Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas

5.0 3
Director: Sarah Smith

Cast: Sarah Smith, James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Nighy


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Take a trip to the North Pole and discover exactly how Santa Claus makes Christmas magic happen every year in this imaginative comedy for the entire family. Produced by Aardman Features in association with Sony Pictures Animation, this fun-filled holiday film introduces viewers to Santa's mischievous son Arthur, who races to complete an important mission in time to… See more details below


Take a trip to the North Pole and discover exactly how Santa Claus makes Christmas magic happen every year in this imaginative comedy for the entire family. Produced by Aardman Features in association with Sony Pictures Animation, this fun-filled holiday film introduces viewers to Santa's mischievous son Arthur, who races to complete an important mission in time to ensure that this year's Christmas celebrations will go off without a hitch.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
For the sake of clarity, please note that the film Arthur Christmas has nothing to do with Arthur Bach, the cheerful but lovelorn multimillionaire alcoholic played by Dudley Moore (and more recently by Russell Brand), or Arthur Read, the anthropomorphic aardvark whose animated exploits were the basis of a long-running PBS cartoon series. The titular character in Arthur Christmas is instead a well-meaning but profoundly clumsy young man who is trying to make good in the family business, which happens to be spreading joy and good will during the holiday season. Arthur Christmas is a seasonal offering from Aardman Animations, the British studio best known for bringing us the adventures of Wallace & Gromit, and while the film's digital animation boasts a good bit more gloss than Aardman's best-known work, it's also a clever, witty comedy that adds a welcome edge of sly humor to a story with no small amount of Yuletide sentimentality. In short, it's a smart, rollicking good time. Arthur Christmas begins with a child composing a letter to Santa Claus that asks many of the questions that confound children when they start working out the logic of Father Christmas and his annual toy delivery: How old is Santa? How does he get into the house? How does he cover the entire world in one night? What happens to all those snacks left for Santa and his reindeer? And how is it he never misses a house? The film then presents a crash course in the complex nature of Santa's operations, as we watch him travel around the world in a high-tech airship while delivering the gifts with the help of an army of elves whose skills resemble a cross between ninjas and a SWAT team. These days, Santa is the commander and figurehead of the operation, and it's a job that's been handed down through the family -- the current Santa (voice of Jim Broadbent), who has been at the helm for 70 years, took over from his father, Grandsanta (voice of Bill Nighy). And as Santa loses interest in the work, the heir apparent is his son Steve (voice of Hugh Laurie), who has the physique of a bodybuilder and the business sense of a Fortune 500 CEO. Steve has a younger brother named Arthur (voice of James McAvoy), an overeager geek with a handful of phobias and a habit of being in the way, who's been relegated to a lowly task in the North Pole's mailroom. But while Steve is a genius when it comes to technology and organization, he's not all that interested in Christmas and doesn't like children. Arthur, on the other hand, truly loves the holiday and understands the power of a child's faith. When an error in the delivery system results in one present not being delivered, Santa and Steve are willing to write off the mistake, but Arthur is horrified at the notion of a child being let down. After his dad and his brother try to wash their hands of the matter, Arthur teams up with Grandsanta to make the trip from the North Pole to a small town in the U.K.; they use the sleigh and reindeer that Steve abandoned as impractical years ago, and have some unexpected help from Bryony (voice of Ashley Jensen), a Scottish elf who's a genius at wrapping. With the exception of Pixar, no animation studio working today delivers more consistently enjoyable films than the folks at Aardman, and while they cut their teeth with the plasticine adventures of Wallace & Gromit and the birds of Chicken Run, Aardman demonstrated they could embrace computer animation and not lose the distinctive feel and personality of their work with 2006's underappreciated Flushed Away. Arthur Christmas was produced in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation, and they clearly brought plenty of technical expertise to the project, which looks marvelous (particularly in 3D). But this feels like an Aardman movie in every respect, from the playfully eccentric character designs and richly detailed backgrounds, to the very British slant of the humor and the wealth of in-jokes and references to films both familiar and obscure. Sarah Smith, a top British comedy writer, makes her directorial debut with Arthur Christmas, and as one might expect, she has plenty of fun with the not-always-smooth familial relationships between Santa and his kin (and she draws excellent performances from the voice cast). But she also does a splendid job with the film's visuals, delivering some impressive action sequences and milking Grandsanta's chaotic voyage for all its worth. Smith and co-screenwriter Peter Baynham perform a delicate balancing act between the film's dry, sometimes prickly comedy and the genuine warmth of the more sentimental moments, and they pull it off with flying colors: This is a story with a heart that's warm but never sappy, and a comedy that's smart but never arrogant about it. In a season unexpectedly full of quality family films, Arthur Christmas may have to fight for the attention it deserves, but if there was ever an example of a film that's a crowd-pleaser without talking down to its audience, this is it.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Un-wrapping Arthur Christmas: Learn more about the Claus family, Santa's elves and the heartwarming story!; Elf Recruitment Video; Progression Reels - Discover how filmmakers created characters and scenes from the film

