By: Lawrence Foster
Rating:8 out of 10
Wine, Betty White and ’80s music are all better now than they were 10 years ago.
I knew that age can make things better long before I found out cougars aren’t always just an animal; but when I sat down with two boxes of milk chocolate almonds and a large Sprite to watch Arthur Christmas, I wasn’t thinking about that.
Nearly 10 minutes into the movie I was regretting my decision to watch the animated Christmas flick. Fifteen minutes after that (25 minutes into the film for those who are mathematically challenged like myself), I was starting to grow interested in the film and by the final few moments I was completely sucked into Arthur’s world full of Santas.
Once you get past a rather bland opening, you will be treated to a heart-felt movie that captures the true meaning of Christmas and will resonate with young and older viewers alike.
Arthur Christmas is about a young man, and son of Santa, Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), who absolutely loves Christmas. At the beginning of the film we find out that while Arthur has his heart in the right place, he doesn’t exactly fit in with the technologically enhanced Santa and his entire operation.
The technology that Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) uses to deliver the insane amount of presents that he has to deliver in one night is a highlight of the film. While there is nothing wrong with the old way films have had Santa do his duty, Arthur Christmas realized that Santa needed to be modernized and they did so in fashion. Gone is the sleigh and reindeer. In its place is a ship right out of a Star Trek film. If that wasn’t enough, the command center run by Arthur’s brother Steve (voiced by House himself Hugh Laurie), is great as well.
Even with all the technological advances, the audience finds out that one little girl had been accidentally left out. To Steve, the little girl is just an infinitely small percentage of an error and he convinces his father that it isn’t worth the trouble trying to get back to deliver the present before the sun rises.
That doesn’t work for Arthur at all, however. Arthur’s job is to read and respond to the millions of letters Santa receives from children and he realizes that the present must be delivered.
Before I go on I have to touch on something for the parents and adults who will watch this movie. There is a deeper meaning to this movie that won’t be evident to the youngsters, but is important for the older audience members. Steve is the embodiment of all that is wrong with Christmas. Christmas has been turned into a cash-cow for companies and with that, I feel it has lost some of its magic. Steve was to me, an example of big business. He had no cheer or love in his work that brought joy to countless children. Instead he was just focused on getting the job done.
Arthur on the other hand is what Christmas should be about: Spreading joy to others and being selfless. So while the children are laughing at the funny looking animals and characters, there is something deeper going on for the more mature audience to pay attention to.
The rest of the film is Arthur’s attempt to get the present to the little girl with the help of his grandfather and former Santa Grandsanta (voiced by Bill Nighy) and wrapping black belt Bryony (voiced by Ashley Jensen).
Other than the lackluster start to the film, my only complaint with the movie is the 3D. Not once was I wowed by the 3D, and with an animated film such as Arthur Christmas if there isn’t at least a handful of wow moments with the 3D effect, it isn’t done right.
Regardless of whether you have young children in your life or not, if you enjoy a good Christmas movie, go hit up Arthur Christmas.