Arthur Christmas (2011)

Santa's clumsy son Arthur gets put on a mission with St Nick's father to give out a present they misplaced, to a young girl in less than 2 hours (from IMDb).

Rating: ★

This is my favourite Christmas movie ever. It used to be Miracle on 34th Street, then it was Holiday Inn before landing on Arthur Christmas. Doesn't seem like much of a trend there, I'll grand you. But all these movies reminded me there was magic in the holidays, and that's always something I've struggled to believe. 

I'm kind of a Scrooge at Christmas. I really want to like the holiday, but it's just always so busy and there's so much pressure to enjoy yourself. I want to be the kind of person who gets excited to decorate the tree, but I wasn't allowed to when I was younger because my mum always wanted the tree a certain way. Christmas isn't filled with happy, or sad, memories for me. Most of the time I just feel indifferent. So my favourite Christmas movies reflect my craving to enjoy the holiday, to find the joy I'm supposed to feel. And that's exactly what Arthur Christmas provides; it's charming, heart-warning and fun to watch. 

Arthur is this wonderful character, who still believes in the wonders of Christmas and for him the holiday is all about bringing happiness to children. For his older brother, Steve, it's about the efficiency of the present-delivering operation. I grew to love both of the characters. Arthur is just this lovely guy who would do anything to make sure every child is happy on Christmas day, and he's awkward and clumsy and adorable. Steve represents the mindset most adults have about Christmas; that it's just about the presents being there. He's also totally dating his elf assistant, Peter. My sister and I noticed they sent quite sweet messages to each other, and though it doesn't mean anything; we've decided it's canon they're together. 

The plot is really rather wonderful and well-executed. Unlike so many films aimed at families nowadays, especially ones released near Christmas, it has a very fleshed-out plot with a variety of characters and a strong message of togetherness and family at its heart that didn't seem forced. 

I really liked the idea that 'Santa Claus' was not a person, but a family legacy, handed down from generation to generation. I liked that Christmas had evolved from a dozen reindeer and a wooden sleigh to this giant operation with a militarized elf corp. It fit with the modern expansion of Christmas, and I enjoyed the Claus family dynamic. 

Mrs Claus is just fantastic; she doesn't say much, but she's bad-ass in her own way, getting on with what needs to be done. She is looking forward to her husband retiring to spend more time with her. Steve is a grumpy man who is waiting for his father to retire, as he has revolutionised Christmas at the North Pole with a fancy new sleigh and new equipment, and wants his turn at running the family business by getting rid of anything old, like his dad. Arthur is just sort of in the background in Steve's operation, as he seems to get in Steve's way by distracting the workers and causing chaos. I loved the brotherly dynamic between Arthur and Steve; it felt genuine and there was a layer of healthy competition there, like with most siblings. If people say they're not some level of competition between them and their siblings, they're either lying and/or they're losing. 

The plot is kicked off nearing the end of the present-delivering, and it's been a very successful mission. It's supposedly Arthur and Steve's father's last Christmas as Santa, before he hands the reins over to Steve. When they return to the North Pole, celebrating their achievement, Mr Claus announces he isn't retiring at all, shocking Steve but Arthur is very pleased. He likes seeing his dad happy. 

It's then brought to Arthur and Steve's attention that a present was not delivered, and that means one child won't be getting a present from Santa. Arthur immediately decides they have to go deliver it, before the little girl realises, but Steve doesn't think it's that important. One child out of millions isn't really that bad a statistic. Even Mr Claus agrees doesn't know what to do, so he defers to Steve's sound, logical argument. 

So off Arthur goes on his journey to deliver the missed present without their help. He recruits his grandfather, a retired Santa himself, and an elf named Bryony (who is cool, cause she has a mohawk and a piercing and representation is good) on his adventure. Steve and their parents have no option but to go after Arthur and rescue him from himself and the danger he attracts, and along the way all of our characters learn a valuable lesson about the true meaning of Christmas. 

Like I said, this movie is just sweet and funny. The plot moves at the right pace, there's enough story to not lag, the characters are great. There's no actual flaws to this film, which is saying something as I can find a flaw in anything, especially in children's films.  It just feels different from other Christmas movies out there. If you haven't seen it, I wholeheartedly recommend that you give it a chance. Personally, I will be watching this on Christmas Day, and be loving life. 

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