The Christmas Chronicles – Netflix movie review: “pleasing stocking-filler appeal”

Kurt Russell enjoys himself as a very rock 'n' roll Santa in this festive offering from Netflix

The Christmas Chronicles; Netflix; JH

★★★

Two kids join Santa on a mission to save Christmas in this rambunctious Netflix romp.

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Katie (Darby Camp) and her tearaway brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) spend much of their time squabbling since the death of their dad, but find a common purpose when they spy Father Christmas on his rounds and try to capture him on camera. However, their unexpected appearance causes Santa to crash his sleigh, prompting a race against time to regroup the reindeer and get those deliveries back on track.

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A bushy-of-beard Kurt Russell makes for a fun, freewheeling St Nick, whose night includes joy-riding a stolen car and landing himself in the slammer. The fact that he intuitively knows everyone and what they want for Christmas is a nice touch. And those pesky, non-believing adults are always jumping to the wrong conclusions as to who he must be, whether it be a kidnapper, an internet stalker or a Vegas magician.

The introduction of some feisty CGI elves (a calculated cross between Trolls, Minions and Gremlins) feels like superfluous decoration, but younger viewers will no doubt appreciate the chaos they bring. Older viewers can instead enjoy Russell revisiting his Elvis years as he rocks out with a jail band comprised of Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul.

While it may not be a keepsake to match the best festive classics, this has pleasing stocking-filler appeal, with one surprise final cameo that wraps it all up nicely.

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The Christmas Chronicles launches on Netflix on 22 November