Monday, November 28, 2011

Arthur Christmas

The movie "Arthur Christmas" explains almost everything you didn't know about what really goes on just before the dawn of Christmas Day. How does Santa deliver all those presents? (He doesn't, it's elves, maybe as many as a billion of them.) Why can't I find Santa's Workshop when I look at the North Pole on Google Earth? (It's under the ice.) How can Santa fly all the way around the world in only one night? (Well, actually there's a high-tech way and a low-tech way).

In the big scheme of Christmas though, this is all routine stuff to the Clauses who've been running Christmas Day since somewhere around the middle of the last millennium, according to all the Santa pictures on the wall. Santa, you see, is quite like a king or CEO of a family business, handing off the mantle of "Santa" to the next generation when they retire. Malcolm Claus is the current Santa (splendidly voiced by one of my favourite actors, Jim Broadbent). He is mostly a benign figurehead and not overly competent in his job, but this is OK since the current operation is actually managed by his son Steve (Hugh Laurie). Under Steve's watch, Christmas operations have taken a huge leap into the future, from the updated, uh, sleigh, to the GPS-enabled communication tablets which are sure to be on my son's Christmas list this year. Steve, who is as barrel-chested as his father is fat and jolly and who has a Christmas Tree shaped goatee that closely matches the sergeant's stripes on his uniform, oversees the entire Christmas Night operation with a precision that Operation Overlord could only have dreamed of. Yes, the North Pole is a paramilitary operation, the Clauses even have medals on their tunics. This begs a question of nationality. Many hints point to British.

Arthur is Steve's little brother.

Arthur's job is to answer the mail with assurances to all the little boys and girls that Santa is real and to believe in his MAGIC (he has a special, felt-tip purple pen to write the word "MAGIC" in sparkles). Arthur seems to have inherited his father's incompetence and to that he has added clumsy. His appearance in Mission Control mid-operation results in some chaos and calamity.

(At some point it occurred to me that if you take the "CHRIST" out of Christmas - and this movie does - you're left with MAS from which you get Malcolm, Arthur and Steve. Coincidence? Maybe not.)

It becomes evident that having run it like a business for so long, Christmas at the North Pole has become too much like ... a business. Even Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), who sneaks out of retirement to help Arthur, has ulterior motives. The subsequent plot makes connections to two different Georges: W. Bush and the VIth of England.

It may seem as if I've taken you through the whole movie, but really, we're only several minutes in. This is about when I asked myself, "How are they going to fill up the rest of the movie?" The solution, once Grandsanta and Arthur were on their way, seemed pretty straightforward. But nothing proves as simple as it should be. Grandsanta is old, Arthur is completely out of his element, Bryony the Elf is only a wrapping elf, the reindeer are several generations removed from the originals and are on their very first flight, and Eve is the old sleigh back from when technology was all knobs and levers and big canisters of magic.

I hadn't many complaints, watching this movie. One minor quibble was the voice of Arthur (James McAvoy) which more than occasionally got very high and screechy. The worst infraction came before the movie started when someone decided it would be a good idea to run the Justin Beiber video. First of all, you know, JUSTIN BEIBER. Second of all, why show clips from a movie that you're just about to see? I put this solidly in the category of DUMB IDEA. Yesterday the Muppets movie was preceded by a Pixar short, a much better decision. For the Beiber abomination, I spent the time looking away from the screen and at my son. Much better.

There was that moment early in the movie when I found myself asking "What now?" but the film answered with many delights which, frankly, have been difficult to keep to myself.

Three Straws.

Ian's P.O.V. of Arthur Christmas
The plot of Arthur Christmas is just about a kid named Gwen (voiced by Ramona Marquez) who gets missed by Santa. A very small plot for a one and a half hour movie. It's one and a half hours because it's being very detailed just from going to point A to point B, and also there is too many mistakes and too many pointless parts in the movie. For example, Arthur all the time forgets to close the door and everyone says that it will get too cold but think about it, IT'S THE NORTH POLE, it's going to be cold and if you can't brave the cold, buy walls, floor and a heater so the ice floor and walls won't melt!!!!

There's a lot more examples I can give but that would give the story away.

The good thing about the movie is that everything that does not have to do with the plot is good and also there's a mild joke here and there to make it better but that's all.

I know it's not a lot but there's not much more I can say. I don't like it.

Two Straws.

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