Arthur Christmas has to be one of most marvellously magical Christmas films of all time, and is guaranteed to force kids watching it out of their seats with excitement apprehension, and sheer hilarity. Be sure not to mistake ‘kids’ as a suggestion that the film is only enjoyable for the not-yet toilet trained nappy-wearing population, for it will bring the inner child out of anybody. In fact, wearing a nappy wouldn’t go a miss due to the high possibility of the rib-tickling gags becoming too much for even the mightiest of bladders to deal with.
In light of the star-studded cast list, the film has a lot to live up to. But for the very same reason, it is no surprise that this is an absolute cracker. Arthur Christmas sees the seamless teaming of James MacAvoy, Hugh Laurie, and Jim Broadbent (just to mention a few), with some top class animation, produced by a joint venture between Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animations, to create a bundle of joy. Upon closer inspection of the depths of the cast list, the appearance of the likes of Robbie Coltrane, Any Serkis and Dominic West, not to mention Michael Palin, is like finding extra presents skulking under the Christmas tree, making the already soaring potential reach new heights. No fear though, the film provides a thrilling ride; literally at points, in a sleigh towed by reindeer, leaving you with very little time to catch your breath in the merriest of films seen in a while.
The film centres on what can only be described as a typical family in many ways, despite the family consisting of the legendary Santa’s relatives. The family suffers from a classic three-way struggle for power and prestige between the three generations of the family. Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) is the slightly senile former Santa, and father of current Santa, Malcolm (Jim Broadbent), who is completely out of his depth in the vast modern world and only depends on the technical support provided by Steve (Hugh Laurie), who is aspiring to be the next Father Christmas. Arthur, the protagonist of this jolly tale, is un-interested in these trivial matters, preferring to endeavour to make Christmas perfect for every single child (and adult, and dog, and the list goes on). Steve provides an elegant technological and business-like solution to the age long question of how Father Christmas manages to deliver presents to every single child in the world in just one night (*cue sigh of relief from parents*!). Despite Steve’s elaborate system delivering to over 2 billion children in one night, the system is not perfect, and some old tradition and perhaps even some Christmas spirit is required to rescue the day. Arthur Christmas is determined to ‘save Christmas’ whatever it takes…
The only criticism of Arthur Christmas is the easily predictable storyline, which at times makes for tedious viewing. However, if you chose this film expecting to have an Inception labyrinth level of complicated plot, you have no one to blame but yourself. Furthermore, Arthur Christmas makes up for its lack of creativity for the older generation with some incredibly scandalous wit that would catch even Frankie Boyle’s eye. Out of fear of the Impact editors’ retribution, no example will be provided.
In light of the time of year, this film cannot be recommended highly enough, unless of course, you are the Grinch.