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The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two – Movie Review

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The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Netflix

The first Christmas Chronicles was a charming and funny holiday movie that played with the audience’s knowledge of Santa Claus in a clever way. Bringing in Kurt Russell to play the man in the red suit was an especially inspired choice and he immediately shot up to being one of the best screen Kris Kringles. For The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two, producer Chris Columbus jumps into the director’s chair and seeks to make a film even bigger in scale as we travel to Santa’s village. While the first half is a tad rocky with tons of exposition, the movie does find its groove in the second half. Even if the sequel lacks the freshness of its predecessor, it makes for an okay holiday viewing on Netflix.

With the second film, you would think there would be less need to explain the world to the audience and dive right in. Yet Christmas Chronicles 2 gets off to a slow start as it introduces new characters and even explains many things to the audience. It does take the magic away a bit and there is such a long set-up to get Darby Camp’s returning Kate Pierce and her future step-brother Jack to the North Pole. And when we get there, there are multiple scenes of showing off the village and its operations. The first movie went in with the expectation that the audience knew who Santa was, so the added exposition in the sequel is unusual.

There is even an entire portion devoted to back story, although it does make one want to see a prequel centered on Santa early in his career. Julian Dennison plays the villain and it’s been great seeing his rising star after breaking out in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. His Belsnickel, an elf cursed to be a human, isn’t the most compelling antagonist, though, occasionally popping in and out to cause trouble and he frequently tells the audience exactly what he’s thinking and plotting. Eventually, Christmas Chronicles 2 retains the magic of the first movie, especially when Santa and Kate wind up at a delay-stricken airport.

The direction truly comes alive in one scene and there’s a particularly sweet moment with Kate. The climax has exactly the needed amount of fun and excitement and we see many of Columbus’s best traits come through. The highlight of the entire movie, though, remains Russell’s Santa. He brings an enormous amount of positivity and charm to the role, while also showing the character’s occasional flaws. Goldie Hawn is also wonderful as Mrs. Claus, giving the devoted wife a motherly quality. However, we also see her willing to call Santa out for some of his behaviour. It’s great to see Russell and Hawn on-screen together.

Even though The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two doesn’t present more than a diverting holiday escapade, it does just enough right in the second half to almost make up for the lesser parts. It’s clear how much Kurt Russell loves being Santa Claus and this is a series that will definitely be in heavy rotation for many people around the holidays. And even when not all of the movies hit, it’s still always nice to see Chris Columbus in the director’s chair and wanting to give audiences a magical, entertaining experience. The result is a flawed, but sometimes touching and enchanting little Christmas adventure.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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