Aardman Animations, best known for the charming "Wallace and Gromit" cartoons, branched out from Plasticene stop-motion work to computer animation with Flushed Away (2006); this yuletide feature is the studio's second CGI project and the first in 3-D. The premise recalls those sophisticated lies parents cook up when their kids start asking logical questions about Santa: instead of a sleigh, the old man commands a gigantic spacecraft that dispatches elfin commando teams across the globe. The plot, though, is recycled from the Vince Vaughn comedy Fred Claus (Santa's duties are assumed by a goofy relative, in this case son Arthur) and the old Rankin-Bass special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (Arthur goes on a rogue expedition with a couple other misfits). Sarah Smith directed.
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