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.

The teaser opens with a pretty great piss-take on Morgan Freeman and March of the Penguins, and then it moves into cute holiday film territory. Difficult to tell at this point whether the entire concoction will work, but I like this teaser quite a bit. And the sleigh-as-Close Encounters-style flying saucer is pretty good, too. Level of intrigue: rising.

Arthur LOVES everything to do with Christmas; indeed, he is the only one in his family still captivated by the magic of the holiday. Laurie will play Arthur’s older brother Steve, heir to the reins, a cool, incredibly capable guy who has given the North Pole high-tech efficiency, military-style precision. Broadbent plays Santa, who pictures himself as the guy in charge at the North Pole, but is now more of a figurehead as the operation has outgrown him. Nighy plays Santa’s 136-year-old father, Grandsanta, a cranky old codger who hates the modern world, is always grumbling that Christmas ‘was better when I was Santa’ and has a tense relationship with Steve, who he calls ‘A postman with a spaceship.’ Jensen will play Bryony, a lowly elf from the Giftwrap Battalion, with an eager-to-please attitude and an obsession with wrapping and bows. Imelda Staunton rounds out the cast as Mrs. Santa, dedicated wife and mother to her husband and sons.

As we previously reported, Sarah Smith is directing, with Barry Cook co-directing. The script is by Sarah Smith and Borat screenwriter Peter Baynham.

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