| If you are looking for a family movie over the Thanksgiving weekend that makes you feel good and lifts your spirits, this animated comedy from Aardman Studios in Bristol, England is the perfect choice.
Aardman's sterling cinematic track record includes the award-winning adventures of Wallace & Gromit, "Chicken Run" and "Flushed Away." Director and co-writer Sarah
Smith in her first feature film breaks new ground in 3D computer animation with innovative off-the-wall humor and clever sight gags.
This joyful and charming movie addresses the question every child has asked since the 19th century. "How does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?"
The movie opens on Christmas Eve with the hi-tech Operation Santa Claus underway.
Malcolm (voice of Jim Broadbent) has the best job in the world as the current Santa Claus. He is approaching retirement and this is his 70th annual mission travelling seven million miles to deliver two billion presents around the world.
Malcolm's oldest son, Steve (voice of Hugh Laurie), is next in line as his likely successor. Steve prides himself on operating North Pole mission control at 100% efficiency. Malcolm's youngest son, Arthur (voice of James McAvoy), heads up the letters department receiving requests for presents from children all over the world.
Before dawn on Christmas morning, Arthur discovers a glitch in the foolproof system. One present has been left behind which means one child has been missed. Arthur believes that a child without a present ruins the magic associated with the spirit of Christmas.
Arthur decides to personally deliver this gift-wrapped pink bicycle to a little girl in Cornwall, England.
Arthur turns to his stone deaf grandfather, Grandsanta (voice of Bill Nighy), for help. Grandsanta, who previously served as Santa, gets out his old red sleigh built in 1845 and hitches up eight reindeers.
With only a supply of magic dust, Arthur and Grandsanta take off from the North Pole hoping to make it by sunrise to the little girl's house. There are complications along the way in their unpredictable journey aboard this flying deathtrap.
A female elf from the gift wrap department named Bryony (voice of Ashley Jensen) stows away aboard this ancient relic. She proves to be a helpful assistant aiding the clumsy Arthur in overcoming his fears.
This unconventional approach to the Christmas movie genre perpetuates the legendary myth of the greatest man ever in a child's mind and champions the motto "In Santa We Believe."
This is a definite Oscar contender for Best Animated Film. It has a great story, spectacular visuals and a fantastic musical score by composer Harry Gregson-Williams (all four "Shrek." movies and the first two "Chronicles of Narnia" films). It bears a striking resemblance to the timeless Christmas classic "The Polar Express."
My enthusiastic response comes despite the volume on the sound system being turned down so low at the advance screening that I strained to hear the British-accented dialogue.
A music video featuring Justin Bieber performing "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" precedes the movie.
This delightful Yuletide- themed movie has a brisk running time of 97 minutes. It is available in standard 2D format, but the preferred way to view it is in either 3D or RealD 3D.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"