I Did It All By Myself Back in the Old Days
You cannot satisfy all the people all the time, but at least you should try hard to do so. At least that was the mantra that Arthur Christmss (James McAvoy), the clumsy second son of Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) whose role is to read and reply letters in the North Pole on behalf of his busy dad, only to find himself thrust into the thick of the express delivery of toys business thanks to a glitch in the operations run by Santa and his thousands of specialized elves led by Santa's son Steve (Hugh Laurie) at mission control.
Teaming up with Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and his aged reindeer, and gift-wrapping elf Bryony (Ashley Jensen), Arthur gets involved in an adventure outside of his comfort zone in order to deliver a misplaced bicycle to the kid who deserves it for being good all year round. And in true Aardman fashion, who had made this film together with Sony Pictures Animation, prepare yourself for plenty of sight gags and witty dialogue, providing plenty of comedy and entertainment that wraps around on the outside of a deep, emotional story about the underdog, and how one has to stand up and be counted rather than being pushed around and told of unattainable goals.
For those who still believe in Santa Claus and still in awe at how much ground he can cover over the course of one night delivering toys to children around the world, well the screenplay by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith, who also served as the film's directory, would have addressed that very convincingly in the first few minutes of the film, showing just how tight the entire operations are should anyone be insane enough to try something even remotely close. It's extremely clever and forms the basis of Arthur Christmas, with the entire North Pole eco-system geared up toward this one big show on 25th December, and have to play by long held, established Santa Claus rules of not being seen during deliveries, and to deliver every single gift.
There are plenty of moral education lessons to be gleaned from this film, though one of my favourites was in reference to how in some ways technology has made us blunt, complacent and losing sight of the things that truly matter, with Arthur's quest expectedly serving as a reminder to the spirit of how things should be done correctly in the first place, lest we disappoint others through our inactions when we have in our power to right the wrong. Animation remains top notch and so is the voice performance by the A-list cast. There isn't much deliberate 3D exploitative scenes other than those that call for depth of field.
Definitely highly recommended even for the jaded Christmas film fan, and after all, the world Aardman will have automatically provided that stamp of quality in crafting something suitable for the entire family this holiday season.
You can read my review of Arthur Christmas at movieXclusive.com by clicking on the logo below.