Directed By: Sarah Smith
Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Ashley Jensen
Screenplay: Peter Baynham, Sarah Smith
UK Release Date: 11th November 2011 - UK
Quick Plot: When a little girl’s present is accidentally lost within the operation Santa Claus system, can Santa’s son, Arthur, successfully deliver the girl’s present in time before Christmas morning?
Though this type of animation is not the usual Aardman handmade craft, the charm and witty script is still pure Aardman fun. The story is based on the annual mission that Santa Claus takes every year, delivering presents to children all over the world. Writer and director Sarah Smith has modernised this original story into the 21st century with the S-1 sleigh which lacks reindeer, the GPS tracker and various other technology and electronics to help speed up the process taken on Christmas eve. There’s Santa, his wife Margaret, father Grandsanta and two sons. The eldest, Steve, who is set to take over the Santa throne and Arthur, our hero of the film. Each character is structured for kids to like them because of their individuality and their humane voices. Including the sweet little, but unconventional, Elves. The elves are the important factor for helping Santa deliver all the presents in just one night and in a very funny scene, we are shown just how that is done. In lots of quick movements, the elves delve into a house in a mission impossible manner with lots of high tech gadgets and harness which is sure to bring laughter to children. Though it's highly planned out and not as traditional as the tale of Santa goes, this take on delivering the presents has an effect on children. After seeing the film with my 4 year old cousin, he told me that he's going to have to look very closely for the elves when they visit him on Christmas eve because they are very quick and smart. Personal story aside, this scene in particular is superb.
The voice talents are ideal as McAvoy gives a Arthur a real dorky yet lovable voice while Laurie makes Steve real stern and proper. Broadbent and Staunton are great as the Mr and Mrs, but it’s Nighy as the hilarious, all smoked out traditional Grandsanta who grabs all the laughs. Although most of his oral jokes are written to fly straight over children’s heads his psychical jokes such as his teeth are fun for all ages. That’s what makes Arthur Christmas so charming- the script. It’s written to give some jokes for the adults and for the kids but stays true to the spirit of Christmas overall.
In the manner of a road trip, the film takes off as Arthur is accompanied by Grandsanta, an elf, an a very old reindeer to try and reach the house of the little girl before sunrise. A lot of things go wrong but in a typical Christmas roadtrip movie, you know all will end well. In the middle, it seems to drag down in a little repetition (they get lost..again?!) but this is mere because of the magical and traditional Christmas ending which unexpectedly touched my heart. I’m sure that in a few years to come, Arthur Christmas will be known as a Christmas classic.
Full of absolute charm and traditional Christmas spirit, Arthur Christmas is one of the better Christmas films in a long time. Don’t be put off by the bright colours and animation, the film’s for adults too!
Arthur Christmas trailer