Arthur Christmas

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Arthur Christmas is a 2011 British/American 3-D computer animated Christmas fantasy comedy film produced by Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations and distributed by Columbia Pictures. It was released on November 11, 2011, in the UK and on November 23, 2011, in the USA. The film was directed by Sarah Smith. Set in the North Pole, the plot tells about Santa's son Arthur Christmas, who must complete a mission before Christmas morning. It is Aardman Animations' first computer-animated cinema feature with Sony Pictures Animation.


  • (cycling through Trelew) Happy Christmas, cows!
  • (trying to paddle a rowboat 3000 miles to Trelew) Jingle Bells, this boat smells, 3000 miles to go!


  • (using the Earth itself as a map after losing all the other ones) Biggest map in the world!
  • (after making the sleigh look like a UFO) Take us to your leader!
  • (as Arthur parachutes away) In Santa we believe!
  • (as he prepares to abandon EVIE he speaks to his old reindeer) Well this is it old fella! Maybe the next Santa never sat in my EVIE, but Arthur did and he's as good a man as any Santa there's ever been! Goodbye EVIE. (jumps off at the last second as missiles destroy the sleigh)


  • No one gets an unwrapped present on my watch!


North Pole Computer: [before the closing credits roll] And may One Hundred Percent of your Christmases be White!


(Steve considers helping Arthur and Grandsanta while Peter offers him a drink)
Elf: Grandsanta and Arthur would be the heroes of the night sir! (Peter drops the drink in shock)
Steve: (quickly) Come home now!

(Santa, Steve and Grandsanta argue over who gets to deliver the present before Arthur interupts them as Gwen wakes up)
Arthur: Please! Gwen just has to have a present from Santa.
Santa: (hands Arthur the present) You do it Arthur. (Arthur delievers the present)

(The elves run around panicking as the North Pole melts down. The giant Santa ice sculpture crashes down behind Ernie Clicker)
Ernie Clicker: What the? (turns around and spots Arthur cycling through Trelew on Gwen's bike) Look everyone! It's Arthur! He's delivering the present!
Elves: It's Arthur!
North Pole Computer: MELTDOWN PAUSED.

(Steve accidentally delivers the new gift to the wrong child in Mexico rather than England)
Steve: (to Santa) Let me guess: you put in the address, saw a list of Trelews and clicked on the first one? You're just like Arthur!
Santa: (stunned) I am?

(Grandsanta, Santa and Steve start to leave while Arthur turns back to watch Gwen open her gift)
Arthur: Dad, wait! Please, let's... (gestures to the door)
Santa: (joins Arthur) Oh... You know, in all my years I've never actually... Always so busy. (Steve comes up beside them) Too busy. (pats his sons on the back, they both look at him) In my day a pat on the back and a walnut went a long way.

(Santa, Grandsanta, Steve and Arthur watch as Gwen opens her present)
Gwen: Santa brought me the bike I wanted!
(Santa looks from the beaming Arthur to Steve)
Santa: Steve, you deserve to be Santa. (Steve gasps and looks at the Santa figure Arthur earlier gave him) But Steve, I wonder... (looks at Arthur) if Gwen was right?
Steve: (considers for a moment then holds out the figure to Arthur) I'll be the candle, eh? (Arthur gasps as he realizes the implications)
Grandsanta: (quietly) Whoppee!

(The Clauses exit the house and Bryony picks up Steve's dropped Ho-Ho to report in)
Bryony: Drop complete! (the number of children without a gift changes from one to zero) And we have a new Santa! (pans the Ho-Ho to show Arthur climbing out the window. Everyone cheers)

Arthur: (after learning Santa has gone to bed without caring about Gwen) But Santa's the most caring man in the world!
Bryony: Then why are you here and not him?

(Ernie unhurringly tries to communicate with Grandsanta and Arthur)
Ernie: Its not like they're surronded by man-eating lions.
(cut to Arthur, Grandsanta and Bryony surronded by seven man-eating lions)

Arthur: (desperatly sereanding man-eating lions) Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is right! I realize this is mental but its all that I know! It's Christmas nice kitties so please let us go! (it starts working)
Bryony and Grandsanta: (shrug and join Arthur) Sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace!
(The lions fall asleep and the three escape, but a bang from the sleigh wakes the lions again)

(The elves panic at the thought of the Santas abandoning them)
Old Elf: It's like 1816!
(The elves gasp and run around in horror)
Elf: Abandon the North Pole!
(One elf activates a switch labeled In Case of Being Like 1816)
Computer: Are you sure you want to delete Christmas? (elf hits "yes" and a ten minute countdown starts to meltdown)

Bryony: (overdramaticaly talking about Gwen while trying to "worry" Arthur) She runs away, alcoholic by the age of nine, dead before she's even...! (Grandsanta quickly covers her mouth)
Grandsanta: She may never build a snowman again!

