Where “The Christmas Chronicles” Missed the Mark
The latest original to come from Netflix is The Christmas Chronicles, which follows two siblings who help Santa save Christmas (sound familiar)? I was very skeptical because I really love Christmas movies and I am content and happy with my set of classic Christmas movies. I watched it last weekend and I ended up liking it a lot. It will definitely be added to the rotation of Christmas movies for years to come. However, I couldn’t ignore the nagging feeling that something was wrong while I watched the movie. After a day of Binge-watching my favorite movies, I figured it out.
I promise that this is not an outrageous, politically-charged vendetta against a Christmas classic. I don’t think there was anything prominently offensive or politically-incorrect with the movie. What I did notice was the lack of joy in The Christmas Chronicles.
Maybe Netflix was trying to be more realistic. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. The movie did accurately represent a fairly modern family in 2018. But in every other Christmas movie, a feeling of magic can be seen through at least a good part of the movie. Even with some darker parts to the story, you can still feel the magic of Christmas. There was an underwhelming sense of that magic or joy in this movie.
Let’s look at some of the darker parts to the story.
Although the family is a fairly accurate representation of a typical family today, the character development of the teenage boy created his traits to be a thief, and a bad brother. Him and his friends steal cars for fun. This makes the scene where he steals a car for Santa a little more unsettling.
In addition to the fact that main character #3 is a thief, there’s a lot of crime involved in the movie. High speed chase, street thugs, cops, jail, all of this would probably be acceptable if it was one part of the movie. Take the street thugs or the jail but not both. It all adds up to create a more suspenseful (and not in a good way) atmosphere.
And let’s talk about Santa’s bag. A little girl fell into his sack of presents? And got lost? In the sack of presents?
She fell into another realm? Oh no. Nope.
Maybe this is not that weird and unacceptable but I have a lot of questions and now all I feel from this movie is claustrophobic. How did she get in? How does she get out? Can she get out??
These all sound like very minor issues, sure. They are minor issues. But add a troubled kid with his only character development making him a delinquent, multiple crimes committed for Santa and Christmas, the almost or possible kidnapping by street thugs and a child getting lost in a bag that almost goes into an incinerator and this is not a Christmas movie.
Let’s look at The Santa Clause. Santa falls off a roof and (maybe) does? Okay we have a new Santa. Tim Allen’s character is a real life Scrooge? It’s ok. Loses his kid? There’s a happy ending. There’s dark parts to the story but it’s very subtle compared to the magic and comedy created by the development of the elves and the North Pole.
The Polar Express is the other good example. There are plenty of unpleasant parts to this movie. The freaky guy on top of the train? The little boy getting in trouble every other scene? But all of the not-so-good parts are minimized by the outstanding animation and creation of a beautiful North Pole.
If you were hoping for a review of The Christmas Chronicles, I’m not really sure if I gave you what you were looking for. I do really enjoy this movie despite its lack of joy and maybe if I watch it as much as I’ve watched my other Christmas classics it’ll seem more magical!