Arthur Christmas adds a whole new spin to the classic tale of Santa’s busy Christmas Eve as the deliverer of presents and joy to every child in the world. In this version, Santa Claus is simply a figurehead, and the true genius behind the success of Christmas Eve is Santa's eldest son, Steve, and the millions of elves found in Santa’s highly technological workshop.
So how does Santa’s youngest son, Arthur Christmas, fit into this scenario? Therein lies the ingenious, touching, and captivating plot of this wonderful Christmas film.
It’s Christmas Eve and Santa Claus (Jim Broadbent) has just traveled around the entire world in his high-tech spaceship, which has replaced the antique sleigh formerly pulled by eight reindeer. At the helm of this impressive new vehicle, however, is not our beloved Santa Claus, but Santa’s son Steve (Hugh Laurie). It becomes clear early in the movie that Steve has pushed his father to the back burner and replaced him in virtually every aspect of the entire Christmas operation. Santa's role has been diminished to a few quick cameos in the homes of several children just to show he was there.
Meanwhile, Santa’s younger son Arthur (James McAvoy) plays an extremely vital role in Santa’s workshop. He reads every single letter sent to the North Pole from the anxious children across the world, and sees to it that each child receives the very present requested from good old Saint Nick. This role seems to serve Arthur just fine, as his whimsical spirit and loving, optimistic nature allows him to see the beauty and Christmas spirit of every letter sent to Santa. At the same time, it is a safe job for someone such as Arthur, who is both clumsy and fearful of virtually everything.
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