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Review: Arthur Christmas

Have you ever wondered how Santa delivers millions of presents in a single night? The 3D animation film Arthur Christmas (Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation) reveals exactly how things work in Santa’s mysterious Arctic Headquarters.

3.5 Starfish out of 5

Have you ever wondered how Santa delivers millions of presents in a single night?  The 3D animation film Arthur Christmas (Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation) will reveal exactly how things work in Santa’s mysterious Arctic Headquarters. In this movie the clever idea of multiple generations of Santa Clauses is introduced for the first time. In a busy underground snow fortress, countess elves operate advanced technology to calculate how many presents are given, children’s locations, and how naughty or nice they have been, while the Claus family is busy as well, managing the letters and elf teams.

Arthur, the clumsy, yet devoted younger son of Malcolm (Santa) Claus runs the letter department, answering letters to Santa Claus and finding out what they want for Christmas. Arthur really looks up to his father, Santa, and his brother, Steve. But, on the night before Christmas, while the elves delivered their presents, an error occurred in the gift machines, and one child’s bike was left out. As Arthur attempts to give the child her present, he goes through a life changing journey as he discovers the true spirit of Christmas.

Arthur Christmas is entertaining. It has a lot of humor, something that I enjoyed. I like the concept of elite trained elves that deliver the presents to children everywhere. It is amusing to see the elves perform complex tactics to avoid being seen by kids. I thought that this film has a good message about having the Christmas spirit.

Aardman, the British animation studio that brought us the beloved “Wallace & Gromit” series, created “Arthur Christmas” as their first 3D, CG animation feature.  Our friend Jennifer “Jenna” Bors, the 2010 Student Academy Award gold medal winner for animation, is one of the animators in this film. What a great job she did, check out her reel:

Animation Reel Fall 2011 from Jenna Bors on Vimeo.

I never understood why there was such a big fuss about the sighting of Santa’s sleigh. Obviously, the parents know that Santa Claus is real in the film, because they don’t supply the gifts to their children themselves. Therefore, they would probably know Santa’s sleigh if they see it. Also, I didn’t really like the Justin Bieber music video that came at the start of the film, although some other people may like his works better. I give this film 3.5 starfish.

I recommend this film to ages 5+. Arthur Christmas is an enjoyable film guaranteed to get lots of laughs. This movie has some elements like missiles, lion attacks, and potty humor.

The holiday spirit is not about receiving, but about giving joy and happiness to the ones you care about.

Perry at the Arthur Christmas screening.

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Copyright 2011 by Perry S. Chen

Perry S. Chen is an award-winning child film critic, artist, and animator, currently in 6th grade from San Diego.  He started reviewing movies at age 8 in 3rd grade using a kid-friendly starfish rating system, and has been featured in CBS, NBC, CNN, NPR, Variety, The Guardian, The China Press, etc.  He has been writing movie reviews for Animation World Network, San Diego Union Tribune, Amazing Kids! Magazine, and his own Perry’s Previews blog. (www.perryspreviews.com)  He won an “Excellence in Journalism Award” from San Diego Press Club in 2010 and 2011.  His animation short “Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest” is touring film festivals around the world and won a “Special Jury Award” at the Flyway Film Festival in Oct 2011.

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