Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
High Desert Daily
(Victorville) The magic, the letters, the cookies and milk next to the tree: yes, it is almost Santa Claus time for millions across the globe. In Arthur Christmas, we get a modern take of jolly old St. Nick, his family, and his all too overlooked elves. As the main Christmas film out this season, how does this somewhat unknown entry fair against timeless Christmas classics?
Brought to us by Sony Pictures Animation (Smurfs) and Aardman Animations (Chicken Run), Arthur Christmas comes chalk filled with talent. James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) plays the lead role of Arthur, the kind hearted son of Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent). Always upstaged by his brother Steve (Hugh Laurie), Arthur is content with being the son of the “greatest man that ever lived”. But all goes awry when one child is missed and has no present under the tree. It comes down to Arthur, Grand Santa (Bill Nighy) and an energetic elf out to prove something (Ashley Jensen) to make sure this little girl’s Christmas is not ruined.
From the start, we see a modern take on just how Santa Claus could reach all the children in the world in just one night: a massive sleigh spaceship, special ops style elf work, and many more clever nods to traditional Christmas themes. The animation featured is top notch, as the film shines in a world filled with CGI animations that usually end up sub par. The 3D effects in the film are done in a subtle yet entertaining way; it seems animation studios are starting to realize that 3D done subtle and right has more impact than the flash in the pan effects we saw when 3D made its roaring comeback a few years back.
A great family representation is shown with the Claus family as they come across as regular as a family as you and I have. The morals touched on are important ones, especially in this day and age. I cannot recommend Arthur Christmas enough. It really is a modern day holiday classic that families will enjoy for many years to come.