Ahh Thanksgiving a time for turkey, family, friends, and Christmas movies? It seems with each passing year the Christmas spirit starts earlier and this season is no exception. This holiday week, the new movie Arthur Christmas has released and I had the privilege of seeing it today with my friends. You may now be asking yourself, “So was the movie worth it, or is it just another ridiculous animated adventure equal to Shreks 3 and 4?” The answer to that question lies ahead so read on to find out more.
Arthur Christmas, for those of you who don’t know, is a spin on the classic topic of Santa Clause’s annual ride around the world. In this world toys are delivered not by magic sleighs pulled by eight reindeer, but instead by a high tech vehicle manned by an army of elves. In a brilliant series of exciting flashes, acrobatic spy moves, and some hilarious problems that elves can run into the journey comes to an end. At least that is what they think, as later on a missing present is found, which indicates a child has been missed. Arthur (James McAvoy) the youngest son of Santa (Jim Broadbent) decides that no child should be left behind on Christmas and decides to keep up the good reputation of Santa Clause by delivering the present himself. Accompanied by a wrapping frenzy elf named Bryony (Ashley Jensenand his grandfather Grand Santa (Bill Nigh) the trio undertake a quest to finish the mission Santa left unfinished.
This adventure turned out to be a lot more entertaining and complex than I had imagined, most of the surprises being a warm welcome. The voice work fits in well for a kids movie with the elves having a variety of high pitched, nasal voices that fit their design well. McAvoy’s proper English accent and wide range of pitches were just the right touch to make the clumsy character of Arthur entertaining on so many levels. Hugh Laurie as well plays his part well as the brother Steve and managed to place his can’t be bothered, get the job done House attitude into this character minus the pill popping addiction. The variety of voices the actors were able to provide really opened up a lot of jokes and situations for this movie to exploit, many of which will make kids laugh with glee.
However, the voice work wasn’t the only positive quality this movie had to offer. The CGI work Sony pictures presented flowed smoothly, only occasionally lost in some glitchy, chaotic, and fast camera work that went along with the high-speed scenes. The various situations the trio runs into across the country are also surprisingly entertaining, though predictable to some degree, and involve some rather clever solutions to getting out of the jam. As for dialog, well Arthur Christmas delivers to a variety of ages with their jokes. Grand Santa, Santa, and Steve’s lines are geared for older audience members, while Arthur, Bryony and the other elves have dialog that are more for the younger audience members. Most of the humor I thought was clever, however some were stereotypical of the Christmas season and stale. Even cleverer however was there integration of both past and present into their story and help in the development of their characters and symbolize the how reliant on technology the world has become. The biggest positive for me however, was the moral behind the story that emphasizes the belief in the impossible and the lesson of never giving up hope. Arthur’s feeling about Christmas and the nature of being Santa are all about these two characteristics and seemed to be contagious as I began to rekindle my belief in the legend of Santa.
The weak spots start with the unbalanced humor. Although there are various age groups targeted by the jokes in this movie, there is a huge shift to little kids to enjoy. A few of the scenes are cheesy and a little corny, which may make some roll their eyes. A couple of the jokes get a little stale as well and like most comedies you can get hit in the head with the same type of joke over and over again until you’re ready to throw up. The last weakness is probably the predictability of the storyline, which can make the movie a little boring for those looking for surprises, though in a kid’s movie you don’t expect many surprises.
Overall Arthur Christmas is cute, funny, and a jolly good adventure for the whole family. Colorful worlds, zany antics, and heartwarming love fill this movie to the brim and can make anyone feel good. I believe Sony has set the bar high for the Christmas movie season and I strongly urge everyone to go and enjoy the movie in theaters. I enjoyed the film in 2-D, but I’m sure there are lots of 3-D fun to be had as well. My score for this movie is a solid 8.0, for being clever, fun, and well-developed comedy. So grab your holiday spirit boys and girls and ride on over to watch Arthur Christmas today.