Points Of Light Holiday Edition: Arthur Christmas
Greetings once again. First off, I must apologize for my recent absence from the blog. I have spent last month prepping for the release of the Lightrider sequel, Equites, and have had little time for any kind of outside work. However, that work is nearing completion, and I can begin December with new postings. And as we are in the holiday season, I am compelled to continue last year’s tradition, and comment on some Christmas stories. To kick things off, I have chosen a new holiday film that seems on it’s way to becoming a holiday classic- Arthur Christmas.
Arthur Christmas is the youngest son of the Claus family, which has maintained the role of Santa for years, the role passing from father to son throughout the generations. Arthur’s brother Steve is largely responsible for the work each year, having transformed the process into a largely military style operation, with the boys’ father acting in a purely symbolic role. However, the current Claus, who is out of touch and largely working in a bubble, is still unwilling to pass on his title, which frustrates Steve to no end. When a present is found to be undelivered, the elder Clauses ignore it, but Arthur, who believes no child should ever be left behind on Christmas, sets out to correct the error, aided by his grandfather, who also wants to recapture his youth.
What Writers Can Learn: Old vs. New, Sympathetic Characters, Moral Lessons
Arthur Christmas is a unique spin on the Santa Claus legend, largely because of the modern spin it puts on the actual job of being Santa. The amount of technology and stealth style planning that goes into making this version of Christmas is clearly effective, but at the same time, seems cold and impersonal. As such, it is an interesting dichotomy for the viewer. The process is effective and amazing to behold, but it is so far removed from the traditional depictions of Santa, that it becomes uncomfortable to a degree, a fine satire of the effect of modernization on many current technologies and trends.
However, what gives the film much of its strength is that all of its major characters are relatable. In fact, it is hard to find an active villain within this story, which in most stories would be a death knell. However, this story succeeds by giving each Claus, save Arthur, a healthy degree of selfishness, though each one is understandable. Steve is resentful towards his father and does not want his brother to succeed because he doesn’t want him to be a hero. But at the same time, Steve has clearly been the real driving force beyond his father’s recent work, and is justifiably angry at continually being passed over for a job he has proven himself at. Grand-Santa simply wants to feed his ego, but he has also been neglected in his old age, and watched the tradition he worked for be pushed aside. And finally, Santa himself is shown as well past his prime, but refusing to pass down the job to his son. However, this man has been Santa for most of his life, loves his work, and is frightened at the prospect of losing his identity. This makes all of the characters sympathetic for different reasons, and viewers can find their own opinions regarding them and the film itself.
Finally, the film also teaches a fine lesson about one of the greatest aspects of Christmas- the act of giving. Throughout the film, each of the Santas acts in selfish ways and give little thought to the missing gift at first. Then when they do, they either botch the procedure or argue over who should do it. Only Arthur truly cares about making sure the child gets what she asks for, a moment outlined in the movie’s strongest scene. It reminds us of the best part of giving to others- that it doesn’t matter how or who does the giving, only that it is done with care and love for the receiver. It is because of Arthur’s dedication to this, that his family realizes he is the only one that can carry the name of Santa into the future. And that reminds us of why we truly should give at Christmas- simply to make another person happy.
In this case, I can’t offer further reading, but I can implore you to view this film to really see the ideas I’ve explained here. Next week will see the examination of another Christmas classic, and in the spirit of the season, I leave with a gift of my own- a preview of the cover of Equites. And if you are interested in finding out more, I will be at the Clark Public Library in Clark, NJ, from 2-4 this upcoming Saturday, where you can get a special pre-order discount. Happy Holidays.