Saturday, 3 December 2011

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Arthur Christmas [Review]


Opinion: B

The Justin Bieber Christmas music video before the actual film's screening aside that would more than justify the ticket price for "Bielibers", Arthur Christmas did well to instill that festive warmness within our hearts and never ceased to put a smile up our faces. While it was a tad bit too briskly edited for some of the implied jokes to be fully digested and understood, Arthur Christmas offered all the children around the globe a precious notion of hope that Santa exists to bring joy to one and all.


The 3D, CG-animated family comedy Arthur Christmas, an Aardman production for Sony Pictures Animation, at last 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 heart of the film is a story with the ingredients of a Christmas classic - 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.

"There's only one place to see Justin Bieber's "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" music video. Be the first to experience it in front of Arthur Christmas."


For a start, Christmas' about a couple of weeks away and I didn't expect a lot of Christmas deliverables from this film. But the feeling within post screening was as if Christmas is nigh. A great time well spent dwelling upon the fabled tales of Santa Claus and his act of couriering gifts to nice kids.

While it's a classic tale that our parents had been sharing about Saint Nicholas' deeds on a sleigh just before Christmas, Arthur Christmas took up a contemporary technological twist on "Operation Santa Claus" by one of Santa's son Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie). Steve assists his father by infusing technology to enhance efficiency like a military sergeant major drilling companies of elves.

A prominent message that first animated feature Director Sarah Smith hoped to share: Commercialisation and urbanisation of the Christmas spirit would never be the same as the classic. Despite so, we love the giggles brought about by all the hilarious scenarios where elves sported G.I. haircuts and Santa Claus riding on a S-1 spacecraft instead of a reindeer driven sleigh. There were also first person sequences during a ride on Santa's sleigh that were enjoyable and also likely to be devised for 3D elements.

The only one who didn't seem to be affected by change - Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy)

Another son of Santa Claus, Arthur was the only one out of all who remembered and believed in the true spirit of Christmas - Caring and sharing.

It's not about how the job of sending presents overnight was done, it's not about who contributed towards "Operation Santa Claus", it's about the only festive moment on the calendar where children would yearn to be the nicest kid to believe in kindness and goodness.

Thus, Arthur Christmas would be an excellent festive animated film for parents to bring their children to.

That much said, the animated feature wasn't without its flaws. While it's sharp sequence of plot flow allowed larger-than-life comical storytelling, there was simply too much content cramped within too little keyframes especially in the opening scene where the elves stormed the entire nation of Denmark.

Also slightly noted that the sound wasn't mastered well, but of course it could be the theatre's sound system settings but I'm just expressing an observation. Not sure if any of you had similar experience.

As an animated feature, perhaps there's more that could be added with the high levels already in place by Disney Pixar. But as a Christmas animated feature, it shined as bright as the sparkling star atop the twilight Christmas tree.

Of course for the "Bielibers", there's a Christmas music video by Justin Bieber right before the show.


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