Arthur Christmas (2011)

arthur_christmas_ver4Fuck it, I can’t help but be irritated by this cheesy bullshit they call a movie. Was it absolutely necessary that Arthur be no less than degenerate? Idiot-kid so obnoxious that no amount of bashing his head in could help. I guess it was. Can’t think of any other reason why someone would create some creature like that. The only positive thing that I can think of within this context is that, fortunately, small kids don’t remember much from their earliest media exposure. If they are able to remember, they should be just sane enough to shut the damn screen off when this thing appears. No one should endure such torture.

bscap0001In my flights of fancy I like to think of humanity as of something that actually exists in 21st century, as of something that begun on the ashes of thousands of dead writers, poets, inventors, scientists, movie makers, and lunatics of all kinds. When I think of the humanity in these terms, I find it incredulous that some people, heck – the entire industry of them – can conceive the notion of Christmas in such a boring, unimaginative way. The entire library of Santa/Christmas-porn is out there and one should think that Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith would feel the urge to create something exciting, something that doesn’t play it safe. Guess what? They didn’t. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather let my kid watch Lobo massacring Santa, than this sorry excuse for animation. By watching Lobo he would at least get a glimpse of what it means to be creative, or what it means to play with characters by the sheer power of imagination alone. By watching Arthur Christmas he would’ve learned nothing but how to put some pretty lights on dials and screens in a giant mission control room which flashes around so quickly that you can’t actually see all the fine detailing that went into a final product. I could, hell I should, bitch about the sorry state of the visuals themselves. Note the wooden features of figures, weird and kinda limited facial expressions, horrible lip syncing and constrained movement, note the conventional iconography (CEO Santa has a tie, crazy grandpa looks like any other crazy grandpa, dear old mother looks like something sprung out of Mother Goose, Arthur – sadly – look just mental) and note how you can’t note what exactly is there in the frame. It fucking moves and cuts and jumps around and tries to create an illusion of background or deep frame and somehow manages to make a perfect visual nonsense of it all. This is no Miyazaki, or anything like a creative movie, still – even industry used to have standards.

bscap0000Should I bitch about the “plot” next? I should. When I say “plot” I don’t mean just simple narration (or, god forbid, narrative) – these are executed well enough, conventional like everything else, but that was to be expected – no. What I mean by “plot” – here’s the guy that adores semiotics and phenomenology – is the way that “text” works within itself and the way it communicates with others. I’ll concede that much of what I find *wrong* isn’t something that a random kid (or a random grown up for that matter) would notice – it takes something like a weird mind or something like an experience to notice how the quest for happiness legitimizes the patriarchal/feudal structure which exploits the work of brainwashed, zombie-like creatures dosed and pacified with Ideology. Whatever, it’s not like a random kid writes this (or cares for it come to think of it), so I may as well comment the way I like. There’s this notion that kiddie movies should be spared the realities of life, main wisdom of this being – there will be time enough for that later on. Arthur Christmas embraces this notion and doesn’t even try to take some distance from it. The possibility of failure (of Arthur delivering the present in time) is, well, impossible. Which is all ok being the adventure plot for kids and all, but this notion then somehow ends up with a infantile, ridiculous protagonist (Santa i.e. Arthur) who believes anything is possible because – well, magic’s gonna save us all (few spaceships too). Put it differently – God watches (and cares) for every single one of us, and all our wishes will come true. Blah. Can it get cheesier than this? It would have been far more interesting (I guess even educational at some level) if Arthur actually failed with his mission and then have his family to give him support and explain to him that you can’t go around like blabbering idiot. At least not for long. Anyhow, I believe that kids are far more intelligent and perceptive than this movies gives them credit for. Arthur Christmas is a failure and no amount of fake Christmas spirit can fix that.


Directed by

Sarah Smith

Produced by

Steve Pegram

Written by

Peter Baynham
Sarah Smith

Story by

Sarah Smith (uncredited)


James McAvoy
Hugh Laurie
Bill Nighy
Jim Broadbent
Imelda Staunton
Ashley Jensen
Marc Wootton
Laura Linney
Eva Longoria
Ramona Marquez
Michael Palin

Music by

Harry Gregson-Williams


Jericca Cleland

Editing by

John Carnochan
James Cooper


Aardman Animations
Sony Pictures Animation

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