Arthur Christmas is a charming animated film that is sure to keep kids and adults equally entertained. Done by the Aardman’s who brought us the beloved Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run, it brings some delightful wit to the genre of holiday family films. First asking the complicated question of how does Santa deliver two billion presents in one night we are taken through a Mission Impossible like recon mission of how it’s all done on Christmas night. With the “sledge” bigger than the Starship Enterprise presents are dropped off in an operation that resembles war tactics. At the center of the operations is Steve (Hugh Laurie), Santa’s oldest son, who plays as the director behind the scenes on the ship with thousands of elves at his side.

In the tradition of holiday’s misfits like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer we are introduced to Arthur Clause. Arthur (James McAvoy) is the youngest son of Santa, and sibling of Steve Clause. Accident prone, but always with his heart in the right place, he is in charge of letters. We come to see quickly that Arthur is filled with more of the Christmas spirit than his brother, who is too wrapped up in the mechanics of getting presents under the tree.

When a single present is left behind just hours before Christmas morning Steve shrugs it off as a margin of error, while the beat Santa (Jim Broadbent) heads off to bed to sleep aside Mrs. Clause (Imelda Staunton). It’s up to Arthur to save the magic of Christmas for this child located in a small English village. Hitching up the old sledge with the help of the spitfire Grandsanta (Bill Nighty), and a stole away elf named Briony, Arthur tries to get the presents under the tree before dawn. Of course navigations don’t go smoothly, and they get lost along with way in pursuit of their destination.

Sure it may sound like the standard holiday affair of the underdog saving the day, but it’s filled with clever twists and visual gags that are amusing throughout. It’s the sort of clean entertainment that isn’t squeamish to sit through, and is sure to get anybody in the Christmassy spirit. The character of Arthur is an endearing hero to watch, and is perfectly matched with the voice of McAvoy.  Grandsanta gets the most of the laughs, who is filled with countless back in my day like stories of hitching up the sledge and doing it the old school way.

The overlying theme of the story is how the old versus the new come together to save Christmas for one little girl. It’s the kind of holiday entertainment done right, and it will probably become a much loved classic in years to come. Out of all the animated features to come out this year I’d take this film over Rango, King Fu Panda 2, and Puss in Boots. This one feels more fresh, and spunky. Not very often are holiday animated films have a script as bright, and funny as this one. The animation also looks superb in 3D.