Arthur Christmas: An underrated holiday masterpiece

Mateusz “Sketch” Gorski ’18, Entertainment/News Editor

 

When we think of Christmas movies, we usually think of films like Elf, Christmas Vacation, and A Christmas Story. However, there’s one Christmas movie out there that should be acknowledged and appreciated by people who love Christmas comedies: Arthur Christmas. This funny animated British comedy has amazingly written characters that compliment a simple, yet timeless, touching story.

The plot follows a lineage of Santas, where “Santa Claus” is a title passed down through generations. The present Santa is old and tired, but doesn’t want to lose his title because he doesn’t know who he’d be without it, even if he doesn’t do much. He leaves most of the work to his eldest son, Steve. Steve himself is next in line to become Santa, but only sees Christmas as a job instead of a passion. He doesn’t even refer to kids by their names, but by serial number. He thinks that the most efficient way to deliver presents is through efficient, sophisticated, and technologically-advanced methods. However, Santa’s dad says the best way is the old fashioned sleigh-and-reindeer method. In the middle of it all is Santa’s younger son, Arthur, our protagonist. He absolutely adores the spirit of Christmas, and doesn’t care what method is used, as long as the presents are delivered and every single child in the world is happy. This is put into play when they all find out that the delivery team missed one child. Steve dismisses it as one child out of billions, but Arthur immediately panics and vows to get the present to the child by any means necessary.

It’s a simple setup, but the way the movie develops its characters and their interactions is brilliant. We have three extremes constantly arguing over how Christmas should be done through the three Santas, which reflects the real world argument of tradition versus innovation, and the overshadowed idea of the true meaning of Christmas that eventually shines through with Arthur. But none of these characters are truly wrong, right, good, or evil, as every character is flawed in their own way. Even our hero has a crisis of belief when everything goes wrong, much like the protagonist of Polar Express—only it’s done a million times better. In the end, we get to see how each character grows and come to realize what Christmas really stands for: love, compassion, family, joy, and happiness.

It’s a shame that this movie was brushed under the rug when it was released, but now more people are discovering this hidden gem. It would be great to see people all over are watching this movie every year on Christmas, giving it the credit that it truly deserves. Hopefully, with time, it will become another great Christmas classic to watch with the family alongside How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Christmas Carol.

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