Aurora Borealis, at this time of year? - The Christmas Chronicles 2
Kurt Russell is making a list and he is checking it twice... Again!
Yes, Russell returns as Saint Nicholas in the sequel to Christmas Chronicles the Netflix original from 2018. Clay Kaytis directed the first film, but he has since been replaced by veteran director Christopher Columbus. No stranger to this type of festivity, Columbus is, of course, responsible for the Christmas classics Home Alone 1 and 2.
The first instalment was a fine harmless Christmas film, but is The Christmas Chronicles 2 an improvement over the original?
The plot centres around Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) who is now a teenager and is on holiday with her brother (Judah Lewis) and her mother (Kimberly Williams-Paisley). They are accompanied by her mother’s new boyfriend Bob (Tyrese Gibson), and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Kate quickly gets annoyed with Bob’s existence and Jack’s timid nature, as she is still trying to come to terms with her father’s death. After getting into an argument with her mother, Kate decides to run back home, after making a wish to Santa Claus who she met in the first film.
However, a mysterious boy named Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) is secretly plotting to cancel Christmas forever and intends to use Kate in order to get back to the North Pole. As Kate and Jack try to run away, they are transported to the North Pole where they are saved by Santa Claus (Kurt Russell). Kate and Santa are reunited with each other as Claus takes them back to his village where Kate and Jack meet Mrs Claus (Goldie Hawn).
Everything is normal until Belsnickel destroys the Christmas star which protects the village and leaves it in dismay. It is up to Jack and Kate to help Mr and Mrs Claus save Christmas once again.
Before we carry on, can we all just agree that Kurt Russell is the coolest Santa Claus ever?
You can tell Russell has so much fun playing jolly old Saint Nick. It is even been reported that Russell wrote 200 pages of backstory that fans will never see, a testament to his dedication to the role.
In the middle of the film, there is a music piece where Santa Claus sings Santa Rocks in an airport, easily becoming one of the highlights of the film. Not quite as good as the Jailhouse Rock performance from the first film but still highly entertaining and is a great showcase for Russell.
Mrs Clause has a lot more screen time in this film and considering they are a real-life couple, it should be no shock to say that Russell and Hawn have a natural chemistry with each other on-screen.
The film also has a nice message as Kate and Jack have their own self-contained stories. Kate learns to accept her mother’s new boyfriend, and Jack must overcome his fear of everything in order to save the village. We see Santa act as a father figure to Kate and Mrs Claus as a mother figure to Jack, with the relationships they share becoming genuinely heart-warming.
Despite the nice messages, however, the plot is still quite predictable and does not really take any risks.
The reveal of the elves in the first Christmas Chronicles is quite underwhelming as their designs are generic and uninspired. In this film, nothing has changed as they still look the same. The CGI on the reindeer is nothing to write home about either.
The world-building of the village is not too shabby. When Kate and Jack stay in the village for the night, Mrs Claus reads some bedtime stories to them from a book called the Christmas Chronicles (they said it!). This bedtime story reveals the backstory of the elves as well as Belsnickel. The elves themselves are uninteresting, but their background and language do make the world feel somewhat magical and gives it some depth.
We even get a humorous scene where Mr and Mrs Claus watch an elvish dub of It’s a Wonderful Life.
All in all, The Christmas Chronicles 2 is not a particularly amazing Christmas film and while it will not have the same legacy as the likes of Elf or Home Alone, it is still a fun and entertaining film that is still appropriate for everyone in the family. Some of the jokes do not land, but it is still humorous, as it has many positive messages.
Also, Russell doesn't make any outdated 'fake news' jokes and that alone makes this better than the original.
If you are a parent, the Christmas Chronicles 2 is the best Kurt Russell Christmas film, but if you are not a parent, well, we all know that the best Kurt Russell Christmas film is- The Thing...
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