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FILM: ARTHUR CHRISTMAS (SONY)
Director: Sarah Smith; Voices: James McAvoy, Hugh Laude, Bill Nighy
The more one thinks about Santa, the less sense it makes that children would buy into the legend of a benevolent home invader capable of delivering presents to 600 million kids in one night. They accept because they want to believe. "Arthur Christmas" embraces this unconditional faith and rewards it with creative explanations and a brisk computeranimated adventure clever enough to become essential Yuletide viewing. But it will have to do so with little help from an unclear marketing campaign, relying on affection for Aardman--trading stop-motion for equally eccentric-looking CG--to attract fans amid a dauntingly crowded family-film season.
Opening with a letter written in the same spirit of skepticism as the New York Sun's famous "Yes, Virginia ..." column, "Arthur Christmas" counters such questions as, "If you really live at the North …