Movie Review: The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two
There’s clearly no-one better to direct a Christmas piece than the man who originated two of the best-known and beloved celebrations of the holiday festivities. How Netflix managed to coax Christopher Columbus into directing The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two, is beyond me. He hasn’t had made the greatest choices in directing recently, and I suppose he’ll just be thankful this is a step up from Pixels. That being said anything is a step-up from Pixels, the man could’ve pointed a camera at raccoons raiding a dustbin and at least then I’d have something interesting to pick apart in a seething review of what should be a harmless bit of holiday filler.
Although I have no qualms with the cast in this, there’s certainly room for improvement. Where Columbus’ Home Alone can rely on both nostalgia and genuine heart, The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two hides behind some poor CGI and narrative decisions that feel like boardroom discussions, rather than spurred inspiration that hopes to capture the Christmas spirit. Jahzir Bruno and Julian Dennison both make themselves out to be consistent draws, competent performers trapped in questionably poor films, especially Bruno, who featured in The Witches recently. Poor soul.
As far as the rest of the cast are concerned, it’s clear that Kurt Russell is enjoying his time in the role. I doubt he’d have signed on for a sequel if he didn’t want to bring at least something to the project. Either that or Netflix tried to drown him in money. They could’ve used that money to give us something more original when it comes to the set design. Looking like a spruced up, festive Diagon Alley from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we spend a bit of time in Santa’s Village doing the usual humdrum cliché of integrating lost children into a land of magic and mystery. It’s odd, though, Santa and Mrs. Claus kidnap two children and attempt to mould them into being apprentices. The brief exploitation of child labour dressed up in tinsel to provide families a cushy holiday hangover cure.
The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two is as lifeless and uninspired as its title would suggest. It doesn’t expand on the rich world of the first, nor does it invest time into explaining who or what event could occur. An extension of a product that did surprisingly well two years ago, that’s what this Netflix Original is, that’s it. No more, no less. Netflix knows it, I know it, and you know it, it’s why they’ve been so flagrant with their choice of title. Anyone going into this knows exactly what they’re in for, more of what they potentially enjoyed with Russell’s first outing as Santa Claus. Seconds for a film that did very little to begin with, a rather odd decision, but any excuse for Russell to rope his wife Goldie Hawn into a film is surely good news for their star quality as the understated Hollywood power couple they’ve apparently been since Overboard. I’d rather be thrown overboard than watch The Christmas Chronicles: Part Two again.