Director: Sarah Smith
Writers: Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith
Cast: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Hugh Laurie
Studio: Columbia Pictures
“Arthur Christmas” opens with the writing of a letter from Gwen in London, England who questions the existence of Santa Clause. She writes- How can you get down the whole world in one night. “I don’t see your house on Google Earth”. Arthur writes back that Santa Clause is sure to get to her house before sunrise “using his special magic.” Soon after that promise does Santa’s eldest son, Steve, who is also head of “Mission Control” the high-tech Star Trek-like operation suited with a stealth present delivery vehicle in the form of a space ship, makes the most unimaginable mistake that none of the thousands of elves can fathom, missing the delivery of a gift to one child’s house, Gwen the writer of the letter who was motivated to prove to her friends that Santa does exist.
Preparing for retirement after a 70-year run, and passing the torch down to Steve, Santa counts the remarkable number of successes with pride and decides, along with Steve, to non-emergency the event. Having the opposite reaction, Arthur sets-out on his journey to deliver the present with his grandfather via his sled “Eve” that runs on magic fumes inhaled by the famous reindeer.
Like Pixar, Aardman believes that story and character have to come first and they make movies for children and adults alike. The movie is funny throughout, with plenty of the verbal jokes that children and adults will enjoy as well as some really well done physical humour and some slapstick. But this is a movie that understands children and what they want. The premise is simple, but the writing is strong and clever throughout the whole film and there are little touches that give Arthur Christmas that Aardman feel, from the pictures of the previous Santas to Steve’s Christmas Tree goatee. Christmas is an exciting time for children and Arthur Christmas is just such a good-natured, fun movie that delivers on that spirit.
Even within the right context there are things that simply don’t add up. For instance, the elves can do all the work yet for no explained reason Santa has to deliver one of the gifts within a given town in order for them to move on to the next. There’s also way too much fuss made over Santa being spotted, which should happen from time to time if he wants to keep getting credit. As simple as the story is it’s amazing how many times the inciting incident is repeated for the sake of the audience. Arthur himself is terribly banal. His job is to read all the letters to Santa and carry about a jolly attitude with all of one dimension.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!