For many people, Christmas has become nothing more than a crush of activities to be completed as efficiently as possible. The magic is gone and unfortunately so is the spirit of celebration.
It’s no different at the North Pole. Santa (voice by Jim Broadbent) is nearing retirement and has turned many of the details of the annual Christmas Eve event over to his son Steve (voice of Hugh Laurie) who oversees the delivery operation with military precision. Grandsanta (voice by Bill Nighy) spends his time in his rocker pining for the old days of sleigh travel instead of the Star Trek-esque ship Santa and his elves now use.
Only Arthur (voice by James McAvoy) still revels in the splendor of the season. He works in the mailroom reading and responding to millions of childish requests. One in particular stands out. Gwen (voice by Ramona Marquez) hopes for one thing under her Christmas tree—a pink Twinkle bike.
When an operational glitch results in a failed delivery of the girl’s gift, Steve is willing to chalk it up as a minor statistical error and leave things as is. Arthur, however, determines to get the bike under Gwen’s tree before the sun rises.
This engaging animation has plenty that will appeal to younger viewers, including an elf named Bryony (voice by Ashley Jensen) who can wrap in mid air. But it is older teens and adults who may actually appreciate more of the intricacies of this clever and complex storyline about family relationships and responsibilities.
While some brief moments of peril occur when the characters are surrounded by lion after inadvertently landing in Tanzania, few other content concerns arise in this film for the six and up age group.
Combining army tactics, modern technology and good old fashioned Christmas magic, Arthur Christmas brings a delightful family adventure to the theaters this holiday season.