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REVIEW: Arthur Christmas

REVIEW: Arthur Christmas

REVIEW: Arthur Christmas, Flicks.co.nz

4 stars


British animated Christmas comedy from Aardman Animation (Wallace and Gromit, Flushed Away), featuring an all-star British cast including James McAvoy and Jim Broadbent, following the Claus family and their ultra-high-tech present delivery operation. Now playing nationwide, click for movie times and trailer.
*Also playing in 3D

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Let’s face it, last year’s excellent Finnish action-comedy Rare Exports apart, Christmas movies have been something to dread for sometime now. From the garish ‘family’ comedies Jingle All the Way and Deck the Halls to the dead-eyed horrors of The Polar Express and the laughter-free zones that were Four Holidays and Fred Claus, Hollywood’s holiday offerings have been less than joyful or triumphant. Thank little baby Jesus then for Aardman, whose latest computer-animated offering (think Flushed Away rather than Wallace and Gromit) refreshes the old son of Santa storyline with both wit and aplomb.

As we’ve come to expect from the brilliant Bristol-based animation experts, the visuals are crisp and clean with an attention to detail that’s both breathtaking and rewarding for those who like to scan the full frame (and these are guys who have never met a visual pun they didn’t like).

Likewise, the script is jam-packed full of zingers and action – the opening Operation Santa montage a particular highlight – while eagle-eared audience-members will catch the cues which homage much-loved blockbusters like Harry Potter and Superman amongst Harry Gregson-Williams’s excellent score.

Amongst a universally impressive vocal cast, Bill Nighy threatens to steal the show as the cantankerous and crafty Grandsanta in a thoroughly entertaining movie that deserves to sleigh audiences both young and old this Yuletide.

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