Arthur Christmas is a 2011 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. Sarah Smith directed the film, and among others, the voices of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Joan Cusack, Robbie Coltrane, and Will Sasso are featured. This was Aardman Animations' first full-length computer-animated cinema feature with Sony Pictures Animation.
On Christmas Eve, hundreds of Christmas elves helm the command centre of Santa Claus's mile-wide, ultra–high-tech sleigh-esque craft, the S-1. Santa and the Christmas elves deliver presents to every child in the world using advanced equipment and military precision. These complex operations are micromanaged by Santa's oldest son Steve and his obsequious elfin assistant Peter (among thousands of more elves) at mission control underneath the North Pole, while Steve's clumsy and panophobic younger brother Arthur answers the letters to Santa. During a delivery operation, when a child wakes up and almost sees Santa, a Christmas elf back in the S-1 inadvertently presses a button, causing a present to fall off a conveyor and go unnoticed.
Having completed his 70th mission, Santa is portrayed as far past his prime and whose role in field operations now is largely symbolic. Nonetheless, he is held in high esteem, and delivers a congratulatory speech to the enraptured elves. Much to Steve's frustration, who has long anticipated succeeding his father, Santa announces he looks forward to his 71st. During their family Christmas dinner, Arthur's suggestion for the family to play a board game degenerates into a petty quarrel between Santa and Steve, while Grand-Santa, bored by retirement, resentfully criticizes their over-modernization. Distraught, the various family members leave the dinner table. When Arthur humbly compliments Steve that he believes he will be a great Santa Claus, Steve rudely dismisses Arthur's overture. Later, their father shares with Mrs. Claus his grave doubts about his self-identity should he retire.
Meanwhile, a Christmas elf named Bryony finds the missed present—a wrapped bicycle that has yet to be delivered—and alerts Steve and Peter to the problem. Arthur is alarmed when he recognizes the present as a gift for Gwen, a little girl whose letter he had personally replied to. Arthur alerts his father, who is at a loss as to how to handle the situation; Steve argues that one missed present out of billions is an acceptable error whose correction can wait a few days. Grand-Santa on the other hand, apparently learning of the dire situation, proposes delivering the gift using Eve (mispronounced as "evie"), his old wooden sleigh, and the great-great-grandchildren of the original eight reindeer, forcefully whisking away a reluctant Arthur and a stowaway Bryony. They get lost in three different continents, lose several of their reindeer, and land in danger several times, ultimately being mistaken for aliens and causing an international military incident. Through all this, Arthur eventually learns, to his compounding disappointment, that Grand-Santa's true motive is to fulfill his ego, that Steve refuses to help them out of petty resentment and possibility of his brother being made hero overshadowing his work, and that his own father has gone to bed, apparently content even though a present was not delivered.
Finally, stranded in Cuba after losing the sleigh and the remaining reindeer, Arthur renews his sense of purpose—that it all comes down to having presents delivered, regardless of how it is done and who did it—and with Grand-Santa's and Bryony's help manages to recover the sleigh. Meanwhile, the elves grow increasingly alarmed at rumors of this neglected delivery and the Clauses' unthinkable indifference, sending them into a panic. In response, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Steve take the high-tech sleigh-craft to deliver a superior present—to the wrong child.
In the meantime, Arthur and his party lose the remaining reindeer and a US Predator drone scrambled by Chief De Silva of UNFITA intercepts and opens fire on them thinking that they were aliens, causing Arthur to bail out of the sleigh, via parachute. Ultimately with Mrs. Claus' and Bryony's help, all the male Clauses arrive at Gwen's house before she awakens, only to have all but Arthur quarrel about who gets to actually place the gift. Noticing that only Arthur truly cares about the girl's feelings, the elder Clauses collectively realize that he is the sole worthy successor. As a result, Santa gives Arthur the honor and Steve, upon learning of his own errors and acknowledges that his brother is the worthy Santa instead of him, forfeits his supposed birthright to his brother. In a fitting conclusion, Gwen glimpses a snow-bearded Arthur in a wind-buffeted sweater just before vanishing up into the S-1.
With the crisis resolved, Santa goes into a happy retirement with Mrs. Claus; he also becomes Grand-Santa's much-desired new companion and plays Arthur's board game with him for many happy hours. Meanwhile, Steve finds true contentment as Chief Operating Officer while Bryony is promoted to Vice-President of Packing, Pacific Division. In a nod to traditionalism once neglected, the high-tech S-1 is re-christened EVIE in honor of Grand-Santa's old sleigh and refitted to be pulled by a team of five thousand reindeer—led by the original eight, all of whom managed to return safely via innate navigational abilities. Finally, Arthur happily guides the entire enterprise in the proper spirit as the new Santa.
- James McAvoy -as- Arthur Claus the main protagonist
- Hugh Laurie -as- Steven Claus's brother who is the brains.
- Jim Broadbent -as- Malcom Claus
- Bill Nighy -as- GrandSanta the deurtagonist.
- Imelda Staunton -as- Margaret Claus
- Ashley Jensen -as- Bryony Shelfley an elf was in battilon and the triagonist.
- Will Sasso -as- American James
- Ramona Marquez -as- Gwen Hines
- Marc Wootton -as- Peter
- Iain McKee -as- Thomas Jack
- Joan Cusack -as- Mission Control Elf
- Robbie Coltrane -as- Old Doom-Laden Scottish Elf
- Michael Palin -as- Ernie Clicker
- Dominic West -as- Field Sergeant Elf
- Andy Serkis -as- General Elf
- Miggie Donahue -as- Pedro
- Laura Linney -as- North Pole Computer
- Eva Longoria -as- Chief De Silva head of the UNIFTA.
- Frank Welker as the lions the minor antagonists of the film.
- Metacritic gives Artur Christmas a rating of 69/100 (Generally favorable reviews) and a average user score of 7.3/10.
- Rotten Tomatoes has Arthur Christmas at 92% on the Tomatometer (Certified Fresh) with a viewer rating of 79%.
Arthur Christmas was released on November 6, 2012 on DVD, Blu-Ray, and Blu-Ray 3D.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation's non-sequel/prequel film.
- Along with The Smurfs, this was the first time ever that Sony Pictures Animation released two feature films in one year.
- This is the first Sony Pictures Animation's Christmas film, followed by The Star.
- The first movie with the new Sony Pictures Animation logo from 2011 On-Wards.