November 7, 2011

A Big, Holiday Mystery Gets Solved in "Arthur Christmas"

Imagine a city under a starlit sky. It’s Christmas Eve, and the children are nestled in their beds, dreaming of Santa on his sleigh pulled by eight beautiful reindeer. Suddenly, a shadow comes over the city. A million pinpricks of light.

A million figures descend. The invasion has begun and there’s not a jingle bell to be heard…

…but don’t panic. This is how Santa gets the job done every Christmas: with a huge, mile-wide, state-of-the-art sleigh with stealth cloaking technology, and a million elves, working in precision teams of three, who have 18.14 seconds to get into each house, deliver the presents, and move on to the next one.

Santa Claus is coming to town, but this time, he’s not coming down the chimney. “They have all the technology in the world and no expense is spared,” says Sarah Smith, who directs and co-wrote “Arthur Christmas,” the new 3D, CG-animated film from Aardman Animation for Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures. “This movie reveals what their equipment looks like and how they do it.”

“Arthur Christmas” is Sony's first film collaboration with Aardman, the landmark animation company best-known for their award-winning and crowd-pleasing stop-motion films “Chicken Run” and “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.” The winners of over 400 international awards, including four Oscars®, Aardman delivers their second CG-animated project with “Arthur Christmas,” and takes on an ambitious subject: the delivery of two billion presents in one night.

At the top of the organization is the man himself, Santa – but these days, he’s more of a figurehead facing the prospect of retirement. “Arthur Christmas” has a second incredible secret to reveal: the Clauses are a dynasty, a long line of Santas stretching back over 1,000 years! Running the day-to-day is Santa’s firstborn son, Steve – an alpha male, the next in line to wear the red suit. Santa’s own dad, Grandsanta, used to wear that suit – and he’ll grumble to anyone that he wore it best – but he’s long since been put out to pasture, along with his lovely old sleigh, “Eve.” Mrs. Santa, the North Pole’s highly capable First Lady, keeps the home fires burning – in between opening elf hospitals, negotiating treaties with Greenland, completing online degrees, and stirring the Christmas Day gravy.

And then there’s Arthur, Santa’s youngest son.

“Arthur believes in Christmas, and not just because he’s been born into the family business,” says James McAvoy, who voices Arthur. “He believes it in his soul – there’s nobody else in the world who cares about Christmas more than Arthur.”

However, love of the holiday only counts for so much. Not the most practical Claus in history, Arthur’s struggled in just about every job his father’s placed him in – even ordinary tasks, from wrapping to maintenance. Yet, as the story begins, he’s finally in a position he loves: in the Letters to Santa Department, where he revels in the hope of countless children – not just asking for presents, but sending gifts and drawings and asking questions about how it’s all done.

Arthur is the unlikeliest hero—that is, until he discovers a single child’s present wasn’t delivered and he takes the reins to deliver the one last present the old-fashioned way.

Opening across the Philippines on Dec. 8 in 3D, 2D and regular theaters, “Arthur Christmas” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.

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