A Christmas Carol

"Excellent"

A Christmas Carol Review


The quintessential Christmas classic gets yet another movie incarnation with this visually impressive version from effects wizard Zemeckis. For most of us, all the surprises here are visual, and it's well worth seeing in 3D.

For seven years after his business partner Marley dies, Ebenezer Scrooge (Carrey) ruthlessly pinches his pennies, underpaying his assistant Bob Cratchit (Oldman) and neglecting the family of his nephew Fred (Firth). Then on Christmas Eve, Marley's ghost informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three ghosts, and that night Scrooge takes a terrifying odyssey through his past, present and future, realising that he has completely missed the point of his life. And of Christmas.

Obviously, Zemeckis can't change anything about this story. So he dives in with gusto, bringing out the darker story elements, ramping up the physical slapstick and making Scrooge a bundle of grumpy humbug and comical bitterness.

Motion capture technology lets Carrey shine both vocally and physically (he plays Scrooge at all ages and also all of the ghosts), while Zemeckis reins in his zany excesses to keep the character relatively grounded.

None of the other characters develop much beyond their iconic surfaces, although the voice work is terrific across the board. And the faces and physicality of the actors are clearly visible on screen. They even interact realistically, although as usual there's a disturbing deadness in their eyes, which remains perhaps the last limitation of this kind of animation (and was also a problem in Zemeckis' other mo-cap films Beowulf and Polar Express).

On the other hand, the imagery is seriously eye-popping, with 3D snowflakes brushing against our faces as we zoom over and through the streets of 19th century London. Frequent swooping sequences are exhilarating, with imaginative touches along the way. And Zemeckis isn't playing it safe either; the film is packed with some truly scary moments, and the script approaches the story's resonant themes with subtlety and insight. Yes, the "God bless us, every one" message still rings loudly at the end. And even if it feels like a cliche to those of us who grew up on this story, younger viewers seeing it for the first time here will probably find tears in their eyes.



A Christmas Carol

Facts and Figures

Genre: Kids/Family

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th November 2009

Box Office USA: $137.8M

Box Office Worldwide: $325.2M

Budget: $200M

Distributed by: Walt Disney Studios

Production compaines: ImageMovers, Walt Disney

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 103 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Tiny Tim, Bob Cratchit, Marley, as Ebenezer Scrooge, Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come, as Funerary Undertaker / Topper, as Undertaker's Apprentice / Tattered Caroler / Beggar Boy / Peter Cratchit / Well-Dressed Caroler, Sage Ryan as Tattered Caroler, Amber Gainey Meade as Tattered Caroler / Well-Dressed Caroler, as Tattered Caroler / Beggar Boy / Young Cratchit Boy / Ignorance Boy / Young Boy with Sleigh, Bobbi Page as Tattered Caroler / Well-Dressed Caroler, Ron Bottitta as Tattered Caroler / Well-Dressed Caroler, as Beggar Boy / Young Cratchit Girl / Want Girl, Julian Holloway as Fat Cook / Portly Gentleman #2 / Business Man #3, as Fred, as Portly Gentleman #1 / Dick Wilkins / Mad Fiddler / Guest #2 / Business Man #1, as Fan / Belle, as Fezziwig / Old Joe, as Mrs. Cratchit, Molly C. Quinn as Belinda Cratchit

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Advertisement
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

The Big Sick Movie Review

The Big Sick Movie Review

It may be rather long for a romantic comedy, but this film has such a...

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

The Emoji Movie Movie Review

There's no reason why this animated comedy adventure needed to be this pointless. Solidly entertaining...

England Is Mine Movie Review

England Is Mine Movie Review

While this is billed as a film about The Smiths' singer-songwriter Morrissey, it's actually an...

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

It's been 20 years since French filmmaker Luc Besson shook up the sci-fi genre with...

Dunkirk Movie Review

Dunkirk Movie Review

Britain's epic 1940 evacuation of Dunkirk has been dramatised on film before, but no one...

Killing Ground Movie Review

Killing Ground Movie Review

From Australia, this dark and edgy thriller is skilfully made by writer-director Damien Power to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.