Voices of  James McAvoy    Hugh Laurie    Bill Nighy    Jim Broadbent    Imelda Staunton


 This is a humorous new take on a Christmas story that fantasizes about how Santa can deliver all those presents all over the world in one night.  in the process of exploring the question, we see vying Santas compete for central place, with Mrs. Santa (Imelda Staunton) serving as coach and referee.  There is the grandfather Santa (Bill Nighy), who is clinging to the old traditions with wood sleigh and reindeer (all of whose names he can’t remember).  There is the current Santa (Jim Broadbent) who is desperately trying to remain relevant and fighting against retirement.  There is son Steve (Hugh Laurie) who is convinced the world now needs high tech and thousands of working elves for Santa to function efficiently.  And then there is bumbling son Arthur (Jim McAvoy) whose sole mission is to see that no child is ever disappointed on Christmas morning and that they know that Santa always cares.

 it is a rather complex story, packed with adventures and disasters of all kinds—including the old wooden sleigh that Grandfather Santa has commandeered to take the last present to a child in England who has apparently been overlooked—ending up crashing in the African Serengeti, where they are attacked by lions.  He forces the squeamish Arthur to accompany him, playing on his dread that a child somewhere might be disappointed.  This is an example of the many kinds of adventures they have during a long Christmas Eve, with the other Santas, elves, and Mrs. Santa trying to help from afar.

 Artistic animation is from Aardman Animations, the creators of Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, and Flushed Away, so is outstanding in its brilliance of color and motion.  

 Kids will love this film, and there is enough for adults to make them enjoy it as well.

Grade:  A- By Donna R. Copeland