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A Christmas Carol (Blu-ray + DVD)
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Writer/director Robert Zemeckis adapts Charles Dickens' classic festive tale A CHRISTMAS CAROL as a star vehicle for Jim Carrey in this performance capture/Disney Digital 3-D animated film for all ages. Carrey not only takes on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, but all of the three ghosts who come to haunt him as well. The filmmaking process is in tune with the director's other animated outings, THE POLAR EXPRESS as well as the adult-themed BEOWULF adaptation. The fantastical morality play takes audiences on a thrill ride through Dickensian London, as it tells the story of grouchy Scrooge and his refusal to embrace the Christmas spirit. A midnight visit from the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come show him the error his ways, both old and new; such as how his miserly existence affects those around him including his loyal clerk Bob Cratchit (GARY OLDMAN) and cheery nephew Fred (COLIN FIRTH). Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes and Fionnula Flanagan also lend their voices in this spectacular adventure, that's guaranteed to chase the humbug away.
Fans of Robert Zemeckis's brilliant special effects, and of Jim Carrey's transformative acting abilities, will be swept away by their collaboration in the stunning A Christmas Carol. Perhaps more surprising is that Charles Dickens purists will also be impressed and captivated by this version of the oft-told tale--which is dark, complex, and in its way, uncompromising. Which is all to say that this Christmas Carol is an instant holiday classic, easily taking its place alongside the Alistair Sim version, the Patrick Stewart version, and even the Mr. Magoo version of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and his ultimate holiday redemption. Carrey is dazzling as not only Scrooge, the most miserable, and miserly, man in 19th-century England, but as the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. As with The Polar Express, Zemeckis animates the film over the actors' physical performances onscreen, but here, the emotion is intact--even heightened by the brilliant effects. Joining Carrey in the cast are terrific players, including Gary Oldman (Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and the ghost of Marley), Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins, and Robin Wright Penn. But the heart of the film is Carrey, whose dramatic acting has shone in films like The Truman Show and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. The emotional connection Carrey makes with his characters is what brings Dickens's classic alive--and what connects the viewer with the true spirit of the holidays. "God bless us, every one". --A.T. Hurley
Top customer reviews
For everyone else, this is a wonderful retelling of, at times, a truly scary ghost story. Robert Zemeckis has created a "Christmas Carol" that could have waltzed out of our imaginations, with a few transitional chase scenes thrown in for action. It evokes the emotions one feels the first time one reads the book. Dark humor sometimes scratches the surface of horror, but even the most disturbing images (such as the death of Christmas Present) are all in the story itself. There has been some upset that one sees the ragged Ignorance and Want as grown ups, but Zemeckis has hit the nail on the head there, in my opinion; It is, after all, supposed to be a horrifying sight, and the horror of ragged children is what they grow up to become.
Jim Carrey does a fine job in the voice-overs. His acting style is a bit over-the-top, but for animation it works very well. I am sure there was some artistic significance to the fact that he did all the Christmas ghosts as well as Scrooge. The job of the ghosts, after all, is to show him himself, but one could not have guessed that they were all the same actor until "Scrooge" himself points out a similarity at the end. The acting throughout is generally very sympathetic and sometimes even organic (which is high praise for a cartoon). Colin Firth as Fred is everything you would expect him to be, and the scene where Belle leaves Scrooge is the most realistic I've ever seen.
I wish that more detail of the story were included. The "cutting room" material includes the hearse riding up Scrooge's staircase, and Belle as a happy wife and mother, and I do not know why they were not included in the final product (especially the hearse, since Zemeckis used that very hearse with the last ghost). But the essentials are there for a well-paced film. I am still looking for the "holy grail" of Christmas Carols, but I am glad I have this.
But, at a PG, some scenes are very disturbing for children under 8, and for those with sensitive dispositions! Despite this being a spectacular film, it is also the darkest version I have seen. Marley's ghost is terrifying for some youngsters, and the wonderful ghost of Christmas present disintegrates into a laughing skeleton. Great if your kids find Harry Potter no problem; but take care with the sensitive souls!