A Christmas Carol
Disney Digital 3D
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman
Release date: November 6, 2009
Even though I haven’t even put the Halloween decorations away, this past Friday I went to see Disney’s A Christmas Carol because, well, it combines two of my favorite things: Disney and Christmas! I chose the Disney Digital 3D version as opposed to the IMAX version, since I had my 5-year-old, Mini CrueChik, and my 8-year-old, WiiDude (he picked that tag, is he cool or what?), with me and I thought the IMAX version would be too intense, mostly for the little one.
Disney’s version of the classic Charles Dickens tale did not disappoint. The opening scenes, with credits still rolling, were absolutely breathtaking, flying over a snow covered Dickensian London. Your first glimpse of Ebenezer Scrooge comes as he’s grumping down the street, humbugging at carolers and children playing in the snow. Scrooge is voiced by Jim Carrey, whose face is definitely hidden in the animation of the ultimate miser.
The beginning of the story was a little slow for Mini CrueChik and WiiDude, but I appreciated Disney giving a little backstory on just how screwed up Scrooge is, like seeing him remove the tuppence from the eyes of the corpse Jacob Marley, his lifelong friend and business partner, before allowing the undertaker to take him away (eww).
The story then forwards seven Christmas Eves later, and good old Marley, played by the fabulous Gary Oldman, pays Scrooge a little visit to warn him to change his evil ways…or else. Oldman has multiple parts, voicing not only Marley’s ghost, but also a young Marley in flashbacks as well as Scrooge’s long-suffering clerk, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim. To me, Oldman was most recognizable as Marley’s ghost, I pegged his voice after the first words past his ghostly lips — which, by the way, are attached to his creepy ass jaw that apparently is tied up to his head for a reason (this was the scene in which we almost lost Mini CrueChik, she spent the duration of the movie in my lap).
The three ghosts Marley warns of come for their fateful visits to the frightened Scrooge, and each of them is more spectacular than the last. They are all voiced by Jim Carrey, who gives a distinct personality to each one. The Ghost of Christmas Past has a flaming head like a candle and carries a snuffer – which Scrooge makes the unfortunate choice of trying to use to get rid of the pesky spirit… bad move dude. During his visit, we are given a peek into why Scrooge has become an unhappy Christmas-hating miser, left at boarding school over Christmas as a young boy by what is hinted at as an uncaring father. We’re also treated to a meeting with the jovial Fezziwig, voiced by Bob Hoskins, who Scrooge apprenticed for in his younger, happier years. Hoskins portrayal of Fezziwig was one of my favorites, he was immediately recognizable and fit the character to a T.
The next spirit is the Ghost of Christmas Present, a markedly more kind spirit…or is he? I thought this was the coolest of the spirits, wearing a green sort of Santa suit and appearing on a stack of yummy goodies. The colors and animation during these scenes are the most memorable, with bright green pine garlands and glimmering Christmas lights surrounding Scrooge as the spirit showed him glimpses of Christmas celebrations of those he has scorned for so many years. Here we meet his nephew Fred (voiced by Colin Firth), son of his beloved sister Fan (Robin Wright Penn), who unlike Scrooge, seems to try to see the good in everyone.
Scrooge’s final ghostly visitor is the Grim Reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (WiiDude was in a tizzy waiting to find out if we were going to see his face or not…I’m not going to tell), who manages to shrink old Ebby down and sends him on a trip through merry old London’s sewer system, riding icicles and trying various other routes in an attempt to escape his fate. The fate, of course, is Scrooge’s own lonely and miserable death, with no one to mourn him and grateful servants stealing from his deathbed. But of even more concern to a newly empathetic Ebby, is the impending death of Bob Cratchit’s delicate son, Tiny Tim. It is this that sends Scrooge running to his window on Christmas morning to find out if he’s too late to make a difference. The kids and I all giggled through the scene of Scrooge hanging onto the back of a horse and carriage and “skiing” through the streets of London, whooping and hollering the whole way — a move that, earlier in the movie, he had humbugged and called the kids doing it hooligans.
I left the theater feeling like hauling out the holly and trimming up the tree before my spirit fell again. Alas, it is too soon for that. But I will probably go see this one again a little closer to Christmas, it was that enjoyable.