Arthur Christmas (Blu-ray) (2011)

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Released 14-Nov-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of-4
Music Video
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 97:32
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sarah Smith
Barry Cook
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring James McAvoy
Hugh Laurie
Bill Nighy
Jim Broadbent
Imelda Staunton
Ashley Jensen
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Harry Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Catalan Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish Dolby Digital 5.1
Finnish Dolby Digital 5.1
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
German
Hindi
Norwegian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Aardman Animation are best known for their stop motion work, however Arthur Christmas is a completely digital production made in conjunction with Sony Pictures Animation. It was made and released to the cinemas in 2011 but logically enough was not released to home entertainment until Christmas 2012.

     The story is based on the idea that Santa Claus is a family dynasty which has been running since the first St Nicholas. In the modern day, Santa (voiced by Jim Broadbent) or Malcolm as his wife calls him, has been in the job for many years since his father, Grandsanta (Bill Nighy), retired. He is struggling to keep pace with the elves and regularly falls asleep on the job. During the current Santa's tenure in the top job, the process has been modernised much to the disgust of Grandsanta. A lot of the modernisation including a new powerful rocketship sleigh, the S1, and full computerisation has been overseen by Santa's oldest son, Steve (Hugh Laurie). Steve believes in efficiency and runs Christmas like a business but doesn't really go in for the magic or joy of Christmas. He believes his father should retire and hand over the operation to him. It is Santa's younger son, Arthur (James McEvoy) who is the real believer, however he is clumsy and silly so has been relegated to the mail department, replying to letters sent by children. As usual Christmas Eve goes like clockwork with the army of elves delivering the presents on schedule all over the world. It is only while the after hours cleanup team are cleaning up the control room that they discover there is one present which has not been delivered. Steve believes that this is a small margin of error and should be ignored but Arthur is devastated and is determined to ensure the present gets to the child involved. Grandsanta and Arthur set off on the old sleigh to make sure the present gets delivered. Accompanying them is Bryony (Ashley Jensen) a wrapping elf who really wants to go out doing deliveries. Can they get the present to the little girl on time and save Christmas?

     This is an excellent animated film, with lots of fun and the usual Aardman humour and charm. There is also lots of excitement and the detail in backgrounds that Aardman are famous for. In addition to the voice cast mentioned above there are many other famous voices including Imelda Staunton (as Mrs Claus), Robbie Coltrane, Michael Palin, Joan Cusack, Rhys Darby, Andy Serkis, Danny John-Jules & Eva Longoria. The voice cast and performances are marvellous with Bill Nighy as Grandsanta the highlight. The score by Harry Gregson-Williams is another highlight adding significantly to the feel of the film and almost making up for the use of Justin Beiber and his vocoder over the end credits. The film is based around the challenges of family dynamics and finds the humour and joy in those relationships.

     Highly recommended.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent.

     The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was excellent.

     The colour is excellent bursting from the screen.

     There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, Finnish, German, Hindi, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish which were clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is also excellent.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 and the same format in German & Spanish plus a Descriptive Audio track in Dolby Digital 5.1 plus dubs in Catalan, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Swedish & Turkish in the same format.

     Dialogue was easy to understand throughout.

     The music sounds great, especially the score by Harry Gregson-Williams.

     The surround speakers were used wonderfully well, filling out the sound, highlighting action sequences and when the S1 came overhead.

     The subwoofer was well used to support the music and action.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A decent selection of extras are included. Subtitles are available for the extras.

Menu

     The menu featured an intro, music, lots of action and fun.

The Christmas Family Tree (10:09)

     Cast & crew discuss the story and characters interspersed with scenes from the film.

Santa's Soldiers (9:06)

     Featurette on the elves and how they were created based on templates so that they could all be different. Interesting.

Unwrapping Arthur Christmas (13:46)

     More general making of which focuses on the film being based around questions children ask, like how could Santa deliver all the presents in time. There is some crossover to the previous featurettes.

Behind the Scenes of 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' (1:40)

     Justin Beiber making the music video.

Music Video - Justin Beiber 'Santa Claus is Coming to Town' (2:32)

     The actual music video.

Progression Reels (13:51)

     More detailed featurettes about how the animation gets developed including ice, characters, hair, clothes, elves, Arthur's office, Grandsanta and more. This is the extra for animation fans and techheads.

Elf Recruitment Video (1:03)

     Joke video promoting life as an elf.

Previews

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region A release only includes one of the featurettes and does not have the music video. Region B UK is the same as ours. Buy Local.

Summary

    A funny and charming Christmas film from Aardman & Sony.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent.

    The extras are decent.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, January 04, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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