A Christmas Carol (Disney)

PLOT:

On Christmas Eve in Victorian England, Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter and miserly old moneylender, holds everything that embodies the joys and spirit of Christmas in contempt, refusing to visit his cheerful nephew Fred’s Christmas dinner party with his family, and forcing his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off for his own family. That night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who had died seven years prior on Christmas Eve and is now forced to spend his afterlife carrying heavy chains forged from his own greedy ways. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer an even worse fate if he doesn’t repent, and foretells that he will be haunted by three spirits that will help guide him.

The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge visions of his own past that take place on or around the Christmas season, reminding him of how he ended up the greedy man he is now. He had spent much of his childhood neglected by his father over the holidays at boarding school until he was finally brought home by his loving sister Fan, who died prematurely after giving birth to his nephew Fred. Scrooge later began a successful career in business and moneylending and became engaged to a woman named Belle, though she later called off the engagement when he began to grow obsessed with accumulating his own wealth. Unable to bear having to witness these events again, Scrooge extinguishes the spirit.

The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows Scrooge the happiness of his fellow men on Christmas day. Among them are his nephew Fred, who playfully makes jokes with his family at Scrooge’s expense, and Bob Cratchit and his family, who are just barely able to make do with what little pay Scrooge gives Cratchit. The Cratchits also tend to a sickly young son, Tiny Tim, whose commitment to the spirit of Christmas touches Scrooge, who is dismayed to learn from the spirit that he may not have much longer to live. Before the spirit vanishes, it warns Scrooge about the evils of Ignorance and Want, showing them as terrifying, uncivilized children doomed to grow into savage, despicable individuals.

The third and final spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come,  shows Scrooge the final consequences of his greed. Tiny Tim has died, leaving the Cratchits to mourn him on Christmas. Scrooge has also died, though there is more comfort than grief in the wake of his funeral. In addition, Fred finds benefit from inheriting his wealth, and Scrooge is even robbed by his former maid. Unwilling to let this grim future come to pass, Scrooge begs to be given a second chance as the spirit forces him into his deep and empty grave leading all the way to Hell.

Scrooge awakens to find himself in his bed on Christmas morning, the three spirits having guided him over the course of one night, and immediately sets out to atone for his sins, making donations to the poor, attending Fred’s dinner party, and giving Cratchit a raise to care for his family, allowing Tiny Tim to live. Scrooge spends the remainder of his life a new man embodying the spirit of Christmas itself.

REVIEW:

A Christmas Carol has always been one of my favorite books. I’ve seen almost every version of this immortal story, and have to say that this is one of the best that I’ve seen.

Let me say that this is by no means the perfect interpretation of the book, but it is a very entertaining version. Before I go any further, let me say that normally I’m not a fan of 3D. These days it seems as though studios are just using it to jack up the prices of tickets, but it was actually worth it to see this in 3D. I can guarantee that when I see it on DVD in a few months, the experience won’t be the same. I still don’t think that 3D is all its cracked up to be, and definitely isn’t worth the extra money, but it is a different experience.

Many of the actors in this film lend their voices to numerous characters, not to mention their likeness. THe way these characters resembled their voices was scary. If I was an actor, I’d be wary of this technology. It could put me out of work.

Jim Carey really gets to show his voicing talent as Scrooge and the 3 spirits (only two of them speak). This is the kid of thing we expect from Carey, but Gary Oldman lends his voice to 3 people, as well. Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and Jacob Marley. I’ve often said that Oldman is very chameleon-like is his performances, but this takes the cake.

Speaking of Jacob Marley, his was kind of creepy at first, but once he jaw nearly fell off, it lightened the mood. Sort of in the same way Goofy does in the version with Mickey Mouse. I’ve always wondered why Marley has his jaw pulled up like that, and now I know.

The spirits are intriguing, as expected, but I would have never envisioned Christmas past as a candle, nor Christmas present as a giant who can’t stop laughing. Yes, that guy laughed the entire time he was on the screen. Every version of Christmas present has him as a jolly giant, but this one takes the cake. Its like he had some laughing gas before he came to Scrooge or something. Even when he was being serious, he was laughing. I didn’t know what to think.

It is quite obvious that studios are getting more familiar with this technology. The cinematography in this film, as well as the graphics proved that, especially in the scene with all the ghosts after Marley floats out of the window and the sequence with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Some live action films aren’t this good.

As I said before, this is one of the best version of A Christmas Carol. Personally, I prefer the George C. Scott or Mickey Mouse versions, but that could be because I grew up on them, and isn’t an indictment of this film. I’m just more comfortable with them. In time, I’m sure this film will find its place in the pantheon of Christmas films. In the meantime, with Christmas coming up, I can fully recommend this. Is it worth the extra few bucks for the 3D glasses? Yes, it is, especially since the experience you’ll get is so immensely different that what you’ll get when this is released on DVD, not to mention the fact that hey actually have parts of the 3D that could be scary to some.

4 out of 5 stars

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5 Responses to “A Christmas Carol (Disney)”

  1. […] gold standard by which all version should be measured up to. Including the newest incarnation of A Christmas Carol, none have quite been able to measure up. That just goes to show how well made this is. To top […]

  2. I saw A Christmas Carol because I was doing the play for school. I was really shocked to see Christmas Present because that was the part I had. To me he was a crazy fat guy with a beard who for some reason had 2 DEMENTED CHILDREN UNDER HIS ROBE!!!!!!!!!!!!(?) who withers away into nothing. Then guess what everyone got me for Christmas. A snow globe or tree ordament or trincket with him on it. Joy.

  3. […] Carol. Of course, said bias didn’t skewer my opinion of other versions of Scrooge in Disney’s or the musical version. I just didn’t feel anything for his […]

  4. […] look like they really take advantage of the technology, with the exceptions of Beowulf, Avatar, A Christmas Carol, but not many […]

  5. […] but it isn’t as hardcore as say, Beowulf (which technically isn’t a family film) or A Christmas Carol. Still, it is a great time to be had by all with fun, excitement, and even subtle references to […]

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