Arthur Christmas

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Christmas. The season to be jolly; saccharine sweet holiday wishes and clichés floating around like the winter chill. Amidst all of this (had we in India been given the choice of a timely release), when a film comes out debasing and deconstructing the main Christmas tradition (by employing Santa’s klutzy son to save the day) in a funny, charming way you know it’s a holiday (or the first month of the year, for us) well spent.

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Director: Sarah Smith , Barry Cook
Running time: 97 minutes
Genres: Animation, Comedy
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Christmas movies are usually so predictable, you want to abandon the entire act of movie watching during the holidays. (Okay maybe Home Alone 1 wasn’t all that bad). While sometimes the cliché works, it becomes a delightful movie watching experience if you can pack in some innovation along with your regular message-in-a-film Christmas movie. Arthur Christmas is just that; a witty, creative and sparkling film based on the one question every kid wants the answer to: How does Santa deliver all gifts in one night?

We are taken into the spectacular world of Santa’s elves (or in this case, the term military base would be appropriate) with a stellar opening sequence, which is a spoof on the mad rush before Christmas Eve. The setting is a battlefield and the mission is to deliver gifts to each child in the world.

We are introduced to Santa’s army force then, who climb down roofs with black masks and heavy-duty equipment, (like gadgets to determine how asleep the children really are) dodge alarms and deliver. Reindeers to this force is like bullock carts to us.

Back in the North Pole, having completed his 70th mission, we see that Santa is ready to retire. His older son Steve (Hugh Laurie), also responsible for modernizing the whole gift delivering process, is uptight and employs whip-cracking meticulousness. His younger son Arthur (James McAvoy) is the klutz; the underdog who we know will rise to occasion very soon in the film (exhibit A of clichés that work).

Before Christmas Day, they find that they have missed one delivery. While Steve thinks they can ignore the little girl, Gwen’s gift (voiced by Ramona Marquez), Arthur is bent on making the delivery. Every child is special, he says. And that is Arthur’s first win.

Arthur Christmas is a delightful film, the kind that makes you really feel up to the holiday spirit. An intricate CG animated feature by Aardman Studio (in association with Sony Pictures Animation and also the studio that brought us Chicken Run) Arthur Christmas is a fascinating film with a sense of humor. It’s witty in many parts, indulging you in some clean, intuitive comedy.

The film’s real gem though is the swift action, coupled with background music that could give any thrilling film a run for its money, that is used first in the opening sequence and then by Arthur and his team later in the film. The action, intervened welcomingly by fast humor every now and then, will keep you fidgety and involved, even though you know the outcome of the film. Rest assured there will also be a smile plastered on your face. Too bad Arthur Christmas released a bit too late in India. That remains the only disappointment of the film, but hey, Easter’s on its way?

This article is by guest author Swetha Ramakrishnan. Swetha Ramakrishnan is currently living and working in Mumbai. She's a self-confessed film enthusiast and can most likely be found talking to anyone and everyone about popular cinema and her love for SRK. Swetha Ramakrishnan also blogs at

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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: None at all, only a spoof on military forces if anything
  • Language: Clean and witty
  • Nudity & Sexual content: None
  • Concept: A creative and pleasant take on the act of delivering gifts on Christmas day.
  • General Look and Feel: Very intricately done, colorful CG animation.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

Arthur Christmas - Cast, crew, links

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Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Running time:
97 minutes

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