Arthur Christmas: "Operation Santa Clause Is Coming To Town"

Director: Sarah Smith
Writer:    Peter Baynham
               Sarah Smith
Starring: James McAvoy
               Hugh Laurie
               Jim Broadbent
               Bill Nighy
               Imelda Staunton
               Ashley Jensen
               Will Sasso
               Ramona Marquez
               Marc Wooten
               Joan Cusack
               Robbie Coltrane
               Michael Palin
               Dominic West
               Andy Serkis
               Laura Linney
               Eva Longoria
Rating:    ***

Release Date: Out Now

Arthur Christmas is the latest film from the Aardman Animations, and with its story full of action, humour and heart and plenty of fun characters it is the perfect Chrismas movie for the whole Family.

The job of being 'Santa' has been handed down through the various generations in the Claus family, who as a whole are pretty dysfunctional. The current Santa (Broadbent), who is in his 70th year, is just the face, with most of the work being done by elves. His son Steve (Laurie) has even gone as far as to to sell the sleigh and reindeer, and buy a spaceship to actually deliver all of the presents. Steve is waiting to take over from Santa, much to the annoyance of Grandsanta (Nighy), who is constantly reminding them all how he used to do it all by himself. Whilst all this chaos takes place, Mrs Santa (Staunton) rises above it all  and somehow manages to stay calm.

Finally there is Arthur (Mcavoy), he is awkward, strange and has many phobias, but despite this he is the one who still has the Christmas spirit inside. Being clumsy he is forced to work in the letter department, responding to the billions of letters from children around the world. One day, accidentally, a child's present is forgotten about, and when Santa and Steve decide nothing can be done, it is down to Arthur to save the day and bring Christmas back to life for the Claus family.

Despite the story being done before in various other ways, the way Aardman has decided to do it, means it still feels fresh and new. The director (Smith) keeps things moving smoothly, creating realistic obstacles for the characters to overcome, whilst maintaining the sweet and fun feel. Despite the action sequences and colourful  settings aimed mainly at children, there is enough of that great British humour to keep the grown ups entertained throughout.

The voice talent is really superb, including Ashley Jensen as Bryony, a cheery gift-wrapping elf helping Arthur. But it’s Nighy who reall steals the show with a many layered performance as Grandsanta. This is a film with many themes and moods, and he matches all of them. Now Arthur Christmas won’t answer all your questions about Santa, and it probably won’t settle anyone’s concerns about the commercialism of Christmas, but it’s a delightful film that will put the whole family in a holiday mood. 

Arthur Christmas - Trailer