A Christmas Carol
As the spirit of Christmas approaches, Robert Zemeckis and Disney team up to bring us the age-old classic tale of Scrooge with the help of Jim Carrey and 3D. And the result is a colorful and enjoyable thrill ride with fine performances and 3D effects that unfortunately becoming increasingly distracting as the movie goes on [...]
As the spirit of Christmas approaches, Robert Zemeckis and Disney team up to bring us the age-old classic tale of Scrooge with the help of Jim Carrey and 3D. And the result is a colorful and enjoyable thrill ride with fine performances and 3D effects that unfortunately becoming increasingly distracting as the movie goes on and overshadows the emotions of the story.
Charles Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ has been made into a gazillion movies already so anyone should know about the plot. It revolves around Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey), a miser who loathes Christmas and treats everyone with cruelty. On Christmas Eve, he is visited by three spirits that reveal to him three different aspects of his past, present and the dreadful future that beholds him if he continues his ways, leaving him to decide what path he would select for himself.
What do Disney and Robert Zemeckis try to bring to this age-old tale? 3D, of course. Lots and lots of it. From snow falling into your laps to a virtual ride through the sky and to the moon, A Christmas Carol more than delivers on the 3D thrills, and because of that reason alone has to be seen in theaters if one has to experience it in the best possible way. Structured as a Disney theme park ride, this is probably the most exhiliartying 3D experience to date.
It does come with cost, though. As the movie goes on, the 3D sequences come to overwhelm the movie to a point that emotions and heart becomes shortchanges. For example, the touching moment when Scrooge sees the crippled Tiny Tim who loves the spirit of Christmas but will die soon as such as ‘Tiny Tim’ who will die because Scrooge pays a measly wage to his father Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) should have been a shattering and emotional realization, but here it is shortchanged and trimmed down in favor of 3D effects where Scrooge’s house has been lifted into the sky. We are never let inside the mind of Scrooge and told why he is the person that he is, which leaves him as an unlikable lead. Hence, Scrooge’s ultimate transformation as a better human being is not as effective as it was in the original fable.
The 3D also distracts in the third act with the introduction of the final spirit ‘The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come’. We get an overlong 3D sequence where Scrooge gets chased by a hearse carriage down the streets, turns into a miniature version of him, and finally evades them. Although the sequence is thrilling, it doesn’t end up effective since it has no bearing to the plot whatsoever and nothing about it is explained later on. Many such sequences turn the film into a theme ride experience which might appeal to the kids but adults are likely to get distracted and disappointed at the choice of style over substance.
The film is obviously being sold on the presence of Jim Carrey, and he more than delivers. As Scrooge, Carrey crafts a masterful performance and makes his version stand out by providing top-notch voice work that captures the character and even manages to bring his signature style of humor into the mix without interrupting the story. He plays nine characters in the film, and stands out in all of them. Gary Oldman plays his characters wonderfully and with emotion, and so does Colin Firth. The cast really elevates this into more than just a kid’s adventure.
Parents would like to note that although the film bears a G rating, there are a number of intense and scary sequences and imagery that push the rating to its limit. Caroline was the scariest kids movie I had ever seen, but now this one takes the cake. There are graves, dead bodies, dislocated jaws and certain 3D effects (visit by Jacob Marley is especially grueling) that may not bode well with the pre-teens so be advised that this is a dark ghost story for the most part.
Overall, Disney’s A Christmas Carol rides high on visuals and the power of its cast and ends up being a holiday film that has to be experienced on the big screen only and probably won’t be nearly as exciting on DVD. As an adaptation however, it lacks the soul and emotion that made the story a classic to begin with and instead focuses more on the thrills. If that’s solely what you’re looking for, you have to see it.