Having lent his voice to the upcoming movie Arthur Christmas, James McAvoy has some insight on the key ingredient for making cinematic holiday classics.
“That key ingredient is the threat that Christmas might not happen,” said the X-Men: First Class star recently in a phone interview.
“It’s an incredible thing — that all the kids in one night in the world get a gift by one guy.
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“That myth is so hard to protect and that’s what makes it so epic to do it as a movie.”
That’s precisely what happens in Arthur Christmas — an animated feature in which McAvoy voices the meek son of Santa who sets out to deliver presents to one poor child who was mistakenly overlooked by Old St. Nick.
“It’s very easy for these films to be generic and also to be just a little bit formulaic,” said McAvoy of holiday movies.
“(But) this film is an Aardman film.
“They make Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and they’ve made Flushed Away and all that. And what their movies have always had is exquisite detail as well as a fantastic sense of humour and real heart.”
There was certainly no shortage of detail in Arthur Christmas.
Featuring an army of Santa’s little helpers, the filmmakers reportedly created a few hundred thousand elf characters — even though McAvoy acknowledges moviegoers will hardly notice them all.
“The fact is, you don’t appreciate how many elves there are and how many different elves there are and they’ve all got personalities,” explained McAvoy.
“(But) that just adds to the overall thing I think and richness and integrity.
“But at the end of the day, it’s really just a good fun movie with a real solid Christmas heart to it backed up by all that detail.”