The Christmas Chronicles 2
By Jennifer Green,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lengthy Christmas adventure has some peril and scares.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family understands you best and will (or should) always be there for you. Love and family can encompass all races. You have to look inside yourself to find courage. Running away doesn't solve problems. Lying, viciousness, envy, selfishness, and too much ego are negative qualities. It's normal for teenagers to sometimes be rebellious. Learning languages is valuable in understanding other cultures and customs. A running joke suggests Mrs. Claus deserves more recognition for her role in designing "Santa's" Village.
Positive Role Models
Kate and her family are "True Believers" in Santa. This gives them special status at the North Pole and means they believe wholly in the spirit of Christmas and its role in bringing people love and joy. Kate's dad taught her that Christmas isn't about where you are, it's about who you're with. Kate realizes it's time for her to let a new father figure (and stepbrother) into her life since her dad passed away. Jack learns to face danger and overcome his (many) fears. Belsnickel has lost everything he loved due to his selfish and cruel behavior, prompting him to attempt to destroy all that he misses, including Santa and Christmas. The Clauses know that all Belsnickel, who was like a son to them, needs is love. Some diversity in cast. Stereotype of teens being difficult.
Violence & Scariness
Humans fight each other and elves with nerf guns, crossbows, fire, potions, racing sleighs, snowballs, time-traveling devices, and shooting drones. Kate and Belsnickel are both set on fire momentarily. Jack and Kate, who have both lost a parent, are essentially kidnapped, thrown from a moving golf cart into a wormhole, dropped into the snow at the North Pole, and left to nearly die of frostbite. To retrieve a magic plant and save Santa's Village, Jack is sent out into the dark forest, where he has to scale a cliff, which he slides down unharmed. A fierce animated wild cat ("Yule Cat") attacks Dasher, leaving the reindeer injured, and tries to attack Jack, but Jack sets off an explosion to scare him away. Santa's and Belsnickel's speeding sleigh rides are fast-paced, and at one point they play chicken. Belsnickel often sneaks a ride on the bottom of Santa's sleigh. A potion turns elves violent. Doug uses a pocket knife to break Kate out of an airport holding room. Delayed travelers at a Boston airport lose their temper.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Santa and Mrs. Claus kiss. There's talk of Bob proposing to Kate's mom on a romantic night away.
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"Buzzkill," "scaredy cat," "freaking," "brat," "suck," "butt cheek." There are burps and whoopee cushion-created farts.
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Products & Purchases
The million elves in Santa's Village work around the clock all year exclusively to make toys for Christmas gifts. Santa boasts they make many times the amount Amazon, FedEx, USPS, and UPS combined could get out. A background gag replaces the movie Bad Santa with Elf on a theater marquee when the situation goes from bad to good in Santa's Village. A dubbed version of It's a Wonderful Life plays in the background of a scene. Santa and Kate land at Boston's Logan Airport in 1990, when airlines like TWA and Pan Am reigned, and Kate is taken into custody by the Massachusetts State Police. Kate scrolls Instagram and suffers FOMO. The film has appropriated characters from different holiday traditions, like Santa Claus, Belsnickel, and the Yule Cat.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen says, "I know -- no alcohol," when his mom leaves him unsupervised for a night. Various potions are concocted that can heal animals or affect humans' and elves' behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Christmas Chronicles 2, like the original, has some action that could scare younger viewers. The film's length and aspects of the story and character details might also prove overwhelming for them. Some plot points are questionable, such as parents leaving their kids alone at a Mexican resort for a night, or that two kids would pick a lock to break out of a holding cell. Sure enough, the kids' adventure begins when they're abducted the night their parents are away. They're tossed from a moving golf cart into a wormhole and left to potentially die from frostbite in the snows of the North Pole. The kids continue to face repeated peril and attacks, including from an animated oversized "Yule Cat." The cat's fight with Dasher leaves the reindeer injured and whimpering. Speedy sleigh chases are similarly nail-biting. But the kids always emerge stronger, wiser, and physically unharmed. Language includes "buzzkill," "scaredy cat," "freaking," "brat," "suck," and "butt cheek." There are burps and whoopee cushion-created farts. Both kids have lost parents, and Kate's encounter with her father as a teen when she travels back in time is emotional. The kids are reminded of the importance of family, and all the film's characters learn the value of love and the uplifting spirit of Christmas.
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The Christmas Chronicles 2
Based on 11 parent reviews
Christmas Chronicals 2
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What's the Story?
When THE CHRISTMAS CHRONICLES 2 begins, Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her family are on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Kate has two problems with this. First, they were invited by Kate's mom's new boyfriend (Tyrese Gibson), the first serious relationship the young widow has had since her husband, and Kate's dad, died. Second, in Kate's opinion, Christmas shouldn't be celebrated in the tropics. A "True Believer," Kate prays to Santa to take her away from this holiday nightmare. What she doesn't expect is to be abducted by a disgruntled elf, Belsnickel (Julian Dennison), whose naughty behavior has transformed him into a human and made him intent on destroying Christmas forever. Kate's soon-to-be stepbrother, Jack (Jahzir Bruno), is abducted with her, and the two are sent to Santa's Village as bait to lure Santa (Kurt Russell) and Mrs. Claus (Goldie Hawn) into Belsnickel's evil trap.
Is It Any Good?
The Christmas Chronicles 2 is a holiday blend of action, adventure, comedy, and some drama packed into one gift-wrapped package. The bow on top is Russell, who is charming as Santa and commands every scene, including a hilarious song and dance number at Logan Airport during a disgruntled holiday traffic day. (The acrobatic dance moves of Santa and an airport police officer shouldn't be missed.) By his side, real-life partner Hawn is maternal and sweet as Mrs. Claus. The animated characters, particularly the snuggly elves, complement the actors.
It does feel like there's one idea too many stuffed into this stocking, and the film gets a little tiring at nearly two hours long. Could the opening act be shortened? Is the Boston Airport scene, while full of emotions, entirely relevant to the plot? Is the Santa origin tale, told by Mrs. Claus as a bedtime story, totally necessary? Parents might get a chuckle out of Belsnickel's naughty behavior, which includes a whoopee cushion, some graffiti on Santa's sleigh, and cursing to the degree of "Bah humbug!" But they'll also be the first to wish the editors had been just a little more disciplined in wrapping up this holiday gift.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what is meant by "the spirit of Christmas" in The Christmas Chronicles 2. Where do we see that spirit on display in the film? Have you ever experienced or witnessed the holiday spirit in your life?
If you saw the original Christmas Chronicles, how do the films compare? Do you have a favorite holiday movie?
What did you think of the combination of live action and animation? Which characters did you like the best and worst?
- On DVD or streaming: November 25, 2020
- Cast: Kurt Russell, Goldie Hawn, Darby Camp
- Director: Chris Columbus
- Studio: Netflix
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Holidays
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild action/violence and brief language
- Last updated: February 19, 2023
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