“Arthur Christmas” Is the Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time


“Arthur Christmas” is the definition of ‘diamond in the rough’ with so many Christmas movies to choose from. Photo Location: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Piccadilly_Circus,_London_-_Regent_Street_-_Christmas_lights_-_Arthur_Christmas_(6438587769).jpg

Anna Jordan, Staff Writer

I’m sure you either haven’t heard of this movie or haven’t thought about it since 2011. I don’t blame you: the world of Christmas-related entertainment is vast and unnavigable to the untrained eye. However, I have a lighthouse of sorts at the ready— a beacon to show you the best Christmas movie available to date. This movie is, without a doubt, unbeatable. It has wit, it has charm, and most importantly, it has no right being as genuinely hilarious as it is. I will wait no longer to expose you to the magic that is “Arthur Christmas.”

The movie opens with a young girl named Gwen writing to Santa with some existentially ground-breaking questions that a young child might have about the man up north. This is how we meet the second-born son of the current Santa, Arthur. Arthur (voiced by the unbelievably talented James McAvoy, best known for his earth-shattering voice acting in “Gnomeo & Juliet”) is heartwarmingly invested in the joy of Christmas. His job at the North Pole is to respond to the children’s letters, which he does with care and excitement.

James McAvoy’s voice acting is a crucial aspect of the movie’s sense of wonder.
Photo Location: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_McAvoy_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpg

There is a quick shift into a heart-stopping action sequence in which the elves-in-command complete their duties and skillfully execute what they’ve been training for 364 days of the year: Christmas Night. With Santa as a figurehead (comparable to the British government’s Queen), the elves follow his lead and leave unprofessionalism to those that think Christmas is a joke.

The one and only mishap is solved by Santa’s first son, Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie, who is best known for his work in the television show “House”), who is assumed to be the next Santa… Or so everyone thought. Santa announces that he plans on at least one more year as the boss, and Steve is the least jolly person in the room. Arthur is just glad to be there, though he’s known by everyone as a bit of a screw-up and is beginning to feel a little isolated from the rest of the Claus family— well, except for Grandsanta (voiced by Billy Nighy, well-known for “Love Actually” and several installments of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise).

Grandsanta’s sketchy past and enigmatic sense of morality makes him a bit of a black sheep himself, though he still has the Christmas spirit. Charlotte Jordan ’23 loves the mystery behind Grandsanta’s unknown moral alignments as she said, “No doubt, the dude has definitely committed some war crimes. You don’t act that way without having a few skeletons in the closet. Man’s a mystery if I’ve ever seen one, and I’m a little afraid of not only what he’s capable of, but also what he’s already done.”

But don’t look now, Christmas isn’t over yet! In all of the hubbub, Steve manages to exclude one child: Gwen! Arthur is simply horrified and demands that they figure out a plan to deliver the present before Christmas morning; however, Steve is too butthurt to professionally save this one child’s Christmas. Steadfast in his jolly ways, Arthur assembles a ragtag team consisting of Grandsanta, a senile reindeer, an ambitious wrapping elf named Bryony, and Arthur himself, the four are ready to save Christmas from the back of the original Santa sleigh.

Their adventure takes them all over the world and with several different agendas at play, their journey is one for the books. I mean, they almost get hit with missiles!

Honestly, I don’t know where to start. Maybe how Mrs. Claus is often ignored by her own husband when she handles the diplomacy and general security of the North Pole. Or maybe the extremely vague mentions of the cryptic methods that Grandsanta employed to complete his previous Christmases, or the interspersed references to his outdated belief systems. I’m simply so overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of uniqueness carefully wrapped into this magical movie. I’ve genuinely never laughed harder at a Christmas movie (yes, I’ve seen “Elf”).

Despite all of the complexities of the humor within this work of art, the underlying theme is wonderfully uplifting and endearing. Arthur himself understands what it is like to feel different from everyone around him; if there is anything he can do to keep this child from feeling like he has his whole life, he’ll do it in the name of Christmas. No child is just a child to him, and that’s what makes Christmas so special as a lover of all things holly and jolly.

Listing every hidden joke and complexity within the movie would take until the day I graduate, but know it is unlike any Christmas movie I’ve ever seen. It’s pure magic, and you’ll find yourself rooting for Arthur, laughing at Grandsanta trying to relive his glory days, Bryony trying to redeem herself, and wishing the movie would never end.