Aardman Animation’s Arthur Christmas opens with a scene that suggests it is not your parents’ holiday movie. In response to one little girl’s query about how Santa manages to deliver all of those gifts around the world in just one night, we’re treated to a thrilling sequence of hundreds of elves jumping out of a giant sleigh-shaped spaceship and delivering the gifts with a high-tech precision that wouldn’t be out of place in a futuristic action thriller.

Spearheading that massive operation is alpha-male Steve (Hugh Laurie), heir apparent to the cushy Santa position currently held by his father Malcolm (Jim Broadbent). Steve and Malcolm, it turns out, are just two members of a long line of Santas that stretch back centuries and also includes Malcolm’s father (Bill Nighy) “Grandsanta,” and Steve’s younger brother Arthur (James McAvoy).

But holiday movies are a decidedly traditional genre, and Arthur Christmas quickly falls into the familiar themes about the magic of Christmas and finding your place in the world and whatnot. Happily, it does so with enough wit and enough feeling to be a cut above some of the more cynical entries in the genre, though it’s not on the level of the best holiday classics.

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You’d be forgiven for suffering from pirate fatigue after this year’s lackluster fourth entry in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but these delightful trailers for Aardman Animation’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits prove there’s still plenty of fun to be found on the high seas.

Directed by Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt, the stop motion adventure follows an eager but misguided Pirate Captain (Hugh Grant) as he competes for the Pirate of the Year Award — because, as he explains, “Every time I’ve entered, I’ve failed to win. So, I must have a really good chance this time.” Along the way, he and his similarly off-kilter crew (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell ToveyAshley Jensen, and a fish with a hat on it) encounter all manner of strange characters including lepers, stuffy scientists, an evil queen (Imelda Staunton), and at least one monkey butler. Watch the trailer after the jump.

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‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ UK Trailer #2

Can you resist the grinning appeal of a new claymation animated film from Aardman Animation? I’m not certain that I can, if the first trailer for The Pirates! Band of Misfits is any indication. The film adapts Gideon Defoe‘s book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists — a loopy tale of high-seas misadventure and scientfic discovery — with a vocal cast that includesHugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen.

Here’s a new UK trailer for the film, which bears the original subtitle ‘In an Adventure With Scientists,’ and pushes the overall story structure more than the last US trailer, but keeps the levels of charm and appeal as high as the crow’s nest. Read More »

‘Arthur Christmas’ US and UK Theatrical Trailers

We’ve seen a couple teaser trailers for the Aardman Animation holiday film Arthur Christmas, and now, two full-length trailers are out. The UK trailer still shows a lot of the elements we’ve seen before — the North Pole as a high-tech gift processing center; Santa’s sleigh as UFO; and the geeky younger member of Santa’s family who acts as the title character — but it also shows off a lot more of the actual story that puts all those elements to work. There are also a few good, cheeky little jokes. And the US trailer has a slightly different approach to the same elements. Check out the trailers below. (Oh, and there are lions, too.) Read More »

Aardman Animation doesn’t just have the CGI holiday film Arthur Christmas to release in the next year. The company also has the stop-motion The Pirates! Band of Misfits, based in part on Gideon Defoe‘s book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists. The cast was announced not long ago, and is a thing of beauty: Hugh ‘News of the World Killer’ Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, Imelda Staunton, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, Brian Blessed, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen.

The trailer for the film hit today, and if you are (a) dissatisfied with the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, (b) hungry for anything new from Aardman, (c) ready to see a weirdly appropriate use of a Ramones song in a kids’ pirate movie, or (d) all of the above, check it out after the break. Read More »

New animation from Aardman Animation (Wallace & Gromit) is like a gift, so the company is (appropriately) making a Christmas film called, er, Arthur Christmas. We’ve seen one brief, cheeky teaser trailer, and now there is a second just as cheeky teaser to put you in mind of the November release. It’s good stuff; check it out along with a new poster for the film, after the break. Read More »

Sony and Aardman Animation have teamed for a new 3D stop-motion animated film, called The Pirates! Band of Misfits, based in part on Gideon Defoe‘s book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists. (Which is also the film’s title in the UK, I believe.) That isn’t news, but the first still, above, and the announcement of the full cast definitely is.

Aardman co-founder and Chicken Run co-director Peter Lord is directing the film, which is animated in the now-classic Aardman clay figure style, and he’s got Hugh Grant making his clay debut as the chap you see above. There are a bunch of other great names on hand to provide voices as well, and you can get the full list after the break. Read More »

Aardman Animation is moving into 3D CGI holiday fare with Arthur Christmas, which stars James McAvoy as the title character in a story “which at last reveals the incredible, never-before seen answer to every child’s question: ‘So how does Santa deliver all those presents in one night?’ The answer: Santa’s exhilarating, ultra-high-tech operation hidden beneath the North Pole.”

The voice cast also features Bill Nighy,Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Ashley Jensen, and now you can see a bit of the film at work. A teaser has just landed, and you’ll find it after the break. Read More »

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