(Grandsanta and Bryony are left in an awkward silence while Arthur tries a dangerous stunt to get the sleigh back)
Grandsanta: So elf, how do you feel about being the one to tell his parents about all this? (Bryony looks horrified at the thought)

Grandsanta: (hiding) It's like that terrible night all over again!
Arthur: What night?
Grandsanta: The last time I took EVIE out for a spin! I didn't know it was the Cuban Missile Crisis! I nearly caused World War Three!

Arthur: (parachuting away, to Grandsanta) Happy Christmas!
Grandsanta: In Santa we believe!

Grandsanta: (prepares to abandon EVIE, to his old reindeer) Well this is it old fella! Maybe the next Santa never sat in my EVIE, but Arthur did and he's as good a man as any Santa there's ever been! (releases the reindeer and stands on the top of EVIE as missiles head towards it, saluting) Goodbye EVIE. (jumps off at the last second as the missiles destroy the sleigh)
Chief Da Silva: Good work everyone. You just saved Christmas!

Computer: Christmas acomplished.

Bryony: When you put the address in the Ho-Ho, what did you see?
Arthur: [realising they are in Mexico after seeing a poster saying "El Burrito de Mexico" and seeing everything written in Spanish] I saw a list of Trelews, I just clicked on the first one!
Bryony: Which was not Trelew, England! We're in the wrong Trelew!

Steve: This is Germany, Father! They drive on the right national dish sausage!

Steve: Okay, let's show them people, "Operation Santa Claus is Coming to Town!"

Arthur: [dressed up as an alien speaking to the owner of the tractor dealership in Idaho] We come in peace! Our craft has to travel around the world in less than one hour! We need a part of our craft! I could pay you, but where I come from, we don't have money!

Grandsanta: [at the tractor dealership in Idaho, Arthur is trying to remove a golden reindeer from the "Leaping Deer Auto's sign] Bash it with a brick, Arthur! Go on!
Arthur: [struggling to remove the reindeer on top of the roof] It just won't...
Bryony: It may just be a wrapping operative, sir. But this contravenes specific mission regulations!
Grandsanta: I'm in charge here, not Billy the Bureaucratic!
Arthur: [almost removing the reindeer] It's stuck!
Grandsanta: [to Bryony] Elf! Wrap your head! [to Arthur] Come on, Lad. You're as much use as a cheese chopstick!
Arthur: Got it! Oh NO!


Grandsanta: Oh my big old Betty, it will have to do. Pass it down!
Bryony: [whimpering] There isn't enough room to breathe! I've got nine seconds left before I black out!
Grandsanta: One breath.
Bryony: [seeing the lights in the tractor dealership owner's house switch on] Sir!
Grandsanta: [to Bryony] Just one breath!

[to Arthur]

Grandsanta: Hurry up, Arthur!
Arthur: But we don't need a whole one to balance the sleigh!
Grandsanta: Oh, it won't balance the sleigh! If anything, it will only slow us down.
Arthur: So why are we taking it?
Grandsanta: It's for Gwen! Eight beautiful reindeer! That is what she is dreaming of, the jingly bells, the sleigh on the roof... [to Bryony] What now?
Bryony: [she whimpers through the wrapping and opens it] We have a waker, sir!

Arthur: [the sleigh is flying across Toronto, it traverses across a curved building and people inside see it] They can see us!
Grandsanta: Well, pull the camouflage lever!
Grandsanta: [Arthur pulls the wrong lever and the sleigh transforms into something that looks like a steam locomotive] Not that one, that's a steam train!

Steve: [gets a phone call on his Ho-Ho, it wakes him up] Hello? What elf?
Peter: Bryony, the crazy wrapping elf! Security tagged her to I.T. and we think Arthur was there!
Steve: Arthur?
Peter: Who else leaves the door open?
Steve: The old sleigh barn? That was sealed up decades ago. After that terrible night, Grandsanta sneaked out and... Thank goodness he is too old these days to get into trouble.

