What insipid, digitally-augmented elvish drivel is this?
Rhetorical question, like asking “Who let the Dogs Out?” Because unimaginative kids’ comedy would be complete without A) a belch or two, B) fart jokes and C) a “zany” montage set to that kid-friendly sing-along.
We’re talking “The Christmas Chronicles Part Two,” the one where Kurt Russell as Santa is joined by Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, a partner so faithful that it’s about time they renamed the workshop town “Mrs. Claus’s Village.”
“That’s uh, not been finalized yet.”
This “kids save Christmas” tale brings back young “true believer” Kate (Darby Camp) , accompanied by the son (Jahzir Bruno) of the guy (Tyrese Gibson) is her mom’s new fella. Jack (Bruno) tags along when not-as-little-as-last-time Kate flees Cancun, because that’s where the united families are spending a most un-Christmas like Christmas.
Kate plays right into the hands of Elf-Gone-Bad Belsnickel (Julian Dennison), a gadget and gas-the-elves villain who wants to get back at Santa for banishing him from the village and his tribe. He’ll steal the Christmas Star with his drones, gas canisters and “gravity glove” and make the old bearded guy bend to his will.
The Veil of Borealis that conceals the “real” North Pole and powers the 300,000 shops there, the whole operation is in jeopardy. There’s nothing for it but for Santa, the few healthy reindeer left and the kids to travel to Asia Minor (Turkey) where Saint Nicholas got his start, consult with the “wood elves” there (Malcolm McDowell is their chief) and bring back the Spirit of Christmas.
“This is worse than I thought. We just opened a tear in the fabric of time!”
Chris Columbus, the director responsible for the early, weaker “Harry Potter” pictures directed and co-wrote this. Never would’ve guessed. Ahem.
There’s an interlude where Mrs. Claus tells the story of Saint Nicholas and folds him into the toy maker/joy-bringer that Santa became that is the better movie hidden in all that high-tech treacle.
Here’s the highlight — Santa and a ticket agent played by Darlene Love serenading Logan Airport’s irate, snowbound passengers in the not-terribly-distant-past with a sax-heavy “Spirit of Christmas.” Yeah, that’s really Kurt singing and it’s fun. And yes, even that goes on too long.
Aside from that, this is more a contraption than a movie — all Santa logistics (the hallmark of many a crappy kiddie Christmas movie), effects and digital sets, elves and other creatures.
“Christmas isn’t about where you are, but who you’re with.”
Even during a pandemic, that message matters. Spending Christmas with this sequel makes you realize why almost every Netflix holiday film is padded to reach that magic two hour mark. It’s Netflix as babysitter, nothing more.
MPA Rating: PG
Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp, Julian Dennison, Jahzir Bruno, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, Darlene Love, the voice of Malcolm McDowell, and Tyrese Gibson
Credits: Directed by Chris Columbus, script by Chris Columbus and Matt Liberman. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:52