Disney's A Christmas Carol
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
When I first heard that Walt Disney was producing yet another version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, I said, “Bah humbug!” Well, actually, I said, “What is the point of making yet another version of this story. Didn’t Disney do this once before with Scrooge McDuck as Scrooge and Mickey as Bob Crachet?” Then I found out that the lead role was to be portrayed by Jim Carrey and again, I said, “Bah humbug!” But when I found out that this version of A Christmas Carol was to be shown in 3-D animation and that the film was written and directed by Robert Zemeckis of The Polar Express fame, I decided that I wanted to see this movie.
So, I headed off to the theater, standing in line with dozens of teeny-boppers waiting for tickets to New Moon and dozens of other fatalists looking for tickets to 2012, humming Christmas carols to myself as I waited patiently for my Disney’s A Christmas Carol tickets. I was surprised when I received my 3-D glasses to go along with my tickets. Of course, when one sees a 3-D film, it is customary to receive the viewing glasses, but these glasses were not of the cheesy paper variety that I was used to. These were cool, sunglass-looking, plastic-framed glasses. Nice!
And then, I was in the theater, munching on popcorn and sucking soda through a straw. Seated in front of me was a young mother and her daughter, a young munchkin who was very excited to see this film. As the film began and the credits rolled, I could tell this was not going to be your everyday 3-D animated film. Gone were the cheesy 3-D effects of old. This film featured class act effects. Falling snow seemed to surround you. Characters seemed to be standing beside you. When things came out you from the screen, it seemed as if they were about to fall in your lap!
The story itself was not your average animated Disney film either. This was no watered down version of A Christmas Carol, but the closest I have ever seen an animated film come to the original story written by Charles Dickens. Anyone who has ever read this story about a greedy, old miser who learns the true meaning of Christmas would know that A Christmas Carol is actually a very dark tale with a message to impart to its reader. Sure, there are some humorous moments, but the message is the focus and its delivery is often dark and foreboding in nature.
Not being a fan of Jim Carrey, I found myself amazed at his perfect performance as the miser Ebenezer Scrooge. The likeness of the animated character to the actual actor was uncanny thanks to the performance capture 3-D technology used by Zemeckis in this film. I was also surprised to discover that Carrey leant his voice to the Ghosts of Christmas Present, Past and Yet to Come (a ghost that doesn‘t say much, but scares the heck out of you all the same). Gary Oldman surprised me, portraying Jacob Marley and Bob Crachet, two characters who couldn’t be more different from one another. Other notable performances come from Cary Elwes, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright Penn.
The soundtrack, composed by Alan Silvestri, was amazing - a perfect compliment to the action on the screen. For more about the Disney’s A Christmas Carol Soundtrack, visit http://www.g-pop.net/disneyschristmascarolsoundtrack.htm.
All-in-all, I must say that I truly enjoyed this rendition of A Christmas Carol. It marks the beginning of my holiday season, bringing to me a perfect retelling of a holiday classic. But I must warn you, this is a very accurate retelling of Charles Dickens’s tale. That being said, Disney’s A Christmas Carol is very dark and can at times be very scary for the little ones in your life. Remember that little girl seated in front of me - the one so excited to see the film? Well, she was trembling in her mother’s arms by the time Jacob Marley made his first appearance and the pair were leaving the theater before his exit.
This is not a film for small children, but for those of us adults who can truly appreciate the message Charles Dickens was trying to impart when he first penned A Christmas Carol. So bring your family…except the small ones…to check out Disney’s A Christmas Carol and enjoy the amazing animation and the dedication to the classic story we all know and love.