Kurt Russell returns as Santa in a follow-up to 2018’s The Christmas Chronicles that is actually better than the original.
Kate (Camp), the young girl from the first movie, is now a teenager grumping that she has to spend Christmas in Cancun because her mother Claire (Kimberley Williams-Paisley) wants her and her brother Teddy to bond with Claire’s new boyfriend Bob (Tyrese Gibson) and his nervous son Jack (Jahzir Bruno) while on holiday.
So when mum and Bob go for an overnight trip to some Mayan ruins – not exactly winning parents of the year for leaving their children in the care of hormonally-distracted Teddy and the hotel kids’ club – Kate decides to head home to her friends in Boston. Her ride to the airport instead dumps her (and stowaway Jack) near the North Pole via a wormhole created by disgruntled former elf Belsnickel (Hunt For The Wilderpeople’s Dennison), where the two kids are rescued by Santa, who is unaware it is all part of Belsnickel’s plan to steal the star that protects Santa’s village, all the elves, and Mrs Claus (Hawn) inside.
Watching real-life partners Russell and Hawn on screen is always a treat, and they both look like they are having tons of fun amongst the animated elves and CGI reindeer. The story is packed with enjoyable distractions, too, including the elves going rampant after being drugged by Belsnickel (one even wields a chainsaw, which you wouldn’t expect in a family movie), and a bit of back story for Santa that explains the origins of the magical star.
While a musical number by Russell, alongside the more musically gifted Darlene Love, is unnecessary and adds to the quite long running time (just under two hours), elsewhere the film zips merrily along towards the predictable but nonetheless satisfying ending.
Is The Christmas Chronicles 2 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Very young children may find the elves a little scary (did we mention one of them wields a chainsaw?). They may also be upset when one of Santa’s reindeer is injured.
Little kids may also be frightened of the snow tiger, and the coyote/jackal hybrids (jackotes) that appear in the movie but no one comes to any harm.
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