About Arthur Christmas[edit]

  • My aspiration for the character design was, yes, not going the “Flushed Away” route of trying to copy the stop-frame look. That was my choice. I think that Nick [Park] is one of the best character designers in the world. People don’t think of him like that, but I think he is. I think one of the things that makes his movies spectacular is his characters are fantastic. But, to me, they totally belong to Nick and they belong to stop-frame. So, in the end, I wanted them to still look like they could have only come from Aardman and that they belonged to the family. I think they do. I don’t think they look like CG human characters from other studios. We didn’t try to make any of them cute, particularly. They weren’t trying to look appealing. They are themselves. They have a slightly rough and ready look to them. For instance, for Grandsanta we looked at very early thing Pete Lord had done with an old man. It had that fantastic, slightly-crumpled old man look from plasticine. That was one of the inspirations for Grandsanta. Our characters are quite asymmetrical. They’re just really themselves. We started drawing how we felt about them as characters and then just developed them into a kind of shape language. In the end, when I look at them, I do feel they look like Aardman characters. Grandsanta, especially, has a sense of imperfection as well. They feel sort of British and quirky. They’re not airbrushed. For Arthur, I wanted him to appealing, but really not cute. I don’t think he is. When you look at him, facially, he’s quite odd looking. But I had the idea of giving him very soft hair that would make you want to pat it. Also, the slippers. We wanted to give a terrible Christmas sweater and Christmas slippers. We made the slippers really soft and furry and there’s something about him that makes you say, “Bless.” He’s obviously a mess and wears sort of terrible sweatpants with baggy knees and stuff like that.
  • Peter ran me up in the first year and said, “I think we need a villain! What if we have this evil elf?” He was going to be called General Antler and he wanted to make burgers out of the reindeer. He sent me something and it was like “The Killing Fields.” I said, “Pete? Is this really what you mean? I don’t think so.” But mostly I felt that you need to write something that feels true to you and the thing in the movie to me is that it isn’t really evil that’s wrong with the world today. It’s the evil of slightly kind of not getting it. Steve is sort of the baddie because he just doesn’t get it. He’s running Christmas, but it’s for all the wrong reasons. Later on, he storms in and finally says, “Alright! So I’m not good with children. Does that make me bad Santa?” There’s this sort of little silence. That’s the bigger problem in the world today. It’s not so much about evil things happening, it’s just the sort of crapness of things not happening for good reasons.That’s sort of the worst thing that happens all around us and that’s what Steve embodies.
  • We knew right from the beginning that it was going to be in 3D. There were some really, really hard choices. I’m not a 3D expert and had to learn a huge amount about what works and what doesn’t. Often what you would shoot for 3D is the opposite of the choice you would make for 2D. For the home elf invasion sequence, I always wanted to do a sort of Paul Greengrass handheld camera thing, which is really hard to do in animation anyway with very fast cuts and moving cameras and so on. That doesn’t lend itself to 3D, so there’s an immediate challenge with two different aesthetics. But it doesn’t kind of work for what kids think is cool in action. Having said that, there’s a huge amount in the movie that I think is spectacular in 3D. It all came out of the world we had designed rather than change things for 3D. We don’t have anyone poke you in the eye for example. One of the things that’s great for 3D, though, is how detailed and tactile the world is. If you see the sleigh barn sequence in 3D, it’s fantastic because you feel you’re walking in this gorgeous, detailed 3D world. Arthur’s office is the same. It’s full of little details that have some physicality in 3D, which is brilliant. The other choice we made early on is when they go out on the sleigh. I wanted it to be like a road movie. Rather than have big, sweeping camera movements, we actually attached them to the sleigh on mounts in the computer. That actually makes those scenes fantastic for 3D because, visually, you’re anchored to the sleigh and it feels like being in the car of a roller coaster. You’re on the ride because you’re inside the sleigh. The other thing that’s fabulous in 3D is Mission Control because it’s the biggest set you’ve ever seen and it has fantastic lines of perspective from the camera right into the distance. The background is a big 2D screen, which makes the perfect 3D design. There were some things where we had to make the decision about the 2D or the 3D and which was going to take the lead, but a lot of it has the 3D process opening it all up in a really brilliant way.
    • Sarah Smith [1]


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