From December 1st until Christmas Eve, here on the LAMB, we’ll be determining what is the BEST Christmas movie of all time. We’ve asked you all which films are the main contenders, and twenty-four of you replied with your choices, which will
bauble battle it out for seasonal supremacy. It’s a head-to-head, single elimination tournament, so whichever film wins today moves onto the next round. However, here is not the only place to vote. No, head to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see the same poll there, and it’ll be the total of all four results that determines the winner. Today’s tinsel tussle is the first in the Mythology group, The Polar Express vs Arthur Christmas, and will close in just 24 hours:
The Polar Express vs Arthur Christmas
The Polar Express, championed by Zoe Rose Smith from Zobo With A Shotgun
Typically you wouldn’t categorise me as someone that watches or enjoys many children’s animation films, but there is something so magical lying in The Polar Express. At the foundation of our childhoods is the belief that something so extraordinary as Santa Claus (or however you would like to name him) exists in our realm, and the thought that this fairytale land between the mountains and covered in snow is real makes the heart beat faster and the eyes light up with delight. It’s that feeling of believing that most of us will remember from being a child and how hard our parents worked to ensure that wonder was kept alive.
The Polar Express realises that nostalgic emotion and brings it back to life when Tom Hanks as the train conductor urges the protagonist boy to come on a journey to remind himself that believing really is everything. It explores how as we grow older we stop believing and lose a little of the Christmas magic, but through children and imagination that sparkle can still give us the excitement we felt as children. Robert Zemeckis’ film is a heartfelt tale that will transport any humbug back to that tummy fluttering feeling that Christmas should be about.
Arthur Christmas, championed by Tony Cogan from Coogs Review
It’s fair to say that Arthur Christmas has become the go to Christmas film for my family now. Whilst we were a bit dismissive of it before seeing it, since it’s the only Aardman film that doesn’t have the look of an Aardman film, that impression was gone as soon as the film started. By using CG, Aardman was able to employ a much faster pace to the animation, which really gave the scenes with the elves a manic life, allowing Aardman to fit in dozens of jokes in the first scenes alone. It also helps that the main creative forces for the film, Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham, have extensive experience in British comedy, both of them being frequent collaborators with Armando Iannucci.
Aside from the jokes, there’s a strong heart behind Arthur Christmas. By focusing on the family dynamics of the Claus family, we get a heartwarming story about the nature of Christmas. The characters of Steve, Malcolm (Santa) and Grandsanta have become so caught up in their own ideas of how presents should be delivered and their own identities that they have lost sight of what makes Christmas such an important time. By making Arthur, the only one of the family who reads the letters sent to Santa, the main character, we see the joy of Christmas through his eyes and showing the importance of embracing both tradition and the new, making sure that all aspects of Christmas. the old and the new, are given the care and attention that they deserve.