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Jan 31, 2012

Review: Arthur Christmas (2011)

                  James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Ashley Jensen, Will Sasso, Ramona Marquez, Marc Wootton, Iain McKee, Joan Cusack, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Palin, Dominic West, Andy Serkis, Miggie Donahue, Laura Linney and Eva Longoria.

Directed By:
                         Sarah Smith.

                This was my most anticipated animation of the year after Rango and it impressed me even more than i thought it will providing some deep emotional feeling that i thought will lack as usual. I am however severely disappointed by the box office results of this movie along with the Academy Snub which truly hurts as this movie deserves to be recognized more than anything. Arthur Christmas, as the name suggests is a movie based on Christmas. But it offers a whole new dimension to the already clich├ęd and widely tackled themes, it has its own unique and particular approach towards the story which makes it stand out among all the animated movies this year. This movie is the answer to the question every children asks, how does Santa delivers all the present to everyone around the world in one night? magic i guess! This movie kind of gives those children a hypothesis, Santa might uses the latest high tech or even very futuristic ultra high tech advances? Movie begins with a shot of a little girl dropping her Santa letter in the drop box and after that we see the advanced elves with loaded James Bond like high tech stuff doing their mission to deliver gifts to the children. They slide and glide and God knows do different and immensely cool kind of stunts through the hi-rise apartments delivering the gifts very carefully to the children based on their performance the whole year (were they good or naughty) while trying not to wake up anyone as they don't want to be spotted. Steve is the big arrogant elder son of the current Santa who operates everything in a hidden underground north pole for them while Santa is also performing everything but he is very lazy and everything so is helped by elves mostly. Their are thousands of elves helping them of every types.

                  So the question is, Who is Arthur? well Arthur is the son of Mr and Mrs Clause and younger brother of Steve whose job is to reply the mails. he is very clumsy and nerdy with a big heart. They also have a grand father who once was a Santa himself and hates the latest technology and quite annoying. So the plot is that while performing the job, crisis arises as they are almost caught delivering presents and an elf mistakenly in a panic presses a button that makes a gift fall off. The very child, Gwen, shown writing a letter asking for a bike, it was her present. Arthur not accepting his brother Steve's theory of just 1 child without a present out of a billion is just an error doesn't quite matter sets off on a old fashioned sleigh ride around the world (almost) with his grandfather only to find out his real motive. He is determined to deliver Gwen the present before the very dawn of Christmas. It has some of the big British voice over cast with a good use of some of them.

                I really liked Arthur Christmas and thought it was very well written and well made. It might feels a bit off place from the start but it slowly builds this whole feeling inside you that it is a Christmas movie. I would point out that it really could have used a bit more attention on the writing aspect as it feels a bit dull in few places. Nevertheless it was visually superb, i loved the virtual cinematography of it which actually builds a whole atmosphere and feel accurate. Not just the north pole but as they visit throughout on the sleigh, all the locations are perfectly shown and you can spot the differences way before knowing the name of the city they are in. I was glad it had some small sub plots too which really added a lot to it. The characters comes off as not so Grinch like or too evil but very annoying, egoistic and cunning and very minimum which doesn't feel toned down or bad here because it is suppose to be a fun and witty Christmas movie. The dialogs are perfectly crafted with richness and sheer wit. It just feels like a near complete animated movie while still not catching the perfection of lets say How to train your dragon. Nevertheless it is a fun filled and surprisingly quite heart warming and heart touching tale. I am awarding an extra point to it just for that, in a year of disappointments this movie came off as a near perfectly crafted animated movie after Rango with one of the best storytelling.

Grade: A-