Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Arthur Christmas review

Arthur Christmas (U, 97 mins)
Director: Sarah Smith
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Arthur Christmas (voiced by James McAvoy) lives at the North Pole with his family, and mostly spends his time reading letters that have been sent to Santa. His dad Malcolm (Jim Broadbent) is the current Father Christmas, but big brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) yearns to take over, and orchestrates the present delivery like a military operation, shown in an ingenious sequence that reveals how the elves manage to deliver to every child in the world in a single night. But when one child is missed out and Steve doesn’t seem to care, it’s up to Arthur and his Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) to get that little girl her bike no matter what. This breezy computer animation from Aardman can only dip after such a fantastic start, and for a while the plot starts to wander as much as Arthur does, as his world tour to deliver the errant present takes him from Mexico to Africa, though with enough wit and imagination to make the journey a pleasant one, and only a bit of steam lost. It remains engaging throughout thanks to cheery voices, the show stolen by Ashley Jensen as Bryony, an elf with very impressive present-wrapping skills, and it’s certainly heartwarming enough to get by.

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