The Christmas Chronicles Part Two is a film produced by Netflix as a followup to their popular 2018 film The Christmas Chronicles. Like the original, it stars Kurt Russell. Judah Lewis, Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Darby Camp and adds Russel’s real-life wife Goldie Hawn as Mrs. Claus, Tyrese Gibson as Bob, Jahzir Bruno as Bob’s son Jack and Julian Dennison as Belsnickel.
The film opens with a narration about how Santa ruined an elf’s life and how Santa was the first human the elf trusted … and the last. We see Santa and the elf smiling in a photograph and then see the elf playing a video of Kate (Darby Camp) while telling us she is his ticket back to the North Pole.
Meanwhile, we find that Kate, her brother Teddy (Judah Lewis), and her mom (Kim Williams-Paisley) are on a Christmas vacation in Mexico courtesy of her new boyfriend Bob (Tyrese Gibson.) Kate isn’t happy to be lumped in with the younger kids which includes Bob’s son Jack (Jahzir Bruno) and devises a scheme to trade in her return flight plane ticket early. She sets out for the airport but both she and Jack are sent through a portal to the North Pole where they arrive without winter coats and start to freeze.
Santa sees them beyond the veil of the village, rescues them, and takes them back to his house where Mrs. Claus helps warm them up. Santa then takes them on a tour of the village, which Jack says should be named Mrs. Claus’s Village instead of Santa’s Village. Santa shows her the Christmas Star that powers most of the things in the village and is actually a remnant of the Star of Bethlehem. Meanwhile, the evil human-elf, Belsnickel is planning to steal the power of the star, and Mrs. Claus tells them how Belsnickle became human after he was cursed for being a bad elf.
Belsnickle manages to get inside the veil and releases a strange blue mist inside of the snow cannons, turning all of the elves into evil elves. He then steals the star, and a chase ensues between him and Santa. The star breaks, causing Santa and Kate to go to Turkey to get a new start while Mrs. Claus tries to make an antidote for the elves bane, the potion that turned the elves evil. Belsnickel steals the new star and transports Santa and Kate back to 1990 Boston. While there Kate ends up meeting her dad as a kid at the airport who helps her while Santa performs a song to get the Christmas Spirit up.
Mrs. Claus figures out the antidote just in time and with Christmas spirit at an all-time high again, Santa gives Belsnickel a gift – the first toy they ever built together, causing him to fill with joy and transform back into an elf. Kate and Jack head back to Mexico and tell Teddy what happened and Kate tries to be more accepting of Bob. The film ends with everybody at the North Pole singing carols.
Having enjoyed the first film, I was excited to see the sequel. I knew that in addition to being on Netflix, the film was released in theaters for a while as well. However, as the movie started and we saw the little Elves for the first 5-10 minutes acting and sounding like minions, I had a feeling this series of films was taking a turn – for the worse. Instead of a feel-good story, the writers Matt Lieberman and Chris Columbus seemed to be focusing on what they thought were the breakout characters in the first film. However, they totally missed the mark. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a Christmas Chronicles 3 with almost the entire film featuring the CGI elves. While this might appeal to younger audiences, ie: The Minions, what made the first film so good were the characters of Santa, Teddy and Kate, not the annoying jibberish-speaking elves.
The film followed the first one in setting up a big musical number for Kurt Russell, this time at the airport. And while the sub-plot of Kate meeting her dad as a kid was well-played, it fell flat. One of the film’s taglines is “Christmas must endure” but I really hope this film series doesn’t linger and endure, the Christmas magic is not only missing but nonexistent. Not even the legendary Chris Columbus could save this one.
Heavy pass, especially for those who liked the first film. If you are still inclined, it will be on Netflix in perpetuity.