Here’s my 30-second take on Aardman Animation’s Arthur Christmas.
What on earth was anyone thinking? Luther’s so Kranky he can’t just skip the Christmas-Eve shindig… he wants a "total boycott," even of charitable donations — despite the fact that they’re saving money on the cruise over against their usual seasonal expenditures. (That his wife Nora, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, absolutely refuses to go along with his plans until Luther caves on the charitable donations is some consolation, but not nearly enough.)
Van Allsburg’s simple story of a nameless, doubting boy who rides a magical train to Santa’s home at the North Pole is fleshed out by introducing us to a few of his young fellow passengers, and also by making the train ride and the visit to the North Pole far more eventful. These additions are fairly consonant with the spirit of Van Allsburg’s work; almost any two minutes of The Polar Express could be a scene in a Van Allsburg story, even if they could never all be squeezed into a single book. Fans of the writer-artist may be pleased to find The Polar Express about as faithful an adaptation of the author’s work as could be imagined in a feature film.
By the time that you read this short essay of ours / The Grinch will have made ten squintillion more dollars! / The people have spoken! The Grinch is a hit! / So who cares if some critic writes critical crit?
If it were only predictable, syrupy, and overlong, The Family Man might still be worth watching for the appealing performances from Leoni and Cage. Alas, its problems are more deep-rooted than that.
Copyright © 2000– Steven D. Greydanus. All rights reserved.