We review Arthur Christmas (3D) – A genuine festive treat

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Arthur Christmas is hands down the best animated film of the year. The movie may not please the under 8s given that the humour is largely dialogue driven – and completely free of base body function jokes! – but everyone else is in for a real treat. Touching, and terrifically British (it’s a collaboration between Sony Pictures Animation and Wallace and Gromit’s Aardman Studios, I chuckled throughout the entire movie. And that rarely happens these days, with CGI-animated films or not.cheap nike air max 2014

Despite being a contemporary Christmas movie, Arthur Christmas avoids the frantic, gluttonous consumerism and saccharine sentimentality that Hollywood associates with the holidays. Instead, the film offers a clever combination of both high-tech and low-tech – appealing to the intellect through its colourful onscreen gadgetry and witty dialogue, and satisfying emotional needs through its examination of some very identifiable domestic situations.
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Much like The Nightmare Before Christmas imagined holidays such as Halloween, Easter and Christmas as the product of a strictly monitored industrial process, Arthur Christmas presents the activities of Santa Claus as a centuries’ old family business, run with military precision.

In Arthur Christmas, the Santa mantle has been passed down for 20 generations, and at the North Pole everyone expects the current, increasingly absent-minded Father Christmas (voiced by Jim Broadbent) to retire, and hand over operations to his ultra-efficient elder son Steve (Hugh Laurie), who has been vital in updating gift delivery procedures for the 21st Century. When a forgotten present is discovered, however, only Santa’s incompetent but idealistic younger son Arthur (James McAvoy) – who has been relegated to the mail room – insists on delivering it to the child in question before Christmas morning. He is assisted by stubborn, retired Grand-Santa (Bill Nighy), who eschews his descendants’ reliance on technology in favour of old fashioned, hands-on magic; as well as punky, pierced Bryony (Ashley Jensen), an elf from the Giftwrap Battalion.

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Arthur Christmas is a delight, entertaining on multiple levels. The British voice casting is spot-on – with Nighy an especial curmudgeonly scene stealer – and there is much fun to be had from the opening scenes which interpret Santa’s delivery of millions of presents to the world’s children as a Black Ops mission or something out of Mission: Impossible. At the same time, room is made in the Santa mythos for contemporary technology like tablet computers, GPS and Google Earth. The film is also stuffed with so many background jokes and amusing visual references that it will take multiple viewings to catch them allCheap Nike Air Max.

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Meanwhile, for those in the audience who are more resistant to the idea of a slick, tech-savvy Santa reimagining, Arthur Christmas doesn’t skimp on comical, down-to-Earth “reality”. That might sound like a strange thing to say about a Father Christmas fantasy film, but the Claus family are just like any other – there’s the conflict between generations about the right way to do things, the post-Christmas dinner arguments that ignite over board games, and the unthanked wife who arranges her own gift so her husband can simply hand it to her.
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It’s worth noting that, refreshingly, Arthur Christmas has no cartoon villain to complicate matters in the usual contrived way. The film’s drama stems from the Claus family dynamics – and botched road/sleigh trip shenanigans, of course – but in this regard the film never missteps into sentimental mush.

I can’t recommend Arthur Christmas highly enough. It will definitely be joining my DVD collection in future to become regular holiday season viewing. Forget the film’s irritating first teaser trailer. Arthur Christmas is consistently fun and heart-warming. And, well, if you’ve ever wondered how reindeer would fare when facing Serengeti lion, this is the movie for you.cheap nike air max 90

Last Updated: December 30, 2011

Noelle Adams

Sometime Tomb Raider. Full-time Pop Culture fanatic and Geekaissance Woman. Most often spotted outputting Pop Culture opinion pieces, writing fanfic and original genre fare, cosplaying and bringing the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu smackdown. Editor of the Comics and Toys section.

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