“Arthur Christmas” delivers holiday cheer

Nathan Fisher

Illustration: Binta Loos-Diallo

December is officially here, so bring on the holiday movies! The animated flick “Arthur Christmas” brings home the Christmas cheer as elf battalions, invisible sleighs and, of course, Santa deliver over a billion presents to kids in just one night. Will “Arthur Christmas” finally answer how Santa and company accomplish this miraculous task?!

“Arthur Christmas” follows the Claus family through the night before Christmas. Santa (Jim Broadbent) has upgraded his sleigh to a high tech, invisible, gadget-galore ride. Santa has passed off most of the delivering duties to millions of elflike marines who rappel from the monstrous sleigh, delivering gifts to the little kids. Steve (Hugh Laurie, sporting his true British accent), Santa’s oldest son, who will take the reins of Santa after his father retires next year, keeps the sleigh moving and has organized the North Pole electronically. Christmas has become a science with only a 0.00000173 percent error. When a child’s gift is missed, Steve chalks it up to an unforeseeable mistake, and who cares about just one kid?

Enter Arthur (James McAvoy), Steve’s younger brother: he cares! Arthur is a good-hearted klutz who accidentally steps on things, can’t ride a bike without training wheels, and is afraid of everything. To keep Arthur out of the way, Santa puts him in charge of responding to the kids’ letters to Santa. Arthur is filled with Christmas spirit, and when the one child gets missed, Arthur rounds up Grandsanta (hilariously voiced by Bill Nighy), a stowaway elf named Bryony, a reindeer and the old sled to journey across the world to deliver the last Christmas present before sunrise.

The animators of “Arthur Christmas” seemed to have a fun time making the film as they played with flying animals in Tanzania, made snowmen in the clouds, took the sleigh into orbit and delighted in the hilarious misadventures of Arthur and company. I thoroughly enjoyed “Arthur Christmas,” as the English actors make witty wise cracks and Grandsanta keeps trying to feed the elf to the lions, throw her in ocean or just simply leave her in Mexico. “Arthur Christmas” makes you want to keep believing in Santa.