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
James McAvoy Arthur
Hugh Laurie Steve
Bill Nighy Grandsanta
Jim Broadbent Santa
Imelda Staunton Mrs. Santa
Ashley Jensen Bryony
Marc Wootton Peter
Laura Linney North Pole Computer
Eva Longoria Chief De Silva
Ramona Marquez Gwen
Michael Palin Ernie Clicker
Sanjeev Bhaskar Lead Elf
Robbie Coltrane Lead Elf
Joan Cusack Lead Elf
Rhys Darby Lead Elf
Jane Horrocks Lead Elf
Iain McKee Lead Elf
Andy Serkis Lead Elf
Dominic West Lead Elf
Peter Baynham Elf
Cody Cameron Elf
Kevin Cecil Elf
Kevin Eldon Elf
Rich Fulcher Elf
Bronagh Gallagher Elf
Pete Jack Elf
Danny John-Jules Elf
Emma Kennedy Elf
Stewart Lee Elf
Seamus Malone Elf
Kris Pearn Elf
Alan Short Elf
Sarah Smith Elf
Adam Tandy Elf
Miggie Donahoe Pedro
Finlay Duff French Boy
Rich Hall Idaho Man
Clint Dyer Reporter
Donnie Long Reporter
Jerry Lambert N.O.R.A.D.
Deborah Findlay General
David Schneider General
Ian Ashpitel UNFITA OPS
Julia Davis UNFITA OPS
Kerry Shale UNFITA OPS
Tamsin Greig Additional Voice
Alistair McGowan Additional Voice

Technical Credits
Sarah Smith Director,Screenwriter
Aardman Animations Animator
Olivier Adam Art Director
Chris Baker Set Decoration/Design
Peter Baynham Screenwriter
John Carnochan Editor
Oliver Carroll Set Decoration/Design
Peter Chan Set Decoration/Design
Peter Chan Set Decoration/Design
François-Xavier Chanioux Set Decoration/Design
James Cooper Editor
Sarah Crowe Casting
Greg Fangeaux Set Decoration/Design
Matthieu Gosselin Set Decoration/Design
Harry Gregson-Williams Score Composer
Sony Pictures Imageworks Animator
Chris Juen Co-producer
Peter Lord Producer
David Mackie Sound Editor
Alexei Nechytaylo Art Director
Steve Pegram Producer
Dan Quarnstrom Set Decoration/Design
Matthew Savage Set Decoration/Design
Carla Shelley Producer
Michael Shorten Set Decoration/Design
David Sproxton Producer
Joseph Stracey Sound Editor
Evgeni Tomov Production Designer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Arthur Christmas
1. Scene 1 [4:37]
2. Scene 2 [4:14]
3. Scene 3 [7:34]
4. Scene 4 [3:21]
5. Scene 5 [3:34]
6. Scene 6 [5:35]
7. Scene 7 [4:29]
8. Scene 8 [5:52]
9. Scene 9 [5:22]
10. Scene 10 [8:03]
11. Scene 11 [5:59]
12. Scene 12 [7:11]
13. Scene 13 [7:48]
14. Scene 14 [6:47]
15. Scene 15 [3:49]
16. Scene 16 [5:21]


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