Arthur Christmas came out on DVD this past Tuesday, and my family and I were pretty excited about it since we hadn’t seen it in theaters. Though the movie pretty much bombed at the box office, it was given high flying marks with the critics and for good reason. The movie is absolutely adorable, even if it does have a few sexist jokes—aimed both at men and women.
The film is about the current Santa—descended from a long line of human Santas—and his two sons, Arthur and Steve. Steve is an efficient, no-nonsense militaristic man who keeps Christmas on schedule while Arthur is loveable but clumsy, and assigned to the mailroom due to his tendency to create messes. Steve is destined to be the next Santa, and Arthur is fine with this—but when a mistake happens on Christmas Eve, it is Arthur who comes through, not his brother, and shows his true colors as a man who loves Christmas as well as children.
There are so many charming things about this movie—its English point of view and humor, its bumbling but bright animation, its heart-warming themes—that I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a film that the whole family is bound to enjoy; in my own, we had several favorite scenes each! There are such carefully crafted details—a Christmas tree shaped beard, an elf with an eyebrow piercing, many multi-cultural elves working for the Santas—that you know a lot of heart and soul went into this movie. The all-star cast, including James McAvoy, Imelda Staunton, Bill Nye, and House-star Hugh Laurie, also add to its flavor. Of course, my favorite character was the spunky elf girl who helps Arthur get a present to a forgotten child.
And with the exception of one violent scene—a blast from a battle aircraft to a sled in which no one is hurt—the movie isn’t violent or scary, either. Beware a few jokes aimed at men and women—such as Santa’s remark about “what women do while their husbands are at work” and the goofy helplessness of old Santa while his wife signs treaties and flies his aircraft. If you can roll your eyes through it—or explain it to the kiddos—the rest of the movie really is one of the most enjoyable films I’ve ever seen. My seven-year-old loved it so much she wanted to watch it again immediately—and we liked it so much that we did, too.