While Frozen left me very disappointed, 2011's exquisite Arthur Christmas left me speechless. Few films have managed to do that. I walked out of the cinema so astounded that I couldn't even describe how good it was at the time. This film is absolutely miraculous and the fact that it didn't become the global phenomenon that Frozen became is almost depressing.
Arthur Christmas is a Christmas movie like no other. Whereas most Christmas movies rely on the same tired formula and end up being either mediocre or terrible, the story of Arthur Christmas is so deliciously inventive that no episode summary on the Internet can do it justice. Unless you read multiple summaries, you'll have no idea where it's going to go. It's a movie which constantly changes; a hugely innovative, globe-trotting adventure with so many twists, turns and thrills that it's overwhelming. The amount of hilarious jokes and fresh ideas thrown in is spectacular and virtually all of them work, sequenced perfectly in order to make it a non-stop joy with a conclusion far too beautiful to spoil.
The characters of the movie are especially fantastic. Arthur is a quirky, jolly dork whose clumsiness is both sweet and funny. Santa Claus is a slightly tragic character; he is the symbol of Christmas but is too old to live up to it and despite this, is afraid of retirement. Grandsanta is absolutely hysterical; he's a sarcastic, snarky old man who constantly cracks jokes and is shown to be rather kind deep-down. Arthur's older brother Steve has an interesting personality; a Christmas professional who is forced to live in the shadow of his over-praised father, and has become disgruntled and egotistical because of it. And who can forget Bryony, the hyperactive yet fiercely loyal gift-wrapping elf who is both adorable and charmingly intelligent. Even Mrs. Claus, a lesser character, is likable, being the affectionate wife whom sympathizes with her husband's problem but also hopes for him to finally retire.
Lastly, the animation is godlike and some of the best I have ever seen; it's a feast for the eyes. This is a movie which establishes the eye candy but doesn't rely on it to carry the movie, because every other aspect of the film is so equally strong that it doesn't distract. Arthur Christmas is a perfect synchronicity of animation, story, characters, humour and heart. Ten out of ten.