Today’s Prayer Focus

Arthur Christmas

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for some mild rude humor.

Reviewed by: Cassandra Hsiao—first time reviewer

Moral Rating: Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Kids Family
Genre: Animation Family Comedy 3D
Length: 1 hr. 37 min.
Year of Release: 2011
USA Release: November 23, 2011 (wide—3,300+ theaters)
DVD: November 6, 2012
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Copyright, Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures
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Featuring James McAvoyArthur (voice)
Hugh LaurieSteve (voice)—“House” TV series
Bill NighyGrandsanta (voice)
Jim BroadbentSanta (voice)
Joan CusackLead Elf (voice)
Imelda Staunton … Mrs. Santa (voice)
Ashley Jensen … Bryony (voice)
Marc Wootton … Peter (voice)
Laura LinneyNorth Pole Computer (voice)
Eva LongoriaChief De Silva (voice)
See all »
Director Sarah Smith
Producer Aardman Animations
Sony Pictures Animation
See all »
Distributor: Columbia Pictures. Trademark logo.
Columbia Pictures
, a division of Sony Pictures

“2 billion presents delivered in 1 night. It takes a family.”

Let’s give a big “Ho, ho, ho!” to director Sarah Smith, who succeeded in capturing the Christmas festivity and putting it onto the big screen! Diving right into action, “Arthur Christmas” tackles the question that is asked every year “How does Santa Claus deliver presents to 2 billion children all over the world in one night?”

In the North Pole, there is a mass operation underground composed of mostly elves. Every Christmas Eve, the elves are hard at work delivering presents without being seen, using high-tech gadgets and gizmos to stay undercover. The current Santa (Jim Broadbent) helps out a little, but it is his older son Steve (Hugh Laurie) who overlooks the entire operation. Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) doesn’t do much of anything. It is the unlikely hero Arthur (James McAvoy), the youngest, bumbly, good-natured son, who actually embodies the spirit of Christmas. He works in the department which answers children’s letters addressed to Santa and finds a way to help in spite of his clumsiness.

When an elf named Bryony (Ashley Jenson) discovers an undelivered present, she finds herself on an unexpected mission against time, along with Arthur and Grandsanta. He nearly gives up midway through the journey, but then realizes that it doesn’t matter how the present is delivered, just as long as it gets there. Their adventures lead the grandfather, father, and the older son to learn to love, embrace, and appreciate the Christmas spirit.

Objectionable Content

Language: This is a clean movie. The phrase “what the…” is left unfinished. Steve says, “Idiot Arthur,” but other than that, there are no concerns, that I noticed. I was expecting potty humor, but surprisingly, either most of them passed over my head or there simply weren’t any.

Violence: A few wild animals are encountered, although I think younger viewers won’t find this scary at all. A gun is fired, and missiles target Grandsanta’s sleigh, which explodes into flames.

Sexual Content: None at all.

Grandsanta and Santa are not very good examples of faithful fathers or even Santa Clauses, for that matter. At times, Arthur finds that he can’t depend on his father or grandfather for support, although they manage to redeem themselves at the end. Unlike these fantasy characters, we can all depend on Jesus Christ our father and our foundation. 1 Corinthians 3:11 says,

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Of course, the true meaning of Christmas can be discussed with your family—that Christmas trees, Santa Claus, and jingle bells are only incidental things. The meaning of Christmas is giving, for God has given us his very best present, the birth of Jesus Christ—our hope of eternal salvation.

POSITIVE: Arthur has a never give up attitude. He overcomes his fears, determined that no child—not even a single one—will be forgotten on Christmas Eve. He is bent on making sure every child feels loved and accepted, and it is through this knowledge that he became the hero he is meant to be. In this way, I was reminded that God is our shepherd, and He will search and search for just one little lost lamb. Luke 15:4 states,

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

The 3D in this movie is fantastic and the animation beautiful. Seeing the elves go into action is exhilarating, and I felt like I was flying in the sky along with Arthur in his magical sleigh. I could make out every single detail of Grandsanta’s beard, and the snow was so tangible and real. I loved the spark of Christmas spirit that was brought to life by the wonderful voiceovers.

The moviemakers were creative, challenging the subject of Santa sliding down chimneys with a whole new and fresh perspective. I like the idea that the elves are the ones who silently sneak into our houses, fill up our stockings, and make sure everything is perfect in time for Christmas. With the marvelous soundtrack, it was sincerely epic.

