Release Date: Nov. 23, 2011
Running Time: 97 minutes
If you thought the Easter Bunny ran a well-oiled machine in Hop, wait until you see how Santa Claus operates his business in Arthur Christmas. Actually, the aging Santa Claus (voiced by Jim Broadbent) of this sweet-natured 3D computer-animated celebration of yuletide traditions barely does a thing. He’s nothing more than a figurehead who’s allowed his son and presumed successor Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie) to distribute a billion gifts in one night through the use of cutting edge technology. When a little girl fails to receive her requested pink bike, it’s not Steve who leaps into action but his kindhearted but accident-prone brother Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy). Arthur, his grandfather (voiced by Bill Nighy), himself a retired Santa Claus, and an elf from the gift-wrapping department cause nothing but mayhem as they attempt to deliver the bike old-school style. This latest marvel from Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman Animations offers one thrill after another in its bid to uphold the true meaning of Christmas. Not that Arthur Christmas boasts an anti-technology streak—it just makes clear that sometimes the human touch must trump an assembly-line mentality to keep both the individual and the masses happy and satisfied. Director Sarah Smith keeps Arthur’s quest moving at a zippy pace without allowing the proceedings to become too preachy. With its crisp animation and hilarious voice cast, Arthur Christmas unfolds as a delightful holiday treat with a message that will resonate all-year long.
Aired: Nov. 24, 2011
Web site: http://www.arthurchristmas.com/