Semper fi, motherfucker.
Right, a little edifier to start. This movie will be over-rated, probably drastically so. Animated movies often have to do less to be called a landmark, and this movie's combination of mostly genuine sentiment, wonder and the fact that it's not a soulless Shrek-alike pop-culture clone will encourage people to be overly kind and get caught up in its sweep. This isn't really anything special, but it certainly is refreshing, thanks to a healthy dose of cleverness, dry humour and earnestness. It's not a perfect mix, and sometimes these qualities get in each other's way, but it's a good time.
Now a revisionist take on Christmas is pretty common ground for kids movies, and the obvious reference point here is Nightmare Before Christmas, even with all of that films dark and gothic sensibilities far removed, both are interested in the practicalities of putting Christmas together, and in answering some of the burning questions regarding the feasibility of the whole Santa Claus mythology, and doing so to amusing effect. in fact the most enjoyable sequence be far sees the military operation it essentially takes to deliver all the millions of presents that need to be delivered. Best in show here is certainly Ashley Jensen's hyper-competent Gift-wrapping Elf, who doesn't really need to be in the movie at all. I'd say that the most problematic aspect of the film is Arthur Christmas himself, a doe-eyed Christmas fanatic who's perhaps too simplistic to be an engaging lead.
Reliable folks like Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie and James McAvoy turn up and do good voice work and the film is mostly a joy to look at, and while not quite as good as I hoped it would be, is a serviceable sugar-rush of a kids movie that will give your kids an undemanding good time and also not completely rot their brain and turn them into dead-eyed children of the corn in the way, say the way Alvin and The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked would. The script is sort of a mess, but it's a good time.