A BOY CALLED CHRISTMAS (NETFLIX) (2021)
SYNOPSIS: An ordinary young boy called Nikolas sets out on an extraordinary adventure into the snowy north in search of his father who is on a quest to discover the fabled village of the elves, Elfhelm. Taking with him a headstrong reindeer called Blitzen and a loyal pet mouse, Nikolas soon meets his destiny in this magical, comic and endearing story that proves nothing is impossible.
Instead of watching a rerun of A Christmas Carol or Elf this festive season, Netflix and Studio Canal has released a heartfelt, imaginative Christmas movie worthy to be part your festive watching binge. That movie will be A Boy Called Christmas.
The fantasy adventure stars newcomer Henry Lawfull as Nikolas, a boy living in a wooden hut with his woodcutter father, Joel (Michiel Huisman). In order to fulfil the King’s wish to bring hope to the kingdom, Joel decides to head to a magical land called Elfhelm with a group of hunters. Nikolas on the other hand is left in the care of his wicked Aunt Carlotta (Kristen Wiig).
Unable to tolerate the antics of his aunt, Nikolas decides to embark on a trip to Elfhelm together with his talking mouse, Miika (voice by Stephen Merchant) to search for his father. Predictably, the trip to Elfhelm is not going to be easy for Nikolas as he will soon encounter magical elves, reindeer and a Truth Pixie.
Directed and co-written by Gil Kenan (Monster House and serving as writer on the recent Ghostbusters: Afterlife), A Boy Called Christmas is generally fun and highly entertaining without being too corny or serious. Obviously, it doesn’t break any new ground either so you can expect the usual “ingredients” from a Christmas flick liked elves, magical spells, flying reindeer and a nice comfy message about hope.
If Daniel Radcliffe surprises you in the original Harry Potter, prepare to be enchanted by the performance of a wide-eyed Henry Lawfull who graces the movie with his likeable solid presence. Of course, when you are also surrounded by the best of Brit thespians- Toby Jones, Sally Hawkins, Jim Broadbent and Maggie Smith, the end product should hold up for many years to come.
Since the source material is based on a book by Matt Haig, this reimagined tale of the origin of Father Christmas or known to many as Santa Claus contains obvious influences from The Chronicles of Narnia and many other Christmas classics minus of course the more scholarly based text book version of St Nick.
To nitpick A Boy Called Christmas will be the biggest sin of all as it contains all the winning formula of a holiday movie. Beneath all the magical Christmas spirit and in lieu of the current worldwide situation, the movie also comes well-prepared with an appropriate message about embracing hope plus a subtle message about accepting death. Nothing liked some joy and life lessons to share to all.
Review by Linus Tee