Arthur Christmas

November 23rd, 2011


Arthur Christmas

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On Christmas night at the North Pole, Santa's youngest son looks to use his father's high-tech operation for an urgent mission.

Release Year: 2011

Rating: 7.2/10 (5,520 voted)

Critic's Score: 69/100

Director: Sarah Smith

Stars: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy

Arthur Christmas reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child's question: 'So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?' The answer: Santa's exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole. But at the center of the film is a story about a family in a state of comic dysfunction and an unlikely hero, Arthur, with an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning dawns.

Writers: Peter Baynham, Sarah Smith

James McAvoy - Arthur (voice)
Hugh Laurie - Steve (voice)
Bill Nighy - Grandsanta (voice)
Jim Broadbent - Santa (voice)
Imelda Staunton - Mrs. Santa (voice)
Ashley Jensen - Bryony (voice)
Marc Wootton - Peter (voice)
Laura Linney - North Pole Computer (voice)
Eva Longoria - Chief De Silva (voice)
Ramona Marquez - Gwen (voice)
Michael Palin - Ernie Clicker (voice)
Sanjeev Bhaskar - Lead Elf (voice)
Robbie Coltrane - Lead Elf (voice)
Joan Cusack - Lead Elf (voice)
Rhys Darby - Lead Elf (voice)


Official Website: Official Facebook | Official site |

Release Date: 23 November 2011

Opening Weekend: £2,112,516 (UK) (13 November 2011) (460 Screens)

Gross: $46,440,491 (USA) (8 January 2012)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The second consecutive film written by Peter Baynham to have the name Arthur in its title, the first being Arthur starring Russell Brand.

Errors in geography: The plot of "Arthur Christmas" includes a Spanish-speaking town named Trelew in Mexico. This is apparently a misplacement of Trelew, Argentina; I cannot find any reference on the 'net or Google Earth to any Trelew in Mexico.

User Review

Delightfully charming

Rating: 9/10

Arthur Claus (James McAvoy) is the bumbling son of the reigning Santa, Malcolm Claus (Jim Broadbent). Arthur is relegated to the Letter Department where he can presumably do no damage. Arthur's brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) is the heir apparent to the title of Santa. Steve is handsome, confident, and in charge of the North Pole command center that monitors Santa's gift-giving flight around the world. The film opens with a bravura set piece showing how Santa is able to stop in millions of homes in one night. Hint: he has the help of thousands of elves.

When Arthur discovers that one gift was accidentally undelivered, he becomes determined to get it to the unfortunate girl before Christmas sunrise. Even with the help of his retired grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and a perky elf (Ashley Jensen) from the Wrapping Department, can Arthur travel around the world in time?

There have been many movies over the years where Christmas must be saved from disaster, but Arthur Christmas has a very creative take on it. From the opening scene where it's established that Santa is really a dynasty through the centuries, a title handed down from father to son, to the paramilitary operation to get millions of presents delivered in one night, to the misadventures of Arthur and his grandsanta as they try to make sure one little girl is not disappointed, Arthur Christmas is fun, creative, and original. Produced by Aardman Animations in association with Sony Pictures Animation, this CGI animated film delivers Aardman's distinct brand of quirky humor and style.

The art direction maintains the slightly skewed look of an Aardman claymation film. The character designs are asymmetric and the surface textures are realistic yet bold. The North Pole command center and Santa's high-tech sleigh are clean and modern.

Sometimes celebrity voice talent backfires, but here it works beautifully, the English accents lending a sense of gravity that heightens the silliness. Bill Nighy is particularly good, conveying wisdom that is tinged with resentment of the modern gift-delivery methods his son and grandson use.

Arthur Christmas is a funny, heartwarming, and poignant look at the Santa Claus mythos, adding a family dynamic that will resonate with children and adults. I expect Arthur Christmas will become a joyful holiday favorite for years to come.


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