The Christmas season is finally upon us, but if you’re not quite ready to dive into the festive spirit, here are a few films to watch around Christmas that aren’t too concerned with the holiday. Although, in case you have already festooned your house and are impatient for the 25th, there are a couple of films on the list to bolster the magic.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn and based upon the book by Neil Gaiman, Stardust is a magical film about young Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) venturing into another world beyond the Wall to find a fallen star and win the hand of his love (Sienna Miller). As it turns out, the star is revealed to be a young woman in serious danger from a group of witches determined to achieve eternal youth and beauty by carving out her heart. With a subplot revolving around a fratricidal monarchy, this is a great film to watch around the holiday season. It’s also narrated by Ian McKellen – what’s not to love?
Harry Potter (yes, all of them)
Whether you decide to watch the first or the last, any film in the franchise is definitely worth viewing, regardless of the time of year. Based on the work of the renowned author JK Rowling, Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) delves into the magical world of wizardry and revolves around how the eponymous protagonist navigates this dangerous yet spectacular world with friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson). As a childhood favourite of many, use Christmas as an excuse to have a marathon and watch them all.
The Chronicles Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Set in the wintry world of Narnia where the White Witch (Tilda Swinton) reigns, World War Two refugees Lucy (Georgie Henley), Edmund (Skandar Keynes), Susan (Anna Popplewell) and Peter (William Moseley), discover and travel through a magical wardrobe. They must fight with Aslan (Liam Neeson) and the variety of magical creatures they find there, to save Narnia from the witch and restore summer to the land. So, if you’d rather not face the bracing weather, stay in and watch Narnia instead.
Rise of the Guardians
This animated film has elements of the festive spirit, but primarily focusses on Jack Frost (Chris Pine) uniting with other famous, immortal guardians like the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Rabbit (Hugh Jackman) and the Sand Man to protect the world’s children from the hideous nightmares created by Pitch Black (Jude Law). Amusing and heart-warming, this film is a great addition to any frigid day.
It needs no introduction, but here you are just in case. Featuring many famous names, Love Actually presents nine complex and interlinking stories about different kinds of love. Set around the Christmas season, the film explores the lives of Harry (Alan Rickman), who is perpetually tempted to engage in an affair with his recently-employed secretary, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) who watches his best friend Peter (Chiwetel Ejifor) marry his beloved Juliet (Keira Knightly), and Daniel (Liam Neeson) help his step-son Sam (Thomas Brodie-Singer) win the heart of his crush after the loss of his mother. Comedic and entertaining, Love Actually is a perennial joy to watch.
Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Practically a classic Christmas film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is remarkable for its adaptation of the children’s book into a humorous tale of a recluse altered by Christmas spirit. Jim Carrey as the Grinch himself provides an entertaining, if somewhat bitter, protagonist that spurs practically any audience into laughter. As the Grinch attempts to ruin Christmas for the ridiculously jovial citizens of Whoville, fate falls on little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), to warm the Grinch’s cold heart to the festive cheer of the season.
Now this is most definitely a Christmas classic, and hardly needs an synopsis. Buddy (Will Ferrel) is the hilarious human surrounded by elves at the North Pole until he decides to search for his real father in New York, Walter Hobbs (James Caan). Buddy’s bubbly and childlike optimism conflict with his father’s sarcastic cynicism, resulting in chaos as they attempt to build a relationship. A favourite of many, Elf is a must-watch at this time of year.
The Polar Express
The Polar Express, an animation engineered by Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis, must be watched around Christmas – especially for those who typify another classic Christmas character: Scrooge. When a young boy begins to doubt Santa Claus he is swept on an adventure to the North Pole on a train, resulting in a firm re-establishment of belief after they arrive.
(Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures)