Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. Written by
Sony Pictures Animation
Script writer Peter Baynham, born in Cardiff, Wales, included a reference to an obscure bit of Welsh history in his script, with Mimosa Avenue in Trelew. In 1865, about 150 Welsh emigrants sailed on the ship Mimosa to Patagonia, Argentina. They founded a town called Trelew, where there is now a street called Mimosa, after the ship. Baynham postulated an avenue by that name in Trelew, Cornwall, to complete the confusion between the two locations. (The movie's placement of Trelew in Mexico, instead of Argentina, is apparently an error.) See more »
The movie opens in "Aarhus, Eastern Denmark". Aarhus is actually the capital of the westernmost part of Denmark, Jutland (though it's on the east coast of Jutland, which is probably what confused the script writers). See more »
Okay, lets show them people, 'Operation Santa Claus is coming to town!'
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After the end of the credits, there is a seven second scene, all in black silhouette on a blue background. One of the elf-lowering-cables descends, pauses, then lifts up an elf, who proceeds to throw snowballs at the screen until it's all black. See more »
Arthur Claus (James McAvoy) is the bumbling son of the reigning Santa, Malcolm Claus (Jim Broadbent). Arthur is relegated to the Letter Department where he can presumably do no damage. Arthur's brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) is the heir apparent to the title of Santa. Steve is handsome, confident, and in charge of the North Pole command center that monitors Santa's gift-giving flight around the world. The film opens with a bravura set piece showing how Santa is able to stop in millions of homes in one night. Hint: he has the help of thousands of elves.
When Arthur discovers that one gift was accidentally undelivered, he becomes determined to get it to the unfortunate girl before Christmas sunrise. Even with the help of his retired grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and a perky elf (Ashley Jensen) from the Wrapping Department, can Arthur travel around the world in time?
There have been many movies over the years where Christmas must be saved from disaster, but Arthur Christmas has a very creative take on it. From the opening scene where it's established that Santa is really a dynasty through the centuries, a title handed down from father to son, to the paramilitary operation to get millions of presents delivered in one night, to the misadventures of Arthur and his grandsanta as they try to make sure one little girl is not disappointed, Arthur Christmas is fun, creative, and original. Produced by Aardman Animations in association with Sony Pictures Animation, this CGI animated film delivers Aardman's distinct brand of quirky humor and style.
The art direction maintains the slightly skewed look of an Aardman claymation film. The character designs are asymmetric and the surface textures are realistic yet bold. The North Pole command center and Santa's high-tech sleigh are clean and modern.
Sometimes celebrity voice talent backfires, but here it works beautifully, the English accents lending a sense of gravity that heightens the silliness. Bill Nighy is particularly good, conveying wisdom that is tinged with resentment of the modern gift-delivery methods his son and grandson use.
Arthur Christmas is a funny, heartwarming, and poignant look at the Santa Claus mythos, adding a family dynamic that will resonate with children and adults. I expect Arthur Christmas will become a joyful holiday favorite for years to come.
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