Blogathons · Movie Reviews

Arthur Christmas (2011) – Christmas in July Blogathon

There might be a long-awaited heatwave in the UK right now, but today we’re talking about Christmas! It’s July, and that means it’s time for another of Drew’s Movie Reviews’ Christmas in July Blogathons! I’ve taken part for a good few years now and it’s something I always look forward to, I just love Christmas so much! Check out his original post here to find out more about the blogathon.

In previous years I’ve made lists, drawn posters and generally tried to think outside of the box. But this year I’m keeping it simple and I’m bringing you a movie review of Arthur Christmas (2011). It’s a movie I’ve never seen before but it’s been on my watchlist for 5 years now. I know it’s something I would enjoy but once November/Winter comes around, there’s so much going on and there’s so many beloved movies to watch that I’ve never found the time for something new. I’ll always pick an old favourite like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) or Jingle All The Way (1996) before I take a risk on something new. So the blogathon was the perfect opportunity for me to watch Arthur Christmas and see if it’s worth it.

arthur-christmas-movie-posterArthur Christmas is an animated movie made in collaboration with Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations. If I’d known all along that Aardman was involved I would have seen it immediately, you can always rely on them to pack in a ridiculous amount of detail into their work. The animation is a beautiful blend of claymation meeting digital, it’s nothing that stands out against today’s animations but it’s still gorgeous.

It also has a wonderful voice cast. James McAvoy plays Arthur, one of Santa’s sons who works in the post room and has so much passion for making Christmas perfect for each child. He reads every letter and always makes sure the children get exactly what they ask for. Hugh Laurie voices Steve, Santa’s other son and heir to the suit. Steve’s worked hard to modernise the night of Christmas Eve with technology and efficiency, but he cares more for numbers and stats than the magic of it all. Santa himself and his wife are voiced by Jim Broadbent and Imelda Staunton. I’m sure they’ve done so much more but they will always be Slughorn and Umbridge to me.

Arthur Christmas is, I guess, a very to-the-book Christmas movie whereby Christmas is in danger of being ruined and it’s up to the underdogs to save it. I don’t have a problem with that as long as it’s done well and Arthur Christmas absolutely smashes it. The best Christmas movies are those that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike and this is one of them. It’s the subtle jokes like the elves delivering presents and switching the oven on because the adults had forgotten after putting the turkey in before bed. That’s just one very small example off the top of my head.

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If I had any complaint at all it would be this question. Did the people involved in making this movie have young children AT ALL? Find me a child still asleep on Christmas morning past 7am and I’ll eat the laptop I’ve been using to work from home with. By 7am the presents are already opened and the house is chaos!

But anyway – in conclusion, Arthur Christmas will 100% be re-watched many a time in my house, when the real Christmas is here.

Now, my favourite part of Drew’s blogathon is the party he hosts at the end of it. We all get to bring a guest of our choice, someone we’d like to meet under the mistletoe. I’ve been very fickle and brought a new guest every year and 2021 is going to be no different. There’s only one person on my naughty list this year and the god of mischief himself, Loki, aka Tom Hiddleston. Drew, if we’re allowed to come in costume I’ll put together my very best Sylvie outfit!

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Movie Reviews

Downton Abbey (2019)

downton-abbey-movie-review-poster-2019Director: Michael Engler

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 122 Minutes

Main Cast: Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Tuppence Middleton, Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech, Imelda Staunton, Robert James-Collier, Hugh Bonneville

Plot: In the fancy building known as Downton Abbey, the residents and staff prepare themselves for a visit from the King and Queen of England. (My version)
The continuing story of the Crawley family, wealthy owners of a large estate in the English countryside in the early 20th century. (Official version)

My Thoughts: If you can’t tell by my description of the plot, I’ve never seen an episode of Downton Abbey. I dragged my friend Steph to see The Dead Don’t Die though, and I kind of owed her one. Plus I always say I’ll give any movie a chance! All she told me before we went in was that, and I quote, “if my beautiful butler does not get his happy ending we are rioting!”. I agreed wholeheartedly whilst eyeing up a chocolate cookie at the cafe!

(Spoiler warning from here on out because I genuinely don’t know what can be considered a spoiler!)

So to be honest, I had a lot of fun watching it. There were far too many characters for me to keep track of, I genuinely thought that Imelda Staunton’s character was the Queen for about half of the movie, so I got myself quite confused, but the movie itself is a standalone story in a way so I wasn’t completely lost. Any movie is worth watching for Dame Maggie Smith though, isn’t it? Plus, my geeky little heart was overjoyed to see Professor Umbridge and Professor McGonagall bicker!

I think I wanted just a little bit more drama, though. Maybe the TV show has it, but these incidents were built up and then fizzled out a little. Terrorist attack? Fizzled out before it really started. Thief in the Abbey? Found and scolded appropriately. Illegal, secret gay bar? The butler got arrested and bailed in about 2 minutes. My drama llama went hungry!

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Still – I had a good time and I’m tempted to actually give the show a chance now, especially as I’m probably the only female Brit who’s never watched it…

Best Bit: Sorry but this isn’t even related to the movie. Me and Steph were the youngest audience members by at least 30 years, and that made the adverts/commercials section hilarious, as it was clear the target audience was definitely not us! It was all fun laughing at the specialist, pediatric chairs being advertised until one of Steph’s favourite shops made an appearance…!

Worst Bit: I was loving the totally hot plumber fixing the boiler and flirting with one of the younger staff members, much to the annoyance of her fiance, but then said fiance did the stupid thing of breaking the boiler (not realising the guy would have to return?!) and we didn’t get to see him again? Shameful.

Fun Trivia: The royal visit of George V to Downton Abbey was based on his real-life visit to Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire which was used in the film for the ballroom scenes.

My Rating: 3 out of 5 boiler pipes which, you know, you should probably not stamp on if you don’t want the hot plumber to come back and hit on your gal.

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