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November 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Arthur Christmas has already brought the gift of smiles to the faces of generally hard-boiled critics. It’s one of those animated films, they say, that parents don’t have to merely endure but can actually enjoy. There are “plenty of sly jokes for grown-ups,” Neil Genzlinger assures his readers in the New York Times, while Amy Biancolli calls it “a safe bet for all” in the San Francisco Chronicle. Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News praises its “witty sense of humor.” Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune was taken by the “tender and upbeat spirit [that] informs the writing and the execution.” But some critics regard the overall production with satisfaction. “The sheer invention is what gets you,” says the Orlando Sentinel‘s Roger Moore, who describes the movie as “a most welcome treat to find stuffed into the cinema’s stockings this holiday season.” This is the first 3D feature from the British animation house Aardman, famous for its claymation Wallace & Gromit TV shows and features. (Arthur is animated the new-fashioned way, by computer.) But several critics maintain that 3D does little to enhance the movie and is unnecessary. David Germain of the Associated Press adds: “Yet it’s nowhere near as unnecessary as the Justin Bieber music video of ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town’ that precedes the movie, in jarring 3D. Hearing Bieber’s take on the holiday chestnut in the end-credits is more than enough.”