Christmas Chronicles is not part of the Netflix Christmas Cinematic Universe like The Princess Switch. It is not a Hallmark Channel style film. It is much more like The Santa Clause with Tim Allen and would fit well into a broad theatrical release if we ever go back to theaters. Both this film and the original were directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed the first two Harry Potter films. There is a similarly colorful, generally upbeat, with brief dark scenes feel to the films.
The original Christmas Chronicles waited until the very end to reveal that Mrs. Clause is played by Goldie Hawn. Kurt Russell portrays Santa Claus; they are married in real life. There are quite a few nods to who runs the north pole operation with winks, nods, and shrugs. Kate, Darby Camp, is back and you may recognize her from Big Little Lies. She is now accompanied by Jack, Jahzir Bruno, the son of her mother’s boyfriend. You should recognize Jahzir from The Witches. His father in this movie happens to be Tyrese Gibson. I want the Fast and Furious franchise to step in and bring the Christmas Chronicles into their universe. Perhaps this is Tyrese under a fake name spending some of the money from his various heists. My favorite addition to the cast is Julian Dennison. You may have seen him in Deadpool 2, but you need to see him in Hunt for the Wilderpeople. He is the former elf, now human, Belsnickel.
The movie made a few choices that felt a little strange. It may fit with the genre, but I found it strange that the 4th wall is broken several times during the movie to get audiences to laugh. I don’t think this movie was ever going to make it to theaters, so the audience seeing it is likely to be just one family at a time, and asking for group laughter feels undeserved. Kate, Santa, and Mrs. Claus all speak Elvish to the plethora of elves working around the North Pole. This is an actual language developed specifically for the movie. It was created by the people behind the languages in Game of Thrones. The movie also spends time in a snowy mountainous region of Turkey looking for the star of Bethlehem. It is a strange choice of locations made stranger by including snow-covered alpine forests that I don’t think exist in Turkey.
One choice that I applaud is focusing the Santa Claus story not on delivering presents but on family and friendship. Mix in a little hidden courage and nostalgia and you get a tasty Christmas treat. Jack gets to go on a self-discovery journey that kids may latch onto while Kate gets taught to appreciate her new blended family.
There are two types of Christmas movies; meet-cutes and Santa movies. Both allow for good movies within their framework that stand out apart from the general type of the film. Christmas Chronicles is a great Santa Clause movie and this sequel is just as good without being too much of a stale retread. I am not sure how they could make a third film in the series, but if it ends after two then we have two great Santa movies that should age well.