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Arthur Christmas is Too Cynical - Movie Review

Julie Samrick
Kid Focused

Call me old fashioned, but there are some things that just shouldn't be touched, and Santa is one of them.  In the newly released "Arthur Christmas," a spacecraft replaces Santa's sleigh and instead of reindeer, savvy elves rappel from the sky to deliver gifts to every good boy and girl.  If the elves are an army, the current Santa, #20 in the lineage, is their red beret-wearing leader. 

Christmas is portrayed as a sleek machine until the North Pole's chief business of December 25th goes awry and 1 child is left without a gift. Santa's youngest son, Arthur Christmas, sees it as his mission to repair it.

It's the best part of the movie when bumbling but well-meaning Arthur joins forces with his grandfather, retired Santa #19, and they bring back the sleigh and reindeer for one last assignment.  Arthur represents the lone voice of tradition, fighting against an enclave of cynicism and dashed dreams.
Before long the 21st century creeps back in with an eyebrow pierced elf as Arthur's sidekick and a retired reindeer sitting by helplessly wearing a cone collar.

The story is an interesting idea, but I think a 10-minute picture book with the same idea of how Santa may be evolving through the years would suffice instead of a full length feature movie.  The film has a few scary parts for young kids, too, especially when they land in the Sarangeti National Zoo and the animals that give chase are vicious. 

My main problem with "Arthur Christmas" is any suspicion any child has ever raised about Santa is brought up.  I only took my 5 and 3 year-olds with me this time and I was glad.  I think their 7 and 9 year-old brothers would've had a lot of questions for me afterwards, if you know what I mean.

Some might enjoy the modern twist on just how Santa might operate in the 21st century. But for the younger crowd, those under 10, I'd skip it and let them believe in the pure magic of Santa as we've grown to know him and love him for generations just a little bit longer.

Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of 4 young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues.  Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.  Permission granted for use on 

Tags: Movie Review, Parenting, PG Rated
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