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‘Christmas Chronicles 2’ Lacks Christmas Spirit

    By Mason Kupiainen The first Christmas Chronicles film was a bland and boring Netflix original. It felt like a copy of other great Christmas classics and didn’t offer anything new. However, the only aspect that made the movie watchable was Kurt Russell’s performance as Santa. Seeing Russell’s interpretation of Santa was oddly great, as I would never picture him playing the character. He brought a likable and a snarky-ness to the character that hasn’t ever been explored in other films. I wouldn’t have had any interest in watching the sequel if it weren’t because Chris Columbus was the director. Columbus does a great job of bringing a sense of fun and adventure to his films, having worked on movies like Gremlins, The Goonies, the first two Harry Potter films, and of course, the first two Home Alone movies. I had faith in his directing ability to take this sequel in a new direction to make it a much more enjoyable film over its predecessor. However, even Columbus wasn’t able to save this film.

Another mediocre plot

Like the first film, the movie takes a fundamental and bland plot without actually making something out of it. The movie never takes risks or tries to do something creative, but instead goes for the bare minimum. For example, the plot goes exactly how you would expect it to go, and never throws any surprises.
Image from IMDb
As a family Christmas movie, I understand that there is a specific message being sent, but an incredibly predictable plot makes the film even more boring.  This movie lacks any creativity. It doesn’t take the mythology of Santa Claus and add something new or interesting; everything you would expect or have seen in other Christmas movies is injected into this one. Unlike the previous movie that had Santa stuck in the real world, most of this film takes place at the North Pole, so the uniqueness of the previous film is gone. It would have been nice to see a unique take on the North Pole that hasn’t been seen before. The villain of the movie is unsurprisingly as mediocre as the plot. Like every other Christmas movie, they try to push a message with the villain, but they make his motivation and evil plan basic. The villain is as stereotypical as you can get.

Tolerable acting

Image from Polygon
Other than Kurt Russell, everyone else provides fine performances. None of them try to elevate what is given to them to make memorable characters. The child performances are fine like the previous movie, but none of them go above and beyond. One of the surprise actors who showed up was Julian Dennison. From movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople and Deadpool 2, Dennison has proven himself to be a talented actor. However, his performance in this film was surprisingly poor. Sometimes, he was entertaining to watch and brought a sense of fun to the character. However, he gives a very hollow, bland, and substandard performance for most of the movie. There were even times in the film where it felt as if he were simply reading words aloud without actually acting. His performance is even more disappointing since he’s proven to be a worthy actor in Deadpool 2 and Wilderpeople.  Goldie Hawn plays Mrs.Claus, but Russell’s Santa outshines her performance. Hawn, like the rest of the cast, does a fine job without bringing anything interesting to the character. When on screen with Russell, she lacks to bring charisma and charm that brings attention to her. She simply becomes a background character that is used to fulfill a certain plot point. When it comes to her own mission that she embarks on, it’s far less interesting compared to Santa’s. It lacked the emotion and sense of adventure that the other story contained, leaving it feeling hollow and dry. Once again, Russell does a great job at his interpretation of the character. Russell’s Santa is less snarky in the sequel but was fun to watch and brought an amusing likability. If it wasn’t for Russell’s performance, the film wouldn’t have much going for it.

A good director gone bad

Image from Popsugar
Like mentioned before, Columbus has shown he can do creative things behind the camera. Jumping into this film, it felt like he left all his talent behind—there weren’t any memorable shots or scenes in the film that came from the director. Columbus has created some great Christmas classics, such as Christmas with the Kranks and the first two Home Alone movies. Looking at these films, they’re filled with iconic moments and scenes that have lead them to become a holiday classic. Most of these moments come from the performances and writing, but the film’s directing added to the movies that helped elevate them. Watching Christmas Chronicles and knowing the director’s past films is strange since all the love and care present in his other works isn’t shown in this film.
Featured Image: IMDb Images: IMDb, Polygon, Popsugar