It’s holiday time and you know what that means…that’s right, you’ve successfully procrastinated taking down last years decorations and won’t have to hear about it until mid January. God job! It also means it’s time to dust off time-honored holiday classics like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Let’s be honest about something, the story has been retold hundreds of times in hundreds of different ways so there’s no need to offer a synopsis of a tale that would be shameful to admit you don’t know. So let’s answer the important question. Why should you see this one?
Well, jaded moviegoer, this morality tale is a good one to refresh once in a while. Who can say that they don’t find themselves occasionally, if only briefly, tight-fisted in a culture of consumption and self-interest? This technologically enhanced retelling intricately recreates the story of miserly prune, Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation into a wildly benevolent citizen, bursting with Christmas spirit. No one truly identifies with his wealth lust and disdain for his fellow man, but his story may cause you to think twice before you pass the guy with the bell and red bucket outside of the supermarket.
Furthermore, the movie is just fun. Director and screenplay writer Robert Zemeckis (Polar Express) steps back into the animated holiday genre. The art and 3 dimensional images paint a vivid portrait of a mid-1800’s English town. Zemeckis’ use of motion capture technology (think Beowulf, 2007) is taken to stunning levels with the acting chops of Jim Carrey (Scrooge, all Christmas Ghosts) and Gary Oldman (Bob Cratchit). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Oscar nominations for the animation in this film. There’s plenty of action and a good touch of humor to counter balance some grim thematic material.
There are a couple of hesitations in this film. The dark nature of parts of the story may be heavy for very young viewers. Seriously, some parts were just scary. Also, Zemeckis uses much of Dickens’ original language. I found that stimulating but it could cause a disconnect for simpler ears. Bottom-line, this movie may not blow you away, but it is a fun holiday event that you and your family could enjoy, though, you may have to explain some parts to your 6-year-old . If all else fails, go see this film so you won’t risk accidentally seeing a replay of Ben Affleck’s yule log Saving Christmas on cable. In the spirit of “good will toward men,” I give Disney’s A Christmas Carol 3.5 babbles out of 5.