I really hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, I know I did. I ate and currently still am eating my own weight in chocolate, biscuits and chocolate biscuits before the diet starts in the New Year because doesn’t it always.
But, between now and New Year, I wanted to out in one more review and this is a film that we stumbled across whilst trying to find something to watch on Christmas Day with my family. Since I’m going to be spending my last two days off from my job preparing for the New Year mentally and finishing ‘Spyro: Year of the Dragon’ for my gaming channel, this will be the last review of 2019.
Before I get into the plot, I just want to poke fun at the title. ‘The Christmas Chronicles’? Really? That’s the best you could do, professional writers who get paid to come up with good names? That title would suggest that there is going to be come ‘chronicling’ of the history of Christmas, not a Christmas adventure starring Kurt Russell.
Feuding siblings, Katie and Teddy Pierce (Darby Camp and Judah Lewis), discover that Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) is real and stow away on his sleigh whilst he’s delivering presents on Christmas Eve. When Santa realises that he’s not alone, he crashes his sleigh and loses his Christmas Sack that’s full of presents as well as his Reindeers and his hat. Katie, Teddy and Santa have one night to sort everything out before the morning and Christmas is ruined.
OK, first thing’s first.
Katie’s main character trait is that she films everything with her little camera that records on tiny cassette tapes and the first few scenes is of Katie and Teddy’s Christmas’s with their mother, Claire and father, Doug (Oliver Hudson). The first thing I noticed was the father because that’s the guy from ‘Rules of Engagement’ and I used to like that show but something else also crossed my mind. The family looked so happy in the videos leading up to the present day and I thought ‘What’s going to happen to the father between the last video and the present?’. And of course, Katie is watching the recording of the previous year and at some point between Christmas 2017 and Christmas 2018, the dad died.
Of course, the father is the one that died because it’s a family friendly, happy go lucky kind of Christmas film and single mothers are always a lot more relatable so the mother can never be the one that’s dead. It’s not explained how the father died until later on in the film, it’s put forward as though it should be a given that the father is dead. It totally wouldn’t have made the film better if the children were suffering from the loss of a matriarch and their father became bitter around the festive period because his wife loved Christmas, decorations, baking etc. It would be just awful if the adventure that the kids had with Santa somehow helped everyone regain their Christmas spirit as well as their father. I can’t even imagine how shit it would be if the kids learned to help mend their fractured family unit by helping their father celebrate Christmas as if their mother were still with them and the whole family would regain their Christmas spirit. It’s a shame because Oliver Hudson could pull that off.
It seems that no one gives a shit that the dad is dead. Instead, we have a mother who is there at the start and again at the end because she works as a nurse looking after other people but chooses her job over staying with her small child and obviously irresponsible teenage son. No, sweetheart. It totally doesn’t matter that it’s been less than a year since your husband and the father of your children died tragically. One may have thought that you’d want to stay with your kids this year. Guess not because you need an excuse to leave your kids alone so they can meet Santa.
Speaking of, Kurt Russell does a really good job at playing Santa and it seems that they’re trying to dispel some rumors. For a start, Kurt’s Santa is not fat and there are a few references to how everyone thinks that Santa is fat, and he gets upset at that because it’s how he’s portrayed.
Santa is supposed to be an ‘all right’ dude but one thing that I noticed was some emotional manipulation to get his way. At one point, Santa is in a jail cell with some drunks and hookers (in the credits, the ‘hookers’ are credited as ‘Party Girls’) and somehow, he manages to get the cop’s ex-wife to call him and attempt a reconciliation and in response, the cop opens the cell but Santa can already fly out because he got his hat back from the elves.
But what about the kids?
Katie seems very head-strong and Darby Camp is a good actress with a bright future in the business. However, she doesn’t seem that bummed out that her father is dead. She’s seen saying ‘I miss you’ when she’s watching old videos of her father but the person who seems to be the most affected by the dad’s death is Teddy.
Katie catches him and his friends stealing a car for some reason and I believe that there’s some mention of mocking their dad’s memory and there’s a plaque of him in the hallway so I though he was a police officer but then Teddy mentions that his father died whilst trying to save someone from a fire so was he a fireman? Whatever he was, he has a motto which is ‘A Pierce always sees things through’ or something like that. I honestly should remember it because this phrase is mentioned about 500 times but, in my defense, it was Christmas Day and I had almost eaten myself into unconsciousness.
Earlier in the film, Teddy catches Katie filming a video to Santa and he makes fun of her but stops himself from saying that Santa doesn’t exist and I thought it was because he doesn’t want to ruin her Christmas spirit. That’s when Christmas changes, when we’re told that Santa doesn’t exist.
Just as a side note, I don’t have kids but if I did, I wouldn’t tell them that Santa exists. Because that’s a lie. It’s bizarre. I work in retail and all through December, mothers have been taking their kids around whilst they’ve been shopping for presents and threatening their own kids that Santa won’t bring them any presents if they’re not good… whilst they’re shopping for presents. I know kids are dumb, but this is ridiculous.
Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t ever remember believing in Santa. My mum would try and get me hyped about Santa, but I don’t remember being that excited about him. My mum will probably read this and remind of times that I can’t remember where I believed in Santa. Mum, before you charge into my room with your Christmas war stories, If I can’t remember it, it didn’t happen.
Where was I? Oh, yeah.
When Katie crawls into Santa’s sack (not how it sounds), she finds all the letters and videos that are sent to Santa along with a letter that’s written by Teddy. He asks Santa to bring his father back to life so he can tell his dad something but Katie doesn’t finish the letter. One might think that finding out something like that would be important but at the end, as a gift for helping him out, Santa tells Teddy that he can’t bring people back from the dead but he can help with fulfilling Teddy’s wish. Inside the box is a shiny, gold bauble and when Teddy hangs it on the tree, he sees his father’s reflection and he finally gets to say to his father what he’s always wanted to say and I’ll be buggered if I can remember what it was. I referenced to the aforementioned ‘food coma’ comment above. If you really want to know, if it’s really that important, then you can watch it on Netflix. Did I mention it’s on Netflix? Well, it is.
That fact also means that I have no box office results to tell you of which just leaves what I think of it. I really don’t like the whole ‘show the dad in the credits and enjoy the sight because he’ll be dead by the time the actual film starts’ because it really doesn’t help the audience with the whole ‘giving a shit’ thing. You can make the opening credits as long as you like it’s still not going to make me care about the fact you’re going to kill off an important aspect of the main character’s lives just because ‘plot’.
It’s not even really because of the plot, you could have done this film with both the parents alive because even the mother is only in the beginning and then at the end. What was the point?
My overall feeling is that it’s a nice little Christmas film but it would have had more of an impact if it had a little more to do with family… you know… with an alive father.
That’s it now for 2019, another decade down the pan with a whole new decade to look forward to. I personally think it’s going to be pretty good. Time will tell, of course but it’s always wise to be optimistic. I’ve got plans, as I’m sure you all do to.
That’s me, see you in 2020.
Happy New Year!
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