Clearly, you can tell that I wasn't really excited about seeing Arthur Christmas. I guess it's important here to say that it is not Arthur's Christmas, like I thought it was going into it.
Well, what a surprise I was in for. I don't know if it's that I went into it with such low expectations or that it's just such a good movie. I think both, but I'm inclined to say that it is weighing down more on the side of It's a Really Good Movie because it is just that.
The story is that Santa Claus is a family business, and that Santa serves for 70 years before stepping down and letting his son take over for him.
The current Santa is on his 70th run, which by now is a super high tech operation. Think Mission: Impossible with elves instead of Tom Cruise. Well, okay, Mission: Impossible with lots of Tom Cruises. Anyway, the playout of Christmas Eve night is brilliant. BRILLIANT! I am very happy to accept that this is the way it is done now. I'm hoping that the movie makers haven't put themselves on the Naughty List forever by giving away this secret.
Santa himself is just a figurehead. His son, Steve, is the brains behind the organization, and Steve is planning on taking over the family business. The previous Santa is around too. His character is funny and quite pivotal later in the movie.
Younger brother Arthur's job is to answer letters from kids to Santa. He reassures doubters, he praises drawings of Santa, but he's a bit of a clod. A well meaning clod, but in a well oiled machine, a clod, no matter how well meaning, doesn't fit in.
The Problem comes in the fact that a present somehow does not get delivered. Billions of presents are delivered around the world in a matter of hours. One present does not add up to much. The percentage is infintesimally small. Steve quotes it. There are lots of zeros in front of the actual number. Not to worry.
Santa's ready for bed. Steve's ready to take over the reins. But Arthur discovers the forgotten present, and being the one that answers the letters, he knows that Megan needs to get this bike. Belief is on the line. "In Santa, We Believe" is the motto of the organization, by the way. Arthur gets this. The elves get It. They are totally wrapped up in It. Santa got it, but he's old and tired, and just a, "uh, figurehead, yes yes." Steve does not get it. Does. Not. Get. It.
Luckily Arthur does and devotes himself to fixing this situation. That's all I'm going to say about the plot. You need to see this movie; although it left the Movie Tavern today, so you may have to wait until next Christmas when it's on DVD.
I think only a Grinch, a seriously grinchy Grinch would not like this movie. I have some grouchy tendencies - you can ask DW, the Girls, or many others that know me, but grumpy and grinchy are very different things.
As daughter #1, who from this point on shall be referred to as Boogie, gets older, I worry about the whole Santa thing. DW and I encourage the belief. I strongly encourage belief in all manners of things. It wasn't until two years ago that she caught on that cartoons are not real (I can't say that I wasn't disappointed that the realization hit). Anyhoo,
I think what I'm going to say, if she ever mentions doubt, or is given a setback by a friend who says that Santa's just her parents, is this: Santa doesn't come to kids whose parents don't believe. He lets them do that job so he can concentrate his efforts and love on those that do believe.
I say this to say that I do believe in Santa. I believe that I saw Santa Christmas night in 1976 in LaGrange, GA when I got up in the middle of the night. My Grandmother Benefield was with me. I guess she was getting me some water or something, but I saw Santa going around the corner when I peaked my head in the living room. Again. I saw Santa going around the corner when I peaked my head in the living room.
I know that Christmas is seen by many people as many different things. The birth of The Savior. Toys, toys and more toys. Capitalism at its finest. Affluenza at its worst. Whatever. For me it's a time to rekindle my love of belief, my love of wonder and I treasure movies like Arthur Christmas, Elf and A Christmas Story that help me get that feeling.
Merry Christmas to those that celebrate. Happy Holidays to those that don't. Peace to you all.