The Christmas Chronicles
|The Christmas Chronicles|
|Directed by||Clay Kaytis|
|Screenplay by||Matt Lieberman|
|Edited by||Dan Zimmerman|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|November 22, 2018|
The Christmas Chronicles is a 2018 American Christmas comedy film directed by Clay Kaytis from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman. The film stars Kurt Russell, Judah Lewis, Darby Camp, Lamorne Morris, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Oliver Hudson. It is the first installment in The Christmas Chronicles film series. The film was produced by 1492 Pictures and Wonder Worldwide, and was released on November 22, 2018 on Netflix.
The plot follows two children, Kate and Teddy, who notice Santa Claus in their home and jump into his sleigh with his reindeer; however, the sleigh eventually malfunctions and crashes, and the presents are lost. As Christmas morning approaches, it is up to the children and Santa to save Christmas by correctly delivering all of the presents.
The Christmas Chronicles received mixed reviews from critics. A sequel, titled The Christmas Chronicles 2, was released on November 25, 2020, with much of the original cast returning.
In Lowell, Massachusetts, near Christmas, widowed mother Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) struggles to hold her family together after the death of her firefighter husband Doug (Oliver Hudson), who had perished in a fire after running into it to save several strangers. Her son Teddy (Judah Lewis) has lost his Christmas spirit and has become a troublemaker, and engages in malicious activities such as stealing cars. His younger sister Kate (Darby Camp) nevertheless is trying to keep Christmas spirit alive while keeping a strong belief in Santa Claus. Kate catches Teddy stealing a car from a parking lot and films it, threatening to show the tape to Claire, but changes her mind and tells Claire that Teddy had broken a picture frame instead.
On Christmas Eve, Claire is forced to fill in for a coworker, leaving Teddy to look after Kate. While watching old Christmas videos, Kate notices a strange arm appear out of the fireplace. Kate believes this is Santa and convinces Teddy to help her by promising to destroy the tape of Teddy committing the felony. The two set up a makeshift trip wire and a hidden camera. Kate is later woken up and sees Santa in the living room. However, he escapes to the roof, and the two children follow. Kate decides to hide in his sleigh to get a closer look, and Teddy reluctantly follows her. Santa rides off with the kids in tow. When Kate decides to make her presence known, Santa and the reindeer are startled and he loses control of the sleigh. After teleporting to Chicago, Illinois, the sleigh breaks down, causing the reindeer to scatter and Santa's hat and bag of presents to be lost.
Santa (Kurt Russell) introduces himself to the kids, and tells them that he has to get back to delivering presents as soon as possible or else the Christmas Spirit will be gone. Without his hat, Santa cannot move quickly or through tight spaces like he normally does. The kids are forced to help him after he threatens to put them on the naughty list permanently. They stop at a bar where Santa tries to seek help from the patrons. When they get no assistance, they steal a car, which itself was already stolen by the bartender and which Teddy convinces them to take after reminding Santa that he technically breaking into a hundred houses every year. They locate the reindeer but encounter a police car driven by police officers Dave Poveda (Martin Roach) and Mikey Jameson (Lamorne Morris). Kate goes after the reindeer by herself while Teddy and Santa lure the police away. Santa is arrested, while Kate and Teddy escape with the reindeer. The kids find Santa's bag, and Kate goes inside to find help. She is teleported to the North Pole where she encounters Santa's elves, who agree to help her.
Meanwhile, Teddy is attacked by a group of thugs who take him and the bag to their hideout, where he is saved by Kate and the elves, who then set out to repair Santa's sleigh. At the police precinct, Santa tries to explain his situation to Officer Poveda. When Santa reveals his wish this year is to reconcile with his ex-wife Lisa, who also shares that wish, Poveda is taken aback, but still refuses to believe him. Poveda has Santa locked in the holding cell, though he becomes suspicious when he sees a larger number of arrests than usual on Christmas Eve. Seeing that Christmas Spirit has gotten too low, Santa gathers all the inmates to perform "Santa Claus Is Back in Town", which works amongst all the officers except Poveda. Poveda is finally convinced when he receives a call from Lisa, who invites him out for coffee in the morning, and agrees to let Santa go. One of the elves arrives through the air vent to give Santa a spare hat. Santa goes outside to find his sleigh repaired.
Santa sees that he only has an hour until morning to complete delivering presents, so the kids agree to help him. Santa is able to deliver all the presents, saving Christmas. Afterwards, he drops the kids off back at their home before their mother returns. Santa gives Teddy his hat as a memento, showing that he did not really need it. When he leaves, he gives Kate a "Ho, Ho, Ho", a saying he previously stated was an urban myth about him.
