It’s A Very MacReady Christmas as Kurt Russell heads back to the polar snow to play Santa for The Christmas Chronicles. Russell playing Saint Nick is some wonderfully unexpected casting, but judging by the first trailer for the film, that’s about the only inspired thing in this Netflix original. Set to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” because of course it is, this teaser is as much a preview as it is a jolly old warning to ABC Family: Netflix is coming for your crummy content, too.
It’s a more direct warning from Santa Plissken as well: “Christmas is in trouble!” How or why isn’t examined here, but as could be expected, a couple innocuous white siblings are along for the ride to save the holiday. But to the credit of director Clay Kaytis (The Angry Birds Movie) and writer Matt Lieberman (Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and the upcoming Addams Family reboot), they didn’t just pluck tropes off the lowest-hanging branches of cinema’s Christmas tree. They also plundered from the broader bottom-shelf of family films to give us a wretched reimagining of Santa’s elves: now they’re furry little CG rodent-things that chirp like Minions and, ugh, floss. They floss.
The Christmas Chronicles prove itself more timely than it gags when it streams November 22.