The people at Aardman Animations really know how to make very delightful and charming animated movies. From the adventures of "Wallace and Gromit" to the cleverness of "Chicken Run", they have been delighting audiences across the world with their fun stories and flawless stop motion animation. Though in recent years, they've experimented a bit with computer animation. One of their efforts was the film "Arthur Christmas" and it's yet another delight. It only fits that Aardman make a movie that had focused on Christmas, and I think they really delivered here as it has lots of charm and plenty of heart to make it a modern Christmas classic. It was really a fun film to watch.
Every Christmas Eve, it's always the job of Santa Claus to deliver toys to good children around the world in his sleigh pulled by eight reindeer. That's what we would typically think. What we don't know is that there have been many generations of Santa Clauses and the current one in line named Malcolm Claus (Jim Broadbent) and his elves has recently been using more advanced ways of delivering presents. They no longer use one tiny sleigh and eight reindeer, but rather a giant high tech airship that looks like a sleigh and is using military precision and advanced technology to help get the presents delivered. As Malcolm is getting old and preparing his retirement, he is ready to pass down the torch to his older son Steven (Hugh Laurie). But it's not Steven that we're focusing on, but rather Arthur (James McAvoy). He's the younger and clumsy son of Malcolm and is the one who answers the letters for Santa. One year as another Christmas year mission seems to be successfully completed, Arthur notices that they failed to deliver a present to one child who really wanted a bicycle for Christmas. While Steve shrugs it off as he considers this year the most successful Christmas run to date, Arthur and his grandfather Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), and a stowaway gift-wrapping elf named Bryony (Ashley Jensen) decide to use the old sleigh and the eight reindeer to deliver the present in time. From there on out, it's a matter of racing the clock to make sure that every child in the world has a very Merry Christmas.
This film really does have everything that I love about Aardman's movies as well as the makings of a modern Christmas classic. The story, in particular, is very charming. It has a very original concept and a great message about keeping old traditions alive. Though what it really does is pack a lot of heart in it. This is one of the most heartfelt animated Christmas films I've seen in a while and I think it's really what makes it count for being a modern Christmas classic. The animation in the film is also flawless and beautiful. While one of their films "Flushed Away" did still try to retain the stop motion look that "Chicken Run" and "Wallace and Gromit" had, they decided to make it look like a standard computer-animated film, and honestly all the better for it. It really does show that Aardman has the capability to make a computer-animated film that doesn't look like stop motion and it really stands out as being one of the most beautifully animated movies I have seen from 2011. Everything is so beautifully detailed and rendered that it made really want to see more which is something good animated movies should always do. The characters as well are also a lot of fun. I do love how even though Arthur is clumsy at times, he still has a good heart and is very kind and caring about the children around the world. Steven is a character you also understand and I'm glad didn't go down the road of being the villain. He simply just a flawed character and I feel some animated movies should use that route for their antagonists more often. My favorite character, however, is definitely Bryony. Even though I'm not a huge fan of quick-talker characters, she was certainly a lot of fun and the skill she has for wrapping presents did lead to some very funny jokes. If I did have one flaw with the movie, it's probably just I do feel some of the scenes were a little too quick at times. I do love fast stuff, but sometimes the film did move a little too fast for me to follow and it was a little distracting at times, though that's honestly just a nitpick.
"Arthur Christmas really" is a fun and heartfelt Christmas film with a very clever and heartfelt story, beautiful animation, and brilliant characters. I really do think this movie is a worthy modern Christmas classic. I do hope it'll be remembered for years to come as being an animated favorite because I certainly plan to rewatch this movie in the near future.