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Mercredi, 23 Novembre 2011 02:05

Making Arthur Christmas' Sci-Fi Sleigh

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The central question of Arthur Christmas is almost as old as the holiday itself: How does Santa do it — for real? The family film’s answer, which is slightly less than traditional, involves gizmos, networking, a control room that looks like the future of NASA and a sleigh that could have soared out of Star Trek.

That sleigh — the S-1 — was created by the animation wizards at Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman Animations (Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit).

“Before any designs existed, the persistent image in my head was the gigantic craft from Independence Day,” writer Peter Baynham said in an e-mail to, discussing Santa’s sci-fi conveyance in Arthur Christmas. “But instead of being packed with heartless aliens bent on mankind’s destruction, it contained a million elves intent on delivering Christmas presents. And it would be red. That seemed important.”

It’s more than just red — it’s filled with every possible gadget a geek would dream of needing to bring millions of presents to children on Christmas Eve, including a video skin that makes it invisible, a food gun that feeds pesky pets to silence them and totally green technology that turns milk and cookies into fuel.

Check out the public-service announcement above detailing NASA technologies that were (sort of) used in the film, then click through the gallery to see early production designs for the S-1 and its environs.

Arthur Christmas, rated PG, opens Wednesday.


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