When Claire returns, they go inside to find that the living room has been decorated like their father used to do it. When the kids open their gifts from Santa on Christmas morning, Kate gets the skateboard she asked for, while Teddy gets a magic ornament. When Teddy hangs it on the tree, he sees his dad magically appear in his reflection, and they both express pride in each other.
- Kurt Russell as Santa Claus / Saint "Nick' Nicholas, a magical figure who brings presents for people at Christmas night, when they are asleep.
- Darby Camp as Kate Pierce, an enthusiastic 11-year-old girl who is Teddy's younger sister. Unlike Teddy, Kate has faith in Santa and decides to find Santa's sleigh on Christmas Eve.
- Kaitlin Aidree as 3 to 5-year old Kate Pierce.
- Judah Lewis as Teddy Pierce, a 16-year-old boy and Kate's older brother, who became a rebel after the loss of his father.
- Jesse Gervasi as 3-year-old Teddy Pierce.
- David Kohlsmith as 5-year-old Teddy Pierce.
- Jack Bona as 8 to 10-year-old Teddy Pierce.
- Lamorne Morris as Officer Mikey Jameson, a police officer who lives in Chicago, Illinois.
- Kimberly Williams-Paisley as Claire Pierce, Teddy and Kate's widowed mother. She is a nurse at a hospital in Lowell, Massachusetts.
- Oliver Hudson as Doug Pierce, Teddy and Kate’s late father and Claire's deceased firefighter husband. He was lost in a fire after running into it to save several random people.
- Martin Roach as Officer Dave Poveda, police officer who lives in Chicago, Illinois who does not remember Santa Claus.
- Vella Lovell as Wendy, a hostess at a restaurant and aspiring fashion designer.
- Tony Nappo as Bartender Charlie Plummer, an ex-con bartender.
- Steven van Zandt as Wolfie, an inmate who formerly wanted to be a musician.
- Marc Ribler as Dusty, an inmate who formerly wanted to be a musician.
- Jeff Teravainen as Vincent, a villain
- Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, the wife of Santa Claus.
- Debra Wilson as Lars
- Kari Wahlgren as Jojo
- Andrew Morgado as Hugg
- Debi Derryberry as Fleck
- Michael Yurchak as Bjorn
- Jessica Lowe as Mina
The film was released on November 22, 2018.
Netflix reported the film was streamed by 20 million households over its first week of release.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 67% based on 58 reviews, with an average rating of 5.97/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Viewers seeking a fresh holiday viewing option -- or those simply in the mood for Santa Kurt Russell -- should find The Christmas Chronicles well worth a yuletide stream." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 52 out of 100, based on 10 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."
Melanie McFarland of Salon said: "The film’s no great shakes, but Russell’s star power in “The Christmas Chronicles” is a gift anyone should be happy to claim." Charles Bramesco of The A.V. Club wrote: "The film doesn't know how to get out of its own way and foreground what's working, namely the dynamo of screen presence placed more prominently in the advertising than the feature itself." Writing for Vox Magazine, Jenna Allen said: "Above all, it’s clear that Netflix has subverted the holiday movie blueprint — Hallmark, I’m looking at you — by giving us novelty, thrill and humor." Derek Smith of Slant Magazine wrote: "In the end, the film succumbs to the tropes and emotional contrivances of the family melodrama at its core, ending up as a serviceable yet mostly forgettable addition to the already overstuffed genre of holiday-themed films."
On September 15, 2020, a sequel titled The Christmas Chronicles 2 was announced. Original director Clay Kaytis dropped out and was replaced by Chris Columbus, who produced the first installment. Stars Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Judah Lewis were all confirmed to reprise their roles, while Julian Dennison and Jahzir Bruno were cast to appear in the sequel. The Christmas Chronicles 2 was released on Netflix on November 25, 2020.
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- "Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles introduces a Santa who can get it". Vox. November 26, 2018. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2018.
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- Sharf, Zack (December 3, 2018). "Netflix's 'Christmas Chronicles' Breaks 20 Million Streams in One Week". IndieWire. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
- "The Christmas Chronicles (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on November 9, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2020.
- "The Christmas Chronicles Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on December 4, 2020. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
- "Smart Watch: We need hot Santa Claus, now more than ever". Salon. 2018-12-15. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- "Kurt Russell gives his all as DILF Santa in The Christmas Chronicles". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- Allen, Jenna. "'The Christmas Chronicles' delights with humor and thrills". Vox Magazine. Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- Smith, Derek. "Review: The Christmas Chronicles". Retrieved 2020-12-17.
- "Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn Have a 'Tremendous Amount of Love' in The Christmas Chronicles 2". People Magazine. Archived from the original on 2020-11-12. Retrieved 2019-12-06.
- @NetflixFilm (September 15, 2020). "It's time for Mrs. Claus to get her due. Kurt Russell & @GoldieHawn are back to save the holidays in THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2, only on Netflix 25 November" (Tweet) – via Twitter.