Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Arthur Christmas' Sneak Peek

"Arthur Christmas" [Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation]
There was no shortage of snow last week at Sony Pictures Animation in Culver City, where CC and I caught sneak-peek footage of "Arthur Christmas."

Filling the grounds with the holiday spirit, Sony invited carolers to sing songs while kids grabbed handfuls of the icy snowflakes and decorated cookies and crafts.

Just after CC met a new little friend and boarded a sleigh pulled by several (faux) reindeer, we headed over to a screening room where we caught some scenes from the animated movie, which arrives in theaters Nov. 23. Ashley Jensen, one of several talented Brits lending their voices to the film, was also in attendance.

CC, right, and a friend board a sleigh at Sony Pictures Animation.
You might have caught an early trailer of the film if you saw "The Smurfs," also from Sony, in theaters. We did and, to be honest, I wasn't quite sure what to make of the movie.

Now that I've seen about 20 minutes of the film, I have to say that CC and I can't wait for it to arrive.

"Arthur Christmas" is the story of the younger, bumbling and Christmas-sweater-loving son of Santa Claus. Voiced by James McAvoy, Arthur wants every child to believe in Santa and the Christmas spirit. While he's the heart of the operation, his older brother Steve (Hugh Laurie) is the brains. Steve's got Christmas Eve present-giving down to military precise operation. And there are some serious G.I. Elves here.

But there's one problem. One child -- a girl who's on the fence about the existence of Santa -- gets left out by elf error. And it's Arthur and his GrandSanta (Bill Nighy) who want to make things right. The old-fashioned way.

The scenes CC and I saw were a true delight. They were funny -- CC laughed out loud at the slapstick -- while I was impressed with some clever visuals (one reindeer has a cone collar) and that the elves measure children's "goodness" or "badness" in percentages.

It was also very touching, which makes for a great holiday mix.

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