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‘Finding Nemo’ vs. ‘Arthur Christmas': You’ll Win Both Ways

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Two family movies. Two great movies. Two films that share diametrically opposed box office performances.

Finding Nemo and Arthur Christmas were recently released to Blu-ray and DVD, the former in Disney’s Collector’s Edition packaging, the latter for the first time since its theatrical release last Thanksgiving. Finding Nemo is generally regarded as one of the best animated movies of all time, and it is also one of the highest-earning Disney movies over that same period (all time). Arthur Christmas, meanwhile, was widely disregarded by audiences and bombed at theaters.

Arthur Christmas was somewhat foolishly released to theaters shortly before Thanksgiving. It didn’t burst out of the gate, which meant that by the time it had gotten to the lucrative period that is late December, it had faded too far to find financial success. It was unfortunate, because Arthur Christmas is one of the most earnest Christmas movies of the last decade, and equally entertaining.

As I said in my original Arthur Christmas movie review, “every scene oozes with Christmas spirit… Only time will tell, but it’s the first movie in a long time that has the potential to become a perennial Christmas staple. Such movies are rare, and families should take full advantage.”

Families didn’t take advantage last year, but hopefully they will this year.

The DVD, understandably, includes only a few bonus features, including an “elf recruitment video”, progression reels that show how the filmmakers created characters, and a largely forgettable promotion piece that tries to pass itself off as a making-of featurette.

Unlike Arthur Christmas, I did not love Finding Nemo out of the gate. I’m special like that. While I liked the movie, I never understood the massive appeal it received, especially when compared to some other Disney-Pixar productions like Toy Story or The Incredibles.

So, when I received it on Blu-ray a few days ago, I decided to finally give it another shot. The movie is beautiful in high definition, the special effects still impressive ten years later. It was funnier than I remember, and more off-the-wall than I recall. In other words, I enjoyed it much more the second time.

The Blu-ray combo pack includes several special features, including an alternate opening, deleted scenes and a “filmmaker’s discussion,” as is common with Disney releases. The discussion is interesting, but most bonus features have been included in previous versions of the movie. Still, to see the film in high definition is worth it.

Two family movies. Two great movies. Two movies worthy of sitting on your shelf.

But if you have to choose… go with Arthur Christmas.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Animated Movies, Comedies, DVD Releases, Family Movies, Movie Reviews
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