25 Days of Christmas - The Nice List: Arthur Christmas
Wanna know how Santa does it all in one night? Well according to this new twist on the legend, he has a flying spacecraft run with military precision and a gaggle of ninja elves to do all the dirty work of actually making and delivering the presents. Not as magical as we all hoped, eh?
In Arthur Christmas, the role of Santa Claus is handed down through the generations, like an heir to the throne. The current Santa (Jim Broadbent) is on his 70th "mission," with eldest son, Steve (Hugh Laurie), hot on his heels to take the title. Unfortunately, Steve is more interested in the prestige of being the Big Guy in Red, instead of actually fulfilling the wishes of the kids around the world, which becomes painfully evident when Steve's high tech system fails by forgetting one little girl's bicycle. Steve is dead set against taking S-1 back out for one measly bicycle, but his younger awkward brother, Arthur (James McAvoy), firmly believes no child should be forgotten, and takes off with Grandsanta (Billy Nighy) in his old fashioned, reindeer-pulled sleigh to deliver the bike before the sun comes up on Christmas morning.
Arthur Christmas has a clever idea behind it, bringing Santa into the modern day, but losing the spirit of the holiday in the process. This clever idea though couldn't sustain much humor. So it's neither witty enough for adults nor silly enough for kids. And as Arthur, Grandsanta and a stowaway elf named Bryony travel the world to deliver the forgotten gift, they get into scene after scene of mischief, which ends up dragging the film out into a long 100 minute runtime, putting a blemish on the entertaining initial set up.
So in the end, Arthur Christmas started as a new take on an old tale, but failed to become a modern holiday classic.