Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao—first time reviewer
Better than Average
Animation Family Comedy 3D
1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release:
November 23, 2011 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: November 6, 2012
“2 billion presents delivered in 1 night. It takes a family.”
Let’s give a big “Ho, ho, ho!” to director Sarah Smith, who succeeded in capturing the Christmas festivity and putting it onto the big screen! Diving right into action, “Arthur Christmas” tackles the question that is asked every year “How does Santa Claus deliver presents to 2 billion children all over the world in one night?”
In the North Pole, there is a mass operation underground composed of mostly elves. Every Christmas Eve, the elves are hard at work delivering presents without being seen, using high-tech gadgets and gizmos to stay undercover. The current Santa (Jim Broadbent) helps out a little, but it is his older son Steve (Hugh Laurie) who overlooks the entire operation. Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) doesn’t do much of anything. It is the unlikely hero Arthur (James McAvoy), the youngest, bumbly, good-natured son, who actually embodies the spirit of Christmas. He works in the department which answers children’s letters addressed to Santa and finds a way to help in spite of his clumsiness.
When an elf named Bryony (Ashley Jenson) discovers an undelivered present, she finds herself on an unexpected mission against time, along with Arthur and Grandsanta. He nearly gives up midway through the journey, but then realizes that it doesn’t matter how the present is delivered, just as long as it gets there. Their adventures lead the grandfather, father, and the older son to learn to love, embrace, and appreciate the Christmas spirit.
Language: This is a clean movie. The phrase “what the…” is left unfinished. Steve says, “Idiot Arthur,” but other than that, there are no concerns, that I noticed. I was expecting potty humor, but surprisingly, either most of them passed over my head or there simply weren’t any.
Violence: A few wild animals are encountered, although I think younger viewers won’t find this scary at all. A gun is fired, and missiles target Grandsanta’s sleigh, which explodes into flames.
Sexual Content: None at all.
Grandsanta and Santa are not very good examples of faithful fathers or even Santa Clauses, for that matter. At times, Arthur finds that he can’t depend on his father or grandfather for support, although they manage to redeem themselves at the end. Unlike these fantasy characters, we can all depend on Jesus Christ our father and our foundation. 1 Corinthians 3:11 says,
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
Of course, the true meaning of Christmas can be discussed with your family—that Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and jingle bells are only incidental things. The meaning of Christmas is giving, for God has given us his very best present, the birth of Jesus Christ—our hope of eternal salvation.
POSITIVE: Arthur has a never give up attitude. He overcomes his fears, determined that no child—not even a single one—will be forgotten on Christmas Eve. He is bent on making sure every child feels loved and accepted, and it is through this knowledge that he became the hero he is meant to be. In this way, I was reminded that God is our shepherd, and He will search and search for just one little lost lamb. Luke 15:4 states,
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”
The 3D in this movie is fantastic and the animation beautiful. Seeing the elves go into action is exhilarating, and I felt like I was flying in the sky along with Arthur in his magical sleigh. I could make out every single detail of Grandsanta’s beard, and the snow was so tangible and real. I loved the spark of Christmas spirit that was brought to life by the wonderful voiceovers.
The moviemakers were creative, challenging the subject of Santa sliding down chimneys with a whole new and fresh perspective. I like the idea that the elves are the ones who silently sneak into our houses, fill up our stockings, and make sure everything is perfect in time for Christmas. With the marvelous soundtrack, it was sincerely epic.
I recommend this fun film for any family. It’s not just your average Christmas movie; it has its own funny and sentimental, but not gushy, moments, as well. Most adults will also enjoy it. As for the Justin Bieber fans out there, you’ll get to hear one of his latest Christmas songs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” bringing down the curtains in the end.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers
Sorry, no other viewer comments received yet. If you have seen this movie and would like to share your observations and insights with others to be posted here, please contact us!