Written by / 11/27/2011 / No comments / , ,

ARTHUR CHRISTMAS

title: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS
year: 2011
voices: Bill Nighy, James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent
rating: ***

In the spirit of those great Rankin/Bass Christmas movies like RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REINDEER and FROSTY THE SNOWMAN comes ARTHUR CHRISTMAS, and while it’s computer animated, the film has the vibe of the stop-motion stuff of yesteryear. The place is the North Pole, and Santa Claus doesn’t use a sled with reindeer any longer. Instead there’s a giant space ship with tons of “Elf Ninjas” who have it all down to a science: every good kid is counted for. But something goes wrong and one child's left out. Just happens to be the same little girl who’s letter touched Santa’s youngest son’s heart… His name is Arthur Christmas, he’s a clumsy slacker and is degraded to reading letters for pop. And while Santa and the oldest militaristic son, in line for the big white beard the following season, call it a night: Santa’s father, the last of the sled riding Claus's, takes a forlorn but dedicated Arthur on a retro journey to deliver the girl’s bike before sunup. Till then a whole lot happens and the suspense keeps building to the very finish. And despite pockets of downtime with too much exposition, and some intricate British humor that might fly by youngsters, this has a good (if forced) message: no kids are to be left behind. And beware anyone over eleven years old: instead of an animated short there's a video of Justin Beiber singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town." And if you could imagine how bad this is… it’s even worse. Thank goodness the film makes up for it till the end credits and the song repeats, reminding you of that nightmare all over again.
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