Netflix’s new family movie The Christmas Chronicles features Kurt Russell as a twinkly-eyed Santa Claus whose Christmas Eve goes awry when two kids stow away on his sleigh. Teddy (Judah Lewis) and Kate (Darby Camp) resolve to help Santa reassemble his sleigh, deliver his presents and save Christmas – and at the end of the movie there’s an cameo from Russell’s real-life partner Goldie Hawn, who plays Mrs. Claus!
Directed by Clay Kaytis, The Christmas Chronicles arrived on Netflix just in time for the start of the holiday season. Critics have been divided in their opinions of the movie, but it’s pretty entertaining and Russell delivers a fun turn as the guy in the big red suit. Not only does it include the awesome ending cameo from Hawn (star of movies like There’s a Girl in My Soup and Death Becomes Her), it also features Hawn’s son Oliver Hudson as Teddy and Kate’s dad, Doug, who passes away at the start of the movie. This really is a family affair!
To recap, midway through the movie Santa gets arrested, and it’s up to Kate, Teddy, and Santa’s elves (who live in his sack of presents, which is bigger on the inside and doubles as Santa’s workshop) to break him out so that he can save Christmas. The elves break into the prison and deliver Santa his magic hat, which allows him to turn into coal dust and fly, but it’s seemingly too late: there’s only an hour left before sunrise. Just when Santa seems ready to give up, Teddy insists that they can pull it off, quoting his dad’s motto, “A Pierce always sees it through!” They figure out how to deliver the presents at high speed: Teddy will drive the sleigh, Kate will throw presents to Santa, and Santa will deliver them.
Although things (literally) get a bit sticky, resulting in Santa almost missing a final child in Mexico City, all of the presents get delivered and Santa drops Teddy and Kate back home. Santa gives Teddy his hat as a parting gift, as it turns out that Santa Claus never really needed to find his hat in order to fly at all. This heavily implies that the whole adventure was just for Teddy and Kate’s benefit – to help them through their first Christmas without their dad. As a parting gift for Kate, Santa agrees to yell out “Ho Ho Ho!” as he departs while she films it on her camcorder… only it turns out that Santa stole the tape that was in it, and with it all the evidence of the night’s shenanigans.
After Santa leaves, the kids’ mom ( Kimberly Williams-Paisley) returns home from her night shift at the hospital and the family goes inside to open presents. Kate got the skateboard that she asked for, but all Teddy got was an old Christmas tree ornament. He’s understandably disappointed; as Kate discovered while exploring Santa’s workshop, Teddy wrote a letter to Santa that year asking to see his dad one more time. In a note attached to the ornament, Santa has written back that he’s sorry he couldn’t grant Teddy’s wish, and that, “This was the best I could do.” Teddy finds out what that means when he hangs the ornament on the tree, and his reflection changes so that it’s his dad’s face smiling back at him.
The Christmas Chronicles ends back at Santa’s home, he’s updating his book of True Believers when Mrs. Claus comes home – yes, played by none other than Goldie Hawn. It turns out that gossip about Santa’s extra-lively Christmas Eve has reached her, but she seems mostly amused by the stories of Santa being a little bit naughty. Mrs. Claus suggests that they watch a Christmassy movie, like It’s a Wonderful Life or The Grinch, but Santa picks up the tape from Kate’s camcorder and says that he had something else in mind – “something really cool.”
Yes, it’s a not-so-subtle way of telling the audience that The Christmas Chroniclesshould become their go-to Christmas movie, but we’ll let him off. He is Santa Claus, after all.