A Christmas Carol

Why did Disney’s A Christmas Carol open so early? Well come now, it might only be early November in our simple UK minds, but you have to remember that with the American time difference… OK fine, we don’t know either. The obvious answer is so that Disney can ensure themselves a sledload of cash in time for New Year; a heart-warming Christmas thought indeed.


Generally, we have found that Christmas films fulfil two purposes:

1. Bring good cheer, happiness and lots of bright shiny colours to our cynical smog-filled lives

2. Keep Crimbo holiday children quiet and very much in a chair for a few hours.

Sadly, this new imagining of the classic Dickens’ tale does neither. Why? It’s bloody scary, that’s why. If you’re thinking about taking your 6 year old out on a lovely Christmas trip to the cinema, you might as well stay at home, wait for your poppets to go to sleep, then wake them at 4am dressed as a hellish demon screaming ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ right in their tiny faces.  At least you’ll have saved money on the tickets.

The film is designed to make you jump, make your heart race and stomach squirm in disgust at the visions of Christmas Past, Present and Future. One sequence (not in the original story, we clearly don’t need to add) sees Scrooge being pursued manically through the darkened and creepy streets of London by the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come. Call us old fashioned, but we found ourselves wishing Tim Allen would barge in wearing a comedy fat suit and a beard. Laughter? At Christmas? We must be mad.

We don’t really know who the director (Robert Zemeckis) is aiming this film at. It certainly isn’t the little ones. But likewise we doubt many surly teens are going to flock to coo over a motion-capture Tiny Tim. When we went, the  grown ups in the cinema were occupied either with covering their children’s eyes during ‘the horrid bits’, or looking rather angrily at the grownups whispering the words ‘horrid bits’ to their kids.

The frustrating thing is that it’s not a bad film. Far from it. The graphics are fresh and exciting, there are some breathtaking scene-scapes and Jim Carrey does a great job of encapsulating Scrooge through the ages. It’s just that this is not a Christmas film anyone will want to see.

In terms of Christmas-Dickens style, the obvious comparison to make is with the classic favourite, A Muppet’s Christmas Carol.  And special effects, beautiful pans across pixaleted skylines and the Almighty Disney stamp aside, the Muppets win. Hands down. Yes we can see the strings, yes we never get to see any character from the waist down because there is no waist down, but it doesn’t matter. It is a film filled with laughter, music and joy, and at the end of the day-shockingly enough- it’s these things we want from Christmas.

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