SYNOPSIS: It’s been two years since siblings Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy Pierce (Judah Lewis) saved Christmas, and a lot has changed. Kate, now a cynical teenager, is reluctantly spending Christmas in Cancun with her mom’s new boyfriend and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno). Unwilling to accept this new version of her family, Kate decides to run away. But when a mysterious, magical troublemaker named Belsnickel threatens to destroy the North Pole and end Christmas for good, Kate and Jack are unexpectedly pulled into a new adventure with Santa Claus (Kurt Russell).
Kurt Russell has been experiencing quite a career resurgence in recent years with appearances in The Fast & Furious franchise to starring in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight to having a stint in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2. But young viewers will probably remember Russell years down the road as the charismatic Santa Claus in Netflix’s unexpectedly entertaining The Christmas Chronicles.
Heavyweight family filmmaker Chris Columbus (Harry Potter, Mrs Doubtfire, Home Alone) not only produced but also directs the sequel to the original making everything seems bigger, louder and tripling the Christmas spirit.
Darby Camp returns from the original as Kate Pierce, the true believer of the Christmas spirit and Santa Claus but has since turned into a cynical pre-teen. Stuck in a snowless Mexico with her family and her mom’s boyfriend, Bob (Tyrese Gibson), Kate decides to sneak back home but ended up being transport back to the North Pole with Bob’s son, Jack. It turned out it’s the doing of a naughty elf, Belsnickel (Julian Dennison). The elf turned human harbours a grudge against Santa and vows to destroy him and Santa village. Thus once again, Santa and Mrs Santa (Goldie Hawn) must enlist the help of Kate with Jack in tow to save the Christmas spirit from the evil mind and hands of Belsnickel.
The theme of the Christmas Chronicles remains very much the same as the first. It’s all about keeping the good old Christmas spirit alive. Just that instead of a smaller scale story, Columbus and his co-writer, Matt Lieberman came up with a sequel that involved more CGI elves than the first. Because CGI elves are cute right? At least, there is a nice sequence that introduces audiences to the magical Santa village and a nice flashback to the St Nicks lore.
For those who complained about not enough Russell’s Santa Claus in the original, fret not, Santa is left, right and center in this one as he busies himself travelling from North Pole to Turkey and to the past where Kate gets to meet a special someone and back to the North Pole. Expectedly, you are going to enjoy a rousing musical number courtesy of Santa himself, this time round in an airport instead of a jail cell.
Russell’s longtime partner, Goldie Hawn is given a much bigger role than a mere walk-in cameo. And this amazing, adoring couple exudes much warmth and pardon for the lack of a better word, magic whenever they are both together on the screen.
No doubt, The Christmas Chronicles 2 is a sweet treat to add on to all the candies and chocolates during this festive season. Chris Columbus sure knows how to fill up a movie with lots of hair-raising adventures and action for the entire family. Not forgetting the good old festive messages to remind you of Santa’s ever presence. And also, immerse yourself in Russell’s charismatic and energetic performance. Merry Christmas!
Review by Linus Tee