Wanting some lighthearted, kiddie film, I rented Arthur Christmas from ITunes late one night. The reviews were extremely positive and it had some pretty well-known actors voicing the characters. Also, I felt like I needed to get into the Christmas spirit a little bit more.
While I wasn’t expecting too much from the movie, I was pleasantly surprised that the movie, while simplistic for obvious reasons, was a well thought-out, painstakingly created world that took no shortcuts, spent time ensuring solid characterization, and highlighted both harsh realities and heartwarming messages.
I enjoyed the concept of the institutionalization/militarization of the Christmas operation both aesthetically and as a critique of how the holidays have become this gluttony of consumption and of how we’ve complicated celebrations to the point that they become battles instead of what they normally are. I also enjoyed the dichotomy between Arthur, the main character, and the little girl he’s trying to get the present to. When Arthur tells Grandsanta why it’s so important not to forget even one little girl, the sense that he is also talking about himself as the clumsier, more disposable son of Santa, at least in his mind, is heartbreaking and enlightening. The movie also tackles the concept of technology versus tradition, and the way they masterfully answer the question without necessarily taking a side is appreciated.
While all of those are special, at the end of the day, Arthur Christmas works just as well as a lighthearted, fun look at Christmas for adults and kids alike. It would be a good one to rent and watch during the holidays.