Arthur Christmas is one of those movies that, if it passed you by on its release, you may forget its existence. Though it was well-received critically and loved by audiences, it is a mighty task for a new Christmas movie to become a ‘classic’ in our homes if we haven’t grown up with it. Depending on your age, you probably even have your own preference of A Christmas Carol – whether it involves Muppets or a computerised Jim Carrey. Is there room for another seasonal movie on your festive favourites list?
If you’re unfamiliar with the film, the story sees Santa’s eldest son, Steve, help his father deliver Christmas gifts around the world. He performs his job with military precision, replacing the sleigh with an air-craft and Santa’s sack with gift-guns. But Santa and Steve accidentally miss one child – a little girl who asked for a bike. Santa’s youngest son, Arthur, defies the odds to deliver the bike to the girl himself with the help of his grandfather, Grandsanta.
The clash of the character’s ideals about Christmas make this movie. Whereas Steve believes that as long as the presents are delivered then Christmas is a success, Grandsanta believes that the old magical methods are the best. This is very recognisable to us as an audience. As we get older our ideas about Christmas can clash with our families. It’s that ‘generation-gap’ that can sometimes cause arguments. Or on a smaller scale, arguments about who’s going to have what token when playing a board game can be common-place. Arthur Christmas does not shy from these traditions. The scene in which Santa’s family sit together to play a Christmas themed monopoly-like game is the perfect representation of families at Christmas time. It’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate the film’s cunning humor when Steve bitterly takes his token and says, ‘Fine, I’m the candle. Arthur, you can be the turkey. You of course, dad, are Santa. And, Grandsanta, you can be this charming relic.’ Who knew that even Santa’s household could be just like ours?
However, despite its snappy humor, the film reminds us that there is no right answer when it comes to how Christmas should be done. Our lead hero Arthur doesn’t care if the forgotten gift is delivered by new technology or by traditional means. What matters is that the present is delivered and that the little girl is happy. It is Arthur that reminds us how magical Christmas can be regardless of how we celebrate it. This is the reminder we sometimes need around this time of year. And it becomes the sort of movie message that gives us that fuzzy feel-good feeling inside. And so, without question, this film certainly has heart.
The charm of the competing characters, the witty humor, and the heart of the story all mixed together give us what could easily be called an animated ‘Christmas classic’ in just a few short years. So if you’ve just poured yourself a cup of warm cocoa and decided to give your Frozen DVD a much needed break, I recommend you seek out Arthur Christmas and decide for yourself if you consider it a new holiday favourite.