When was the last time you saw a truly joyous and happy Christmas movie that rose triumphantly above the cynicism and commercialism of the modern Christmas? Movies like that used to proliferate at Christmas, according to my children, who lament the lack of simple, happy Christmas movies to share with their own children.
Well, at last I can suggest another for their play list. Arthur Christmas, produced by the British Aardman studios who made Wallace and Gromit and Flushed Away, is a joy from beginning to end, and will put anyone in a festive mood on Christmas Eve.
The Santa family, who live at the North Pole and organize Christmas with the help of the latest technology, are a deliciously dysfunctional bunch. The current Santa is due to retire and hand the red hat to his gung-ho son Steve, who in spite of his enthusiasm, just lacks the heart for the job. Santa’s younger son Arthur is inept at everything, while Grandsanta, long retired, is far from impressed by the gadgetry on which the others rely. After all, he used to deliver all the presents on time with just a bunch of reindeer and a sleigh called Eve.
Steve’s flyboy ways cause the North Pole to start melting down when his computerized delivery system misses one child on Christmas Eve. Steve doesn’t recognize the severity of his oversight, but Arthur and Grandsanta and an elf called bryony realize that they only have until the dawn of Christmas Day to deliver the gift and save Christmas.
Arthur Christmas stars a trio of brilliant British character actors providing the voices for Santa, Grandsanta and Steve, and James McEvoy voicing Arthur, The rich, ripe plummy voice of Jim Broadbent is perfect for Santa, with Imelda Staunton as Mrs Santa; Hugh Laurie gives Steve the gung-ho qualities of a wartime air ace; and the wonderful Bill Nighy makes Grandsanta a lovable old rascal. Just listen to him sing make Someone Happy over the end credits - sheer joy.
Arthur Christmas has something for everyone.
I paid for this DVD with my own funds.