Review: Arthur Christmas

This festive animation is somewhat hit-and-miss, but having found a lot of Aardman’s recent CGI endevours very lackluster, Arthur Christmas proves to be at least good fun to watch!

The film sets about showing quite how Santa Claus delivers all the presents to children across the world and the different generations of Santa. Today, presents are delivered by a highly trained army of elves with high-tech gadgets from a gigantic space ship, everything is methodical, systematic and calculated. But meet Arthur, the bumbling idiot son of Santa who (pfft) believes more about the kindness and love that goes into giving a gift, rather than the requirement to give them. When just one child is accidentally missed, Arthur must prove the others wrong and deliver the single present before it is too late.

I tip my hat to the animators who worked on this film; upon seeing the first characters on screen I was immediately giving the film my attention. The designs involved are marvelous, from the covert, espionage elves, the super high-tech command centre, to the rickety old sleigh. The side characters are great too, from Grandsanta to Bryony, the elf who has top level skills in present wrapping!

It is great to watch, but a little hard to listen to. Arthur himself verges on unbearable (yet he is voiced by James McAvoy, weird eh?) so insanely enthusiastic about Christmas he is, its like the constantly yapping puppy you want to clobber. His unbridled joy is balanced by an overcompensating reluctance/ignorance from the other Santas. Yes, there are three generations of Santas in this film who have completely forgotten what it means to be Santa. Three! (Surely that is statistically impossible?)
This makes the film very predictable. Does Arthur regain dignity at the North Pole, does he provide what the other Santas lack with joy and whimsy? What do you think. Arthur is such a methodically uninteresting character that he needs his novelty slippers to save the day, and/or be more pivotal to the plot than he can! His slippers play a crucial role at least four times!

The rest of the film is a lot of festive fun and distraction with numerous one-time laugh-out-loud dialogue quips. I sure didn’t dislike it, it is entertaining and will keep young children occupied without fail! For the rest of us, we may find a few flaws but the animation is pretty spectacular.

Additional Marshmallows: Did the film mention “Google Maps” within the first 90 seconds? That’s… impressive product placement.

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