The Christmas Chronicles 2: Elf-lectric Boogaloo – Netflix Review

By far the worst pun I’ve ever made. I love it.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s been two years since Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) met Santa Claus (Kurt F*cking Russell). Now, Kate’s mom (Kimberly Williams-Paisley) is dating a new man (TYRESE GIBSON) and the family is on vacation with him and his son, Jack (Jahzir Bruno), in Cancun. However, Kate and Jack are abducted and sent to the North Pole by the renegade elf Belsnickel (Julian Dennison). The pair must help Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) stop Belsnickel from taking the Star of Bethlehem and destroying Christmas. 

Also, Mrs. Claus gets a village named after her.


So, I was pretty explicit in my review of the first film that this movie literally only worked because Kurt Russell is a hell of an actor and can make almost any character badass or cool. You would think that wouldn’t extend to Santa Claus, but he pulled it off. Unfortunately, while Santa in this film is still the cool character from the first film, the story in this film fails on almost every level.

The elves continue to be a very weird choice.

The problem is that the film shifts from being Santa’s plan to help inspire the Christmas spirit in a young girl to being about trying to stop a generic evil character from taking over the North Pole. That means that the conflict and the threat is now external, so you have to find a way to make it feel like there are stakes. Unfortunately, that’s never the case here because the Kurt Russell version of Santa is an invincible force of nature. He has magic, he knows martial arts, he’s almost omniscient, and often he only seems to have any problems because apparently he is amusing himself. Having a character like that guiding a third party can be interesting. Having that character dealing with a threat directly makes you wonder why the movie isn’t four minutes long. Even with Belsnickel’s elf artifice and magic, Santa generally just swats his threats aside easily. It never feels like there was any chance Santa doesn’t win this fight, a sentence that is just so weird to write. 

This is the only Santa who can say “Bring it.”

The film also really tries to expand on the mythos of this world’s Santa and it made some odd choices. It conveys that this is actually THE Saint Nicholas of Myra, which raises a number of questions, including why he looks like the version of Santa from the most recent century and why a Greek bishop in Asia Minor in the fourth century looks like Kurt Russell. I’m also curious if this version resurrected the three children murdered by a butcher. On top of that, they reveal that this Santa is actually powered by the Star of Bethlehem which is basically saying that Santa runs on Jesus juice. It probably helps curb complaints by some groups, but I also think that saying that elves were the ones who monitored the Star of Bethlehem probably causes a lot of other dogmatic issues. 

It doesn’t help that the bad guy was once played by Dwight Schrute.

Overall, though, the only thing that keeps this movie interesting is Kurt Russell, but you could just as easily rewatch The Thing if you want to see Kurt Russell being awesome in a snowy location.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.

Netflix Review – The Christmas Chronicles: It’s Kurt Russell as Santa, Don’t Think About It Too Hard (Spoiler-Free)

Kurt Russell decides to put on the boots and the red coat and go a little wild in this strange Christmas film.

SUMMARY (Spoilers if you don’t know how Xmas specials work)

Teddy (Judah Lewis) is a kid who is just starting to break bad after losing his father, but he still loves and looks after his little sister Kate (Darby Camp). On Christmas Eve, Kate, who has video of Teddy stealing a car, blackmails him into trying to catch Santa Claus (Kurt “Call me Snake Burton Claus” Russell). Despite Teddy being sure that Santa doesn’t exist, they succeed in finding him and sneaking onto his sleigh. Unfortunately, they spook Santa and, despite the fact that he once survived a trip through a Stargate, Santa crashes the sleigh, losing the reindeer and Santa’s hat that is the source of his magic. Together, the three have a series of wacky adventures to save Christmas and some lessons are learned.

ChristmasChronicles - 3Sleigh.png
With some fun special effects and costumes.


So, this is basically a gritty-ish reboot of every “X saves Christmas” movie. We’re in a world where Santa is a myth, despite the fact that it’s implied he delivers most of the presents in the entire world. In fact, people seem downright motivated to ignore incredibly obvious evidence that he is, in fact, the real Santa Claus and therefore magical. Santa is even completely open about his existence and the existence of magic and elves and whatever else is required for the movie, but people still deny him. This set-up is cliched and f*cking stupid, but it’s also tradition so we’re going with it. Additionally, almost every other standard Christmas film trope (and there is literally a page of them) is invoked at some point. It wouldn’t shock me if the people that make these use that trope page as a checklist.

ChristmasChronicles - 2Moon.png
He literally flies overhead all night in plain view.

The kids, too, are pretty standard stock for a movie like this. There’s the bad kid who needs the spirit of Christmas to get all up inside him so that he can learn that he’s headed down a bad road and then there’s the adorable one that has the “heart of truest believer” or whatever version of that phrase the film used. They bicker when they need to, they’re stupid when they need the plot to be stretched, they make up with the cute scenes when the movie needs you to feel things, and they learn valuable lessons about stuff because this is a Christmas movie.

ChristmasChronicles - 1Kids.png
Can you guess which one is which from this screenshot?

However, Kurt Russell is… just so damned charismatic as Santa Claus that I actually enjoyed it anyway. He’s not the sweet old Santa from Ernest Saves Christmas (Played by Douglas Seale) or the goofy Santa of Santa Claus: The Movie (Played by David Huddleston) or even the wisecracking snarker Santa of The Santa Clause films (Played by Tim Allen). Kurt Russell’s Santa is basically what I imagine it would be like if R.J. MacReady or Jack Burton actually became Santa. He’s a smart-ass, he’s a bad-ass, he’s a little bit dirty, he manipulates situations so well people barely realize it, and he NEVER tries to be subtle. Also, he doesn’t look like the traditional Santa as much as he looks like the guy who regularly tells you about all of the medical benefits of LSD or gun ownership when you come into his shop. A running gag in the film is people pointing out that he doesn’t look like the traditional Santa Claus popularized by Coca-Cola, something that annoys him greatly.

ChristmasChronicles - 4Santa.png
He’s just so damned handsome. Talk about aging well.

Overall… this movie is surprisingly fun. Look, is it a masterpiece of cinema? No. Is it cliche as hell? Yes. Is it going to change your perspective on life or the universe? Not unless you take a log of Ecstasy beforehand. Yes, an actual log of it. But, this movie’s enjoyable. It’s cute, it’s funny, it’s got all the stuff you kind of want to see if you like Christmas films, and it’s got Kurt Russell doing mostly whatever he feels like doing. Grab some eggnog, put some bourbon in it, turn the fire on, and watch it.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews

If you enjoy these, please, like, share, tell your friends, like the Facebook page (, follow on Twitter @JokerOnTheSofa, and just generally give me a little bump. I’m not getting paid, but I like to get feedback.