kidnapping, money laundering, attempted murder, and whatever they did to that partridge in the pear tree. Yet, it worked! I will admit that I am of the Y-Generation and Kurt Russell remains forever cool in my book, but this movie had some good story writing, great acting from veterans like Kurt Russell and Stevie Van Zandt, but great performances by up and comers Judah Lewis (The Babysitter) and Darby Camp (Big Little Lies) as well.
Clay Kaytis had his directorial debut with this film. He is famous for being an animator for a panoply of films that you have taken your daughters to see: Frozen, Tangled, and Mulan…etc. Clay was a pretty good choice considering the amount of animation that is in this film. Honestly, it was a family movie that would have been a HUGE box office draw.
The film begins with a series of home movies featuring a classic nuclear family enjoying Christmas over the years…until 2017. We learn that the father was a fireman who lost his life saving a family, leaving his family grieving and without the spirit of Christmas. The mom is now taking extra shifts as a nurse, the daughter is REALLY into Santa, and the son is now a no-kidding degenerate car thief. There are enough dark scenes in this film to classify it as Film Noir.
The family is trying to live as best they can and the daughter Kate is trying to reconnect with the memory of her late father by watching old home movies. In one of the films, she sees a mystery arm delivering a package. She convinces her brother that it could be Santa in the film and they decide to set a trap for him…..and IT WORKS!!! Not only do they catch Santa on film, they stow away onto his sleigh and cause Santa to crash. He loses his sleigh, reindeer, bag of toys, and his magic hat. The main ticking clock for the film is that Santa needs to get his presents delivered before christmas is up or christmas spirit will tick down to zero and it will be like the Hills Have Eyes or something. The rest of the film is spent helping Santa retrieve these lost items and busting Santa out of jail to prevent the After Times.
And yes, Santa ends up in jail, charged with multiple felonies, and does a pretty amazing blues number with the E Street Band. Yes, the E Street Band. I know that a lot of this movie is starting to sound like a Christmas fever dream, but it works and my 7 and 9 year old girls were riveted and didn’t hurt each other for the duration of the film. Thank you, Clay Kaytis…THANK YOU!
I would recommend this film and for you to subscribe to Netflix. Otherwise, how will you understand half of my reviews?!!!!!