5 out of 5
reviewer: Shannon H.
Charles Dickens’ novel A Christmas Carol is considered to be a piece of
classic literature and at the same time, a timeless Christmas story. The story
is so treasured and valued that many film adaptations have been made of it,
including one featuring Jim Henson’s Muppets and another featuring Disney
characters. However, this might just be the first film adaptation of Dickens’
classic to be featured in 3D and with the use of computer animation.
Ebenezer Scrooge (the voice of Jim Carrey) is a grumpy, stingy moneylender living in 19th century England. Seven years ago, he lost his trusted (and equally miserly) business partner, Jacob Marley. It is Christmas Eve and Scrooge is, as usual, in a non-Christmas spirit as people clear the streets. When he walks, carolers stop singing as he passes them on the sidewalk and well-meaning charity workers who do not know Scrooge’s personality are promptly shooed away. Even when his nephew Fred (Colin Firth) comes over to invite him to Christmas dinner out of the kindness of his heart, Scrooge complains that those who are not financially well-off should be more concerned with their money than celebrating the holidays. He also grudgingly gives his partner Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) Christmas day off, reminding him to show up for work the day afterward.
When Scrooge arrives home after work, he is spooked by some of the “shadows” that lurk in his house. He still tries to maintain his skepticism about ghosts while being confronted by the spirit of his dead friend Jacob Marley. Marley’s ghost then mentions to him that he will be haunted by three spirits over the course of a few nights in order to help him to become a much better person. What follows afterward is a series of adventures that force Scrooge to take a good look at himself and why some people hate him so much.
While this film is rated PG, it is by no means a children’s movie. There are several scary situations that may not be appropriate for those under the age of eight. Still, there is nothing objectionable except for one scene where Fred and his dinner guests are playing a guessing game and someone implies that his uncle Scrooge is an “a**” (in this situation, the meaning of the word is another name for a donkey). I came into this film expecting a children’s movie and was pleasantly surprised. Director Robert Zemeckis formerly hit a home run with a similarly made film, The Polar Express, which was geared toward children (and adults, too). This one is more of a “cartoon for grown-ups,” if you will and much of the conversation will go over children’s heads. Older children would enjoy it more and be able to comprehend the dialogue. Still, it’s a wonderful movie and it is best seen in 3D. My hats off to Jim Carrey for providing the voice to multiple characters and not just Ebenezer Scrooge (he also voiced Jacob Marley’s ghost as well as the three spirits). No stranger to period drama, Colin Firth was perfect as Scrooge’s nephew Fred and was perfectly animated as such. My only complaint was that some of the camera shots jerked around a little too much and it might make some feel a little dizzy.