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    December 8, 2011



    Genre: Adventure/Animation
    Release Date: 1 December 2011
    Running Time: 97 minutes
    Distributor: Sony Pictures
    Director: Sarah Smith
    Screenplay: Sarah Smith, Peter Baynham
    Starring: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton

    Plot: The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic - a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP.

    Review: Since young we constantly wonder how is it possible that Santa Clause is able to deliver gifts to 2 billion people worldwide on Christmas' Eve. 'Arthur Christmas' answers your wonder brilliantly. It's no ordinary Santa and Elves movie; but it keeps tempo high by en-lighting audiences with the behind scene of HOHO operation, highly trained elves and with state of the art handheld tech-gear. Most importantly, 'Arthur Christmas' delivers a greater Christmas cheers than it could have been. To sum it all up, all you need is the five simple words; cheerful, hilarious, dysfunctional, controversial and happening.

    'Arthur Christmas' tells the story of Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy), the clumsy klutzy younger son of the current Santa who always been belittled by his father and the heir-in-line to assume the Santa title big brother Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie). The family looks ordinary from the outside, but proves a little dysfunctional from the inside. On the Christmas Eve when the whole Santa operation seems to be 'statistically' perfect, Arthur is dismayed to find out that one little girl from Cornwall has been missed. His attempt to have that gift delivered immediately was dismissed by Santa and Steve, calling it, oh well, 'a statistical anomaly'. To Arthur's defiant and determination, along with his crazy-old Grand-Santa who wants to seek for redemption of the past nativity spirits and the highly-skilled elf-wrapper Bryony; they rode the antic sleigh, travelling across the world to deliver the one last present before dawn arrives.

    While I am not convinced how this animation could turns out to be different from other Christmas offerings, it took a slap out for my YES-vote. 'Arthur Christmas' is way better than I was expecting. It is not a silly, cheap hilarious animation; but rather provides a smart, different contemporary retelling of the Santa-mythology. More importantly, it delivers a solid package of humors and character-relationship that fuels the sarcastic and ridiculously-amazingly-fun anchor plot. One would not fail to recognize the strong brand of Christmas spirits and yuletide cheers as the writers have successfully incorporating as much Santa's traditions as possible while adding new elements of modern perspective at the same weightage.

    Aside of been cheerful and hilarious, one could not also fail to mesmerize the dysfunctional Clause family of three generations. It reminds me of one classic dysfunctional family movie "Little Miss Sunshine" and I deemed appropriate to see this an exciting comparison. The three generations have different opinions and embodiment about the Christmas spirits and this argument on the dining table is one of the best movie moment. The message is fairly simple; even a noble family has a commoner family issue. The credits have to go to the outstanding British voice talents that channel the real deal emotion into the characters. You ask who is my best character? My vote to the 137-year old grandpa - corrupted, dysfunctional yet happening.

    This year, the Christmas arrives with a bang of joy and illuminous, thanks to 'Arthur Christmas'. It is packaged with strong and smart plot, amazingly fresh interpretation of how Christmas could have been in the hands of one dysfunctional Santa family with great voice talents behind them.

    Story: 4.5
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 18.0/20.0
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