Arthur Christmas (U)

Voices of: James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Kevin Eldon

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The Independent Culture

Aardman films' yuletide offering is both a heartwarmer and a sly dig at the gospel of family togetherness.

It proposes the notion that Santa Claus is actually the CEO of a company whose gigantic Nasa-style mission centre ensures that children everywhere get their presents in time for Christmas. Just the opening set-piece, in which elves deliver gifts in a military manoeuvre of split-second precision, is a witty wonder of invention.

When one child's present goes astray the company goes into near-meltdown, before its youngest member – tender-hearted klutz Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) – rides to the rescue with the help of his grumpy Grandsanta (Bill Nighy) and a giftwrap-obsessed elf named Bryony. The script (by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith) pokes fun at sat navs, technological bewilderment and Santa's reindeer, among other things, and should keep the whole family chuckling from now to New Year.

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