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

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

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.