I recommend this fun film for any family. It’s not just your average Christmas movie; it has its own funny and sentimental, but not gushy, moments, as well. Most adults will also enjoy it. As for the Justin Bieber fans out there, you’ll get to hear one of his latest Christmas songs, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” bringing down the curtains in the end.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: None

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Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—Great movie! A totally new twist on Santa Claus that I found just hilarious. I loved the family dynamics, and the way everyone came together at the end to give this one little girl a merry Christmas. Everything; the animation, the voice casting, was excellently done. A very fun, colorful, fast-paced holiday adventure, one the whole family can see!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
Kadie Jo, age 19 (USA)
Positive—Most of the Christmas movies coming out these days seem to be lackluster efforts that make money only because they are supposedly family-friendly. “Arthur Christmas,” I’m happy to say, is not one of those films! The movie is very clever, funny at times, and poignant as well. I saw this film in the company of 180 middle school children, who seemed to very much enjoy it, as did we chaperones. I love movies that have a redemption thread woven into the plot, and there is very definitely such a thread in “Arthur Christmas” as Arthur and his family work to overcome family disappointments and divisions.

Creative, funny, heartwarming, great voice cast, visually dazzling, and (very importantly) clean—“Arthur Christmas” is a winner. We’ll be looking for it on DVD.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Chris, age 48 (USA)
Positive—Everything was great… up and until the famous Times Square sailor/nurse kiss was reenacted by what appeared to be two male elves. However… all the elves look the same… Bryony the elf who helps Arthur is a female and looks just like the Peter the male elf who helps Steve. So… there ya go. The kiss could just as well been between a male and female… which is my preference… so that’s what I’m going with. …
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Cynthia, age 50 (USA)
Neutral—This movie was not what I expected. From previews I thought the main character was sort of like a journalist doing an exposé on the North Pole. The movie was just ok. Nothing offensive I can remember, really. Just rather uninteresting.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Andrea, age 38 (USA)
Negative—In the excitement of believing they had delivered all of the gifts in one night, one male elf kissed another male elf on the lips.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality:
Jane, age 54 (USA)
Negative—Our 10-year old and I saw this movie yesterday, and I was quite disappointed. I was taken in by the opening scenes of “ninja elves,” but immediately put-off by the male-male kiss upon arrival at the North Pole. Over and over, James 3:16 came to mind: For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. That was the tenor of the whole movie. How sad.

I was most discouraged by Grandsanta’s apparent suicide. It wasn’t necessary, could have been left out or avoided, but was promoted Hollywood-style. Since when is that okay (especially for children’s movies—last seen in “Puss in Boots”)? I would not rent or recommend this movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Sydney, age 42 (USA)
Positive—In response to the comment regarding grandsanta’s “suicide”: one—it turns out he doesn’t die, two—there is a distinct difference between suicide vs. self-sacrifice, which I feel is closer to what I thought was going to happen. As a combat vet, I’ve seen numerous instances of men taking an action which could very well result in their death, and, indeed, a few times did. These men were by no means suicidal, but accepted that their life was not more important than the mission. While I don’t mean to equate grandsanta or a Christmas present to a military mission, I have seen this same complaint in other movie reviews, and feel the issue bears commenting on.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Jon, age 38 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—“Arthur Christmas” is exciting, exhilarating, and extremely funny for kids. Have you ever wondered how Santa flies around the world in such a short time? Well, in this movie, Santa doesn’t use a sleigh to fly around the universe with reindeer as you think; instead they have highly advanced technology to travel all around the world in one night. Arthur is the mail agent, who receives mail from kids and replies each letter back to them. He is the hero in this story, who tries all his might to deliver a missed present before sun rise.

With the help off Bryony, a lowly elf from the Gift-wrap Battalion, Steve (Arthur’s big brother), and Santa, they work together to deliver the present. The best scene that I like is how thousands of elves shimmy down ropes from their ship and deliver the presents to billions of children in the nick of time. The animation is great, and I suggest you watch it in 3D. It shows fantastic images and the visual arts are mind-blowing. 3D movies have special effects that bring realism to the animation and scenery.

When Arthur, Santa’s dad, and Bryony fly on the sleigh in 3D, I feel like I am in a Disneyland rollercoaster swooping upwards and downwards. There are some parts that scared me such as the gun shots, missiles fired at the sleigh and a few scary animals that attacked the sleigh. Also, 3 bad words are said in the movie including “idiot”, “what-the”, and “hell”. This is a fabulous movie for family and friends to watch together on Christmas. I think children over 5 years old can watch this marvelous Christmas movie. I rate this movie 5 stars.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
Jeremy, age 8 (USA)
Positive—I LOVED “Arthur Christmas”! It was a fun-filled and a delightful film! …highly entertaining, and nothing objectionable!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Andre, age 15 (Canada)

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