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Film Review: Arthur Christmas

Arthur Christmas is a 2011 British-American 3D computer animated Christmas comedy film, produced by Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animations as their first collaborative project. The film is directed by Sarah Smith, and starts James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent and Bill Nighy. The film centres around Arthur, Santa’s clumsy son as he takes on a mission with his grandfather to give out a present they misplaced to a young girl in less than two hours.

Given that Sony Pictures Animation have films such as The Emoji Movie, Hotel Transylvania and The Smurfs on their resume, it may be easy to write this film off as another cash-grab from the company just to make money from children. However, this film is very different from the others by the company. This film has so much heart and joy that it almost reaches the emotions that Disney and Pixar can perfectly execute.
The main character, Arthur, is so likeable. Everything he does and says is exactly what we want from a good person. He has so much heart and charisma, and James McAvoy brings his enthusiasm to life brilliantly. It doesn’t matter if he is too nice or good, because this is an animated Christmas film designed for children. It is important that children have characters like Arthur to look up to.
The story is also quite unique for a Christmas film. Normally, holiday films like to focus on Santa Claus and show what a perfect person he is, whilst in this case we see that Santa is not perfect. Age has affected him and he has his own story arc that weaves through smoothly and intricately. Nothing felt shoehorned, and there was enough connection with every character to form opinions on each one.
When watching an animated film, I take real notice of the animation style given my love for art. It did take a little while to get used to the animation on some of the characters, particularly the elves, but I particularly love how expressive and bright the style is. Arthur’s face is clear, from his worry and anger to his joy and delight. 
One aspect that I also particularly enjoyed in terms of the style of movie is that it almost presented itself as a thriller. The film travelled across the world using different means to get to the final destination. There were even some small text that came along counting down the hours, reindeer and locations. The end of the film also presented itself like a documentary, where each character got a mini summary of what happened to them in the following year.
There were very few flaws with this film. The length of the film was perfect, not too long and dragging on but not too short with little content. The film knew its target, and capitalised on the theme of Christmas by making it joyous and heart-warming. The only flaws I had with the film was the animation to begin with, and also some of the minor characters. Some of the characters felt flat, and were just black or white. It did take some time to get into the action of the film, and I was unsure at first whether I would find it to be cheesy or cliched, but at the end I was sold.
I have been told many times from family and friends that this is a fantastic Christmas film, and indeed they were right. I am not the biggest fan of Christmas films, but this is one that I can say that I actually like. I can’t wait to watch this one again next Winter time.

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