After experimenting with Motion Capture mixed with Computer Animation for both The Polar Express and Beowulf, filmmaker, Robert Zemeckis, (Back To The Future Trilogy, Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) decided to work on his next project involving a film adaptation of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. The book is one of Robert’s favorite books since childhood. During a two year gap of production, Robert recruited Jim Carrey to portray Ebenezer Scrooge, & The Three Spirits Of Christmas ranging from Past, Present, & Future, using Motion Capture technology to bring the characters to life.
A Christmas Carol was released in 2009. (same year James Cameron’s Avatar came out) Upon release, it received mixed reviews from critics. Like many of it’s predecessors from the past, this adaptation continues to air on television every December.
This review contains potential SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we all know what happens in the beginning, middle, and end of the story, because we’ve seen countless adaptations of A Christmas Carol. As in Shakespeare’s work adapted way too many times for many decades. Keep in mind, this is short review, because A Christmas Carol has been told too many times. There’s no need to go further detail about it.
Nice & Naughty Qualities
Nice: Jim Carrey did a fantastic job as Ebenezer Scrooge & The Three Ghosts. (excluding Jacob Marley, who’s portrayed by Jim Gordon/Sirius Black/Norman Stansfield) This isn’t the first time Jim portrayed an iconic character who despises Christmas, until he developed a change of heart.
A few Cast Members such as, Colin Firth, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins, & Gary Oldman, all did a good job on their performances. Cary also worked with Jim in Liar Liar.
Fun Fact: This isn’t the first time Gary Oldman worked with a Scrooge actor. Remember Michael Caine as Scrooge in The Muppets Christmas Carol? He went on to co-star in The Dark Knight Trilogy with Gary.
If you’re familiar with the ending, Character Development involving Scrooge, as he goes from a cynical greedy man, to a kindhearted gentleman who gives away most of his money to the poor people.
Like many countless adaptations, this film retains the book’s source material.
There are a few scares from certain scenes including Jacob Marley’s Ghost, and the infamous Ghost Of Christmas Future’s involvement, if Scrooge doesn’t turn into a nice guy, he’ll end up in his coffin.
Similar to The Polar Express, elements of action has been added to stretch the running time. For example, The Ghost Of Christmas Future chases Scrooge while he witnesses the people he knows meet their fates, as in Tiny Tim’s fateful death. Don’t worry, Scrooge redeems himself and Tim lives at the end. Those sequences resemble something off of any Uncharted video game makes me want to some quick time events.
The Animation looks amazing. Scrooge’s face is modeled after Jim’s appearance, alongside The Ghost Of Christmas Past.
Besides the animation, Motion Capture was used for the actors to bring the characters to life.
Cinematography was spot on descent without any technical issues present throughout.
One scene pays tribute to Back To The Future with Scrooge holding on to the back of a carriage. Robert Zemeckis himself, directed the Back To The Future Trilogy. Remember the opening scene with Marty going to school? Ring any bells?
Bob Cretchett breaks The Fourth Wall at the end of the movie. Did Robert watch Bill Murray’s Scrooged?
Naughty: Certain character designs are ugly looking like Kris Jenner without makeup. Yuck! They could’ve polished character models better if the animators took their time.
The Final Verdict: A-
My honest opinion about the 2009 version, has got to be my favorite adaptation of Charles Dickens’ beloved timeless classic right next to Scrooge McDuck in Mickey’s Christmas Carol & Bill Murray’s Scrooged. If you want to give this a watch with your family members, I highly recommend this picture.