3 1/2 stars = Very good
In this new animation from first-time director Sarah Smith and Aardman Animations ("Chicken Run," "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit"), Santa rides in a red spaceship bigger than the Enterprise, with a central command station in the North Pole and black-clad elves who zip down ropes, "Mission: Impossible" style.
Santa has an extended family that bickers like any other, and one of his two sons -- the muscled Steve (Hugh Laurie) or the bumbling but big-hearted Arthur (James McAvoy) -- will be the heir to the red suit.
It's a delightful new entry to the holiday, a vision of Christmas that we haven't seen before.
The Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack and DVD feature the "Elf Recruitment" video and a behind-the-scenes featurette, "Unwrapping Arthur Christmas."
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-- Rick Bentley, McClatchy Newspapers