ARTHUR CHRISTMAS Friday 09 December, 2011

Aardman decides to dip it’s toe into feature length digital animation once again with Arthur Christmas.

In the years since we were all told how Father Christmas rode around on his sleigh dishing out goodies to the little kiddie winks, things have changed. You and I might think that Father Christmas comes and goes via way of chimney. We’d be wrong though. Aardman tells us how it really is. Here we see an operation of military precision to deliver presents to each child. All of this is commanded and overseen by Steve Christmas (son of Father Christmas and voiced by Hugh Laurie). Whilst the fat guy in the red suit does still delivers some presents they are more like token deliveries. The old man has become something of a figurehead, a symbol.

This is where we meet Arthur (the usually terrible James McAvoy), the younger of the Christmas brothers (which sounds like and excellent name for winter gangsters). He is hugely enthused by christmas and thoroughly believes in his father. Unfortunately for Arthur he is quite clumsy and considered something of a joke by the elf staff and by his family. Due to this he has been given the job of answering letters on behalf of Father Christmas.

Upon completion of the huge christmas delivery operation Arthur discovers that one present is left over. A child will be without a gift from Father Christmas unless Arthur does something about it. So the adventure begins.

I think I’m right in saying that this is only Aardman’s second digital animation (after Flushed Away) and it’s pretty gorgeous. It’s an interesting take on the management of the North Pole and it also serves as something of a rite of passage movie. It’s funny in places (Bill Nighy as GrandSanta steals the most of the comedy yuks) and moves along at sufficient speed to keep the kids from getting bored.

It seems that this is the going to be your main option if you wish to go and see a new christmas film at the cinema this year. It’s a reasonably good film but for the adults among us it probably skews just a little too far towards the kids but it’s still proves to be a suitably festive distraction in the main.

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