From December 1st until Christmas Eve, here on the LAMB, we’ll be determining what is the BEST Christmas movie of all time. We’ve asked you all which films are the main contenders, and twenty-four of you replied with your choices, which will
bauble battle it out for seasonal supremacy. It’s a head-to-head, single elimination tournament, so whichever film wins today moves onto the next round. However, here is not the only place to vote. No, head to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see the same poll there, and it’ll be the total of all four results that determines the winner.
Today’s tinsel tussle is the first match in the proper bracket, now we’re done with the play-offs. The first match-up in the Mythology Group is between the number two seed, It’s A Wonderful Life, and the first play-off winner, Arthur Christmas:
It’s a Wonderful Life vs Arthur Christmas
It’s A Wonderful Life, championed by Amanda Kirkham from Hollywood Consumer
It’s A Wonderful Life is the quintessential Christmas movie. Set on Christmas Eve, it is the ultimate story of Faith, Family, and Friendship. A broken man, desperate in his darkest moment contemplates suicide. Divine Intervention steps in just in time to show him how valued life is, and how much one person can touch so many others. We, as the audience, witness George Bailey’s life, and what he has viewed as years worth of sacrifice, in a series of flashbacks. Wishing to never have been born, Bailey is shown, thanks to his guardian angel Clarence, an alternate world in which his wish is granted. After seeing how the lives of his friends and family are impacted by his own by seeing how things would have gone were he never born, George Bailey finally breaks the spell by crying out, “I want to live!” The film closes on Bailey’s friends and family coming through for him, paying back all those years worth of favors and sacrifice. The film is full of the theme of the Christmas spirit of giving, which we see in George Bailey’s flashbacks when he time and time again chooses to do the right thing over following his dreams, as well as in the final scene when his loved ones come to his aid. It also heavily features the Christmas theme of faith in the divine and your fellow man. God literally intervenes in George’s life by sending Clarence to save him. Then, again, through flashbacks, and the final scene we see that people can be good, and that human life is precious and more influential than some would believe.
If that’s not enough to convince you, how about the fact that It’s A Wonderful Life is used as ambiance in other classic Christmas films including Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Christmas Vacation, and Gremlins? Even other films (including contenders on this bracket) recognize its status as the ultimate Christmas movie.
Arthur Christmas, championed by Tony Cogan from Coogs Review
It’s fair to say that Arthur Christmas has become the go to Christmas film for my family now. Whilst we were a bit dismissive of it before seeing it, since it’s the only Aardman film that doesn’t have the look of an Aardman film, that impression was gone as soon as the film started. By using CG, Aardman was able to employ a much faster pace to the animation, which really gave the scenes with the elves a manic life, allowing Aardman to fit in dozens of jokes in the first scenes alone. It also helps that the main creative forces for the film, Sarah Smith and Peter Baynham, have extensive experience in British comedy, both of them being frequent collaborators with Armando Iannucci.
Aside from the jokes, there’s a strong heart behind Arthur Christmas. By focusing on the family dynamics of the Claus family, we get a heartwarming story about the nature of Christmas. The characters of Steve, Malcolm (Santa) and Grandsanta have become so caught up in their own ideas of how presents should be delivered and their own identities that they have lost sight of what makes Christmas such an important time. By making Arthur, the only one of the family who reads the letters sent to Santa, the main character, we see the joy of Christmas through his eyes and showing the importance of embracing both tradition and the new, making sure that all aspects of Christmas. the old and the new, are given the care and attention that they deserve.