The Christmas Chronicles
As the Christmas season approaches and the ubiquitous overload of tinsel-drenched films fill our screens, Angry Birds director Clay Kaytis unveils this latest family-friendly Netflix exclusive, The Christmas Chronicles. Starring Hollywood royalty Kurt Russell as the big man in the red suit himself, it offers a hearty dose of festive cheer alongside a few tear-jerker moments and some wonderful, comical one-liners.
Starting with a nice bit of seasonal feel-good home footage, the feature recounts the Pierce family’s yearly traditions on a hand-held video camera. Fuzzy, warm scenes of fairy-lit trees and present-opening ingratiate us into their close-knit unit. We watch siblings Kate and Teddy grow up through the years to the present day, where tragedy strikes as their father is killed whilst at work as a firefighter. The story then follows their first heartbreaking Christmas without him.
When young Kate discovers Santa on some of the old footage she’s sentimentally looking through, she persuades her wayward brother Teddy to set up camp on Christmas Eve so that she can capture him herself. The movie then tracks the subsequent chaos that ensues when you get Santa and two “pesky” kids together. Car chases, a broken sleigh and even some jail time are on the cards for our main protagonists as they try and fight against the clock to get all the presents delivered in time and restore the spirit of Christmas.
Alongside the pandemonium there are some truly beautiful scenes: CGI reindeer flying through the night sky; the exquisite staircase at the north pole that leads to the library in which every child’s wish list is filed away; and the magical scene where young Kate falls through the sack full of toys down to the toy factory.
Escaping the safe confines of their workplace, elves also join the mix to help get the children and Santa back on track. Entertaining us with their secret elfin language, their animated appearance pivots somewhere between cute Furby and evil Gremlin.
Whilst the perilous moments, the sad aspects of loss and fast pace may deter really young children from enjoying The Christmas Chronicles, the film also seems to follow a formula that has worked on many well-loved Christmas movies. Weaving wonderful messages of hope and belief that leave the audience wiping a few tears away, the picture is filled to the brim with seasonal excitement as the countdown to the big day begins.
The Christmas Chronicles is released on Netflix on 22nd November 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Christmas Chronicles here: