Arthur Christmas (聖誕快遞3D)
By David Germain, Associated Press
December 2, 2011, 12:31 pm TWN
A ruthless corporate-style monolith corners the market on Christmas holiday retail, cruelly displacing its outmoded work force and crassly insisting that any individual who falls through the cracks is part of the cost of business.
But protesters have no need to start an Occupy North Pole movement over "Arthur Christmas," a festive animated comedy that shows how Santa Claus manages to deliver all those presents in a modern global market.
This pleasant holiday treat from Aardman, the British animation outfit behind the acclaimed "Chicken Run" (落跑雞) and "Wallace and Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (酷狗寶貝之魔兔詛咒), has the old-fashioned spirit of Christmas at heart, spinning a snowflake-light tale with warmth, energy and goofy humor.
The title character is a classic holiday misfit, a cousin to Rudolph or Hermey the Elf, trying to find a niche in the vast enterprise that is Christmas. The upbeat, lanky younger son of Santa Claus, Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) desperately wants to contribute to the family business but is a clumsy bumbler assigned to a job where he can do the least harm: answering children's letters to the man in red.
The glory goes to his dad (Jim Broadbent), the latest in a long line of Santas, who has become a dotty figurehead as older, bolder son Steve (Hugh Laurie) revamps the sleigh-and-reindeer method with a mechanized operation that includes a massive sleighship with stealth technology. Elves descend down ropes like ninjas to leave 2 billion gifts all over the world in a single night, while Santa heir-apparent Steve oversees things from North Pole mission control.
Yet after a single present goes awry, leaving one little girl in Britain just hours away from awaking to a joyless Christmas, Steve shrugs it off as an acceptable rate of error, while drowsy Santa heads off to sleep alongside Mrs. Claus (Imelda Staunton).
Arthur, the one member of the family who truly understands the meaning of the season, cannot stand the thought of a child missing out. He and loopy Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), the former Mr. Claus who still pines for his golden days, set off in the original old reindeer-pulled sleigh to deliver the wayward present before dawn, accompanied by eager gift-wrapping elf Bryony (Ashley Jensen, copping a hilariously rippling Scottish accent).