As people may guess from the Rhapsodies annual Christmas story, Santa Claus has always been the favorite part of Christmas. When I was growing up I took great pleasure in deluding myself over his existence. (Technically I still do but it’s harder to fool myself these days.) I love all of the little details people have  come up with over the years trying to explain all of the things that makes the myth believable.

I’ve watched most of the Christmas movies featuring Santa Claus but there were still a few remaining so I decided to finish my holiday selection I decided to go with one of the best and one of the worst (but still entertaining.) of the jolly old elf.

Santa Claus - Arthur ChristmasFor our good film we have one of the first fully digital efforts from one of my favorite animation studios, Aardman Animation, with their second fully digital film, Arthur Christmas.

Ever wonder how Santa Claus delivers all those toys in one night? How he gets down the chimney, how old is he really? Well it turns out it’s done with a giant sleigh the size of a small city and an army of paramilitary elves who can leave toys at a speed of eight seconds a house. Santa himself is mostly a figurehead who delivers a single ceremonial present in each city. And Santa’s a dynasty with the Santa Claus we know and love being the twentieth one.

But he’s getting old and tired and it is assumed that the mantle of Santa shall be passed down to his oldest son, Steve who has been pretty much running the operation for years. But he has a younger son Arthur who loves Christmas dearly… but because he’s a bit of a goofball he’s left working in the mailroom.

However when a single child is missed do due to a slight snafu it’s up to Arthur to deliver the last present with the help of his grandfather, the previous Santa, and Bryony an elf from the wrapping department who takes her job way too seriously.

This is a great film both technically and artistically the attention to detail is amazing. You can spend hours watching this thing on freeze frame just to catch all of the details that Aardman sneaks into this.

Santa Claus Conquers the MartiansOn the other side of our coin we have Santa Claus Conquers the Martians a film I’ve seen just the tiniest bits of over the years which I was simultaneously didn’t want to risk seeing.

The film tells about Martian children intercepting earth television and becoming listless because they never were able to experience being children. To deal with that. The Adult martians travel to the North Pole to kidnap Santa and bring Christmas to Mars. However other Martians worry that Santa is a corrupting influence and try to kill him.

Make no mistake this is a very bad film. It has a shoestring budget , stupid script, and Santa Claus comes off as mildly psychotic.But at the same time it’s strangely charming and as a mostly forgettable film aimed at  little children it actually works in a brain dead kind of way.