The Christmas Chronicles 2 comes two years after the first movie, and when I read about the premise of how Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) is now a cynical teen and needs to team up with Santa Claus (Kurt Russell), I’d forgotten who any of the characters were in the first movie beyond the two leads, such is the lasting impression it left on me, but it made for a reasonable film to pass the time.
The problem to overcome on this occasion comes thanks to rogue elf-turned-human Belsnickel (Julian Dennison) – you’ll find out how it happens even though mentioning it would hardly be like giving spoilers for The Usual Suspects – who wants to act like Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves and call off Christmas.
On a family Xmas holiday at a sunny beach (which saves having to create a winter scene full of fake snow), Kate is 13, but doesn’t want to be treated as a kid any more. As well as her brother, Kate and mum Claire (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) are joined by Claire’s new other half, Bob (Tyrese Gibson), and his son Jack (Jahzir Bruno, most recently seen in the new version of The Witches). Bob also wants to squeeze the fun out of life by making his son go for lactose-free drinks.
The titular Christmas Chroncicles talk about how Santa Claus went from being Saint Nicolas, perfecting the gift of giving, and into Santa Claus, before all elves turn evil, as if it’s a tame version of Gremlins. There’s also a stolen star which Santa and Kate needs to return to the top of a Christmas tree after its been dislodged by Belsnickel. There’s also some decent CGI with the Yule Cat – basically like a snow leopard who’ll eat kids if he gets the chance.
Along the way in The Christmas Chroncicles 2, one of the reindeer is injured and needs to be nursed by Jack and Mrs Claus, while Santa and Kate head off to deal with Belsnickel. When I was a 10-year-old boy, I was watching Goldie Hawn on video in Private Benjamin. Had I been like Jack, and left to spend the day with this stunning lady, I could never have been happier. She’s still got it, even now. But she’s not the reason why I’m watching this… honest… seriously… now, stop reading this sentence and move on…
There’s a brief scene which is an amusing nod back to the Ben Hur chariot race. Plus, when things aren’t looking so good, the cinema in Mrs Claus’ village is playing Bad Santa. When everything is resolved – as is always the case in such films – the film is replaced by Elf. Saying things will be resolved is not a spoiler – I did say that this isn’t exactly The Usual Suspects.
Overall, The Christmas Chroncicles 2 is quite slow at times, and is 10 minutes longer than the first one when it really doesn’t need to be. 90 minutes would be enough. This is 115 mins. There’s a rather unnecessary song 70 minutes in, set in an airport, and with Kurt Russell pretending to play a saxaphone, but at least it’s surprisingly brief. Odd, however, that Kate is elsewhere in the airport, yet can’t hear it.
There’s also an impromptu singing of O Christmas Tree, but for something that’s meant to appear live, it’s autotuned within an inch of its life. Okay, I’m nitpicking. Sue me.
Finally, I could argue that the plot is a bit of a nonsense, but then it’s aimed more at kids who need some entertainment over the festive season (which is where it scores plenty), rather than adult males who still have a thing for Goldie Hawn 😉
The Christmas Chroncicles 2 is on Netflix from tomorrow, Wednesday November 25th, but isn’t yet available to pre-order on Blu-ray or DVD.
Check out the trailer below:
Running time: 115 minutes
Release date: November 25th 2020
Director: Chris Columbus
Producers: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Mark Radcliffe, Kurt Russell
Screenplay: Matt Lieberman, Chris Columbus
Characters: Matt Lieberman, David Guggenheim
Music: Christophe Beck
Santa Claus: Kurt Russell
Mrs. Claus: Goldie Hawn
Kate: Darby Camp
Jack: Jahzir Bruno
Claire: Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Bob: Tyrese Gibson
Belsnickel: Julian Dennison
Grace: Darlene Love
Doug: Sunny Suljic
Teddy: Judah Lewis
Security Guard: Patrick Gallagher
Hakan: Malcolm McDowell
Cashier: Holly Columbus
Harriet: Tricia Munford
Susie: Christy St John
Salvation Army Santa: Danny Dworkis
Irritated passenger: Seth Whittaker
Hugg: Andrew Morgado
Speck / Fleck: Debi Derryberry
Mina: Jessica Lowe
Bjorn: Michael Yurchak
Jojo: Kari Wahlgren
Mexican Santa Claus: Mario Renato Dela Pena Viderique
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.