The Christmas Chronicles (2018)

christmas chronicles poster 2018 movie kurt russell
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun family holiday movie

Could have had even more edge without being anti-Christmas

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Christmas Chronicles

Studio:  1492 Pictures/Madhouse Entertainment/Netflix

Genre(s):  Seasonal/Action/Adventure/Comedy/Family

Release Date(s):  November 21, 2018 (Brazil)/November 22, 2018 (US)

MPAA Rating:   PG

christmas chronicles jail house rock song kurt russell steven van zandt

This Santa rocks!

Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) are recovering from the death of their father Doug (Oliver Hudson).  When their mother Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) has to work Christmas Eve, Kate convinces her brother to try to help her capture Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) on camera.  Kate and Teddy’s plans work, but they find themselves on a Christmas Eve adventure when Santa’s destroyed sled could cost the world Christmas.  Trapped in Chicago, Kate, Teddy, and Santa Claus are racing against the clock…and presents must be delivered.

Directed by Clay Kaytis, The Christmas Chronicles is a holiday adventure movie.  The film was released on Netflix on November 22, 2018 and received positive reviews.

I am always looking for new holiday movies, but I kept skipping The Christmas Chronicles despite positive word of mouth (to be honest the Christopher Columbus ties to the movie made me wary).  When I finally got some time, I watched The Christmas Chronicles.  While overall I enjoyed the movie, I feel that it could have been tweaked to make it great.

christmas chronicles kate pierce north pole presents

I want a floating Christmas gift shopping spree

The basic movie is a rather typical Christmas movie, and it feels like it has a bunch of Christmas clichés.  The movie decides to add an intentional edge to both Kate and Teddy by not making them perfect kids with Santa Claus also isn’t as clean cut, but I felt from descriptions of film that he’d be more down and dirty…and the film in general.  It could have done this without losing the spirit of the film or making it non-family or anti-Christmas.  I wasn’t expecting an R-Rated Christmas film, but I thought it was going to be less wholesome in general.

Russell is good as a more vibrant Santa Claus.  His “I know everyone trick” is fun, but I wish his other tricks would have been better incorporated.  Judah Lewis learns his lesson about crime, but I also don’t think that the fact he is boosting cars (and potentially worse) is really addressed to a level of the crime.  Darby Camp plays the typical rosy believer, but she “almost” is a swearing rougher kid.  Martin Roach and Lamorne Morris could be better used as the cops.  It is also a family affair.  Russell’s real life wife Goldie Hawn makes a cameo as Mrs. Claus and Hawn’s son Oliver Hudson plays the deceased father of Kate and Teddy.

christmas chronicles elves

We pretend we’re nice…but we can jack you up!

The movie starts out with some of the typical Santa Claus stuff (super-sled and flying reindeer), but it starts to get a bit more technical with a time folding GPS system and an endless bag full of presents and computer generated elves.  The elves are a bit more cartoony than you’d expect (but that is part of the joke).

The Christmas Chronicles is a fun, modern take on the Christmas movie.  It isn’t revolutionary, but it feels a step above some of its family friendly contemporaries.  The world of The Christmas Chronicles has a lot of room for exploration and building.  As a result, The Christmas Chronicles was followed by The Christmas Chronicles 2 in 2020.

Related Links:

The Christmas Chronicles 2 (2020)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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