Arthur Christmas (2011) Review

From the minds of Aardman animations comes Arthur Christmas a computer animated film about the Christmas family who have forgotten the meaning of Santa.

When one childs gift from Santa is forgotten the youngest family member Arthur takes it upon himself to try and deliver it before sunrise against the wishes of his father Santa Claus and his older brother and head of operations Steve.

He is joined on his journey to Cornwall with his Grand Santa, an old reindeer and wrapping Elf Briony.

The story is very well written with each character having different ideas on what Santa should be and how the story is written does eventually bring them all together in the end, in a perfect moment concluding the mission they realise that only Arthur embodies the true spirit of Santa, its a really beautiful moment and the highlight of the movie.

The characters truly drive this movie and without such an iconic British voice cast I don’t think the film would have been able to portray such realism and emotion in the Claus family.

Steve voiced by Hugh Laurie is next in line to become Santa, he has taken a more modern approach to the holiday by creating the S1 a present delivering Spaceship with GPS and hyper speed, Steve is serious about order and making sure that everything goes to plan, he is somewhat of an antagonist in the film as he is clearly seen as superior to the rest of the family even by Santa himself, Steve wants to be Santa but he doesn’t understand the magic and sees it more as a job. Steve doesn’t want to bring back the missing present because he thinks it isn’t possible or important since all of the other presents got delivered anyway.

Santa Claus is played by Veteran actor Jim Broadbent who was perfect for this role he has a very naturally jolly and gentle voice so just playing himself was the best option and that’s what they went with and it works really well. Santa in this doesn’t want to retire event though his old age is beginning to affect his ability to do the job properly, he is getting forgetful and lets Steve make decisions for him even though technically he is the boss, even agreeing that Steve always knows best when Arthur tells him about the forgotten child.

The best character in the entire movie is definitely Grand Santa he is played by Bill Nighy who won an Annie award for his performance. Grand Santa is the last of the Santa’s to use the traditional method of sleigh and reindeer to deliver presents, he dislikes Steve’s new modern tech and goes along with Arthur only to prove that the old method still works and that he is capable of being Santa after he was put in early retirement for nearly triggering World War 3 .

Arthur voiced by James Mc avoy is the glue that holds the family together, he works in the letters department replying to all of the letters written to Santa, Arthur was the first person to communicate with Gwen who asks for a bicycle, Gwen soon becomes the forgotten child and Arthur knows that if the present isn’t delivered she will no longer believe and will lose out on the magic of Christmas. Arthurs selfless act to deliver the present eventually does bring all of the characters together and fixes the holes in the Claus Family.

Other characters worth mentioning are Mrs Claus (Imelda Staunton) and Bryony Shelfley (Ashley Jenson) Mrs Claus is desperate for Santa to retire so they can spend their last years together and Bryony Shelfey is the Elf who originally finds the forgotten gift, she tags along with Arthur and Grand Santa to make sure it is delivered in time for Christmas morning.

For only their second attempt at a CGI film following on from Flushed Away visually the film still manages to capture all of the charm and simplicity of the character and set designs.

I think what makes the film so special is its portrayal of a family who has lost its connection due to work, in this movie Christmas has become a dividing point for the Claus family, there are arguments for how the job should be done that has managed to cause a massive drift apart between the family members and this is something that isn’t repaired until the finale thanks to Arthur.

In the real world work can take over many peoples lives and can cause neglect, stress and general anxiety and depressions for a lot of families, while this element is very light in this film it was still nice to see this being portrayed in a family film.

Arthur Christmas is one of my absolute favourite Christmas movies of all time it is tons of fun to watch and filled to the brim with classic Aardman British Humour, it has charming animations, an iconic cast and is overall a film to put on every year.

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