by James Toal
It’s easy to be cynical, jaded, and even dreading the inevitable merriment as the 25th of December edges closer and closer. You start going through the motions, putting items in your checkout, coordinating with others to make sure you don’t buy the same thing (Sorry again, Taylor), and making sure you’re completely prepared just so you can go back to your old routine. It’s important to remember why you do all of this, think back to a gift you’ve given someone and genuinely made them happy. That smile they give you is the same feeling I received when watching Arthur Christmas once again this year.
The film focuses on the title character, Arthur, as he travels with his great-grand-Santa and an elf named Bryony to bring a child her present before she wakes up and feels left out on Christmas morning. While the film was made through Sony Pictures Animation, the company behind masterpieces such as The Emoji Movie and the never-ending bombardment of Minions, it also comes from the acclaimed animation company, Aardman Animations. The studio behind the classic Wallace and Gromit series are experts in keeping you attached to their characters, the emotional and relatable connection they create can leave us feeling delighted or even teary-eyed. Arthur Christmas is no exception to their ongoing standard of quality.
There’s no villain in the film (Unless you consider a clock counting down as the enemy), instead we have the family interacting and bouncing off each other with their often conflicting personalities. Grandsanta, Santa, and Arthurs’ brother Steve all have their own way to make Christmas work. Grandsanta prefers the good old-fashioned way, Steve uses technology to bring the present delivery service into the modern age, and Santa himself much prefers getting the credit for the work even though it’s clearly time for him to step out of the spotlight. Whereas Arthur stands out from his family as he seems to be the only one completely dedicated to the holiday, he even finds jokes out of a Christmas cracker funny?! How?! That’s not even humanly possible?!
Arthur is the heart of the film. When he’s being shot down by his brother or not taken seriously by his father, you feel for him and want him to succeed in his mission. Even when he’s brought to his lowest moment, you relate to his struggle. We’ve all been in that situation where we start to let the negativity in, the cynicism gets to you and can affect how you see the world. However, when Arthur finds a solution to his problem and ultimately succeeds, it’s gratifying and a testament to persevering with your goals.
Arthur Christmas reminds us why it’s important to keep the values you have close. It’s easy to forget along the line why you’re doing what you’re doing, but if you’re making a difference for someone that makes them feel positive, then it’s worth all the effort in the world. Arthur Christmas is a modern X-mas classic that you can bet I’ll be rewatching for years to come.