While Arthur Christmas may not be an instant seasonal classic like It’s a Wonderful Life, it is a completely enjoyable holiday film that the whole family can enjoy.
Put together by Aardman Animation in England (the outfit that does the Walter & Gromit films) the animation is solid and the 3D effects better than average, but it’s the plot and characters that make it worthwhile.
It’s Christmas Eve at the North Pole and Santa’s deliveries are going according to plan. But a technical glitch means a bicycle was not delivered to a little girl in Great Britain. The current Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) is about to retire and his oldest son (Hugh Laurie) should soon be taking over. Grandpa Santa (a curmudgeonly Bill Nighy) and Santa’s other son Arthur (James McAvoy) take on the mission of delivering the bike, using Grandpa Santa’s long retired sleigh and aging reindeer.
One of the nicest things about this movie is that it explains exactly how Santa Claus does it: how he manages to deliver all those presents to every child in the world in one single night. The Pentagon would appreciate some of this wizardry, but it is nice to see that Santa is keeping up with modern technology.
The plot occasionally wanders, and very young children might not appreciate it all, but this is certainly a seasonal treat for everyone and a last fond look of the spirit of Christmas 2011.
Rating: four deer out of five
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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.