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A Christmas Carol (also known as Disney's A Christmas Carol) is a 2009 film adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 story of the same name. The film is written and directed by Robert Zemeckis, and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge.[4]

The 3-D film was produced through the process of performance capture, a technique Zemeckis has previously used in his films The Polar Express (2004) and Beowulf (2007).[4]

A Christmas Carol began filming in February 2008, and was released on November 3, 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures.[5] It received its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, which in 2009 had a Dickens theme.[6][7]

The film was released in Disney Digital 3-D and was the first Disney movie in IMAX 3-D. It is also Disney's third retelling of A Christmas Carol in 26 years, having released Mickey's Christmas Carol in 1983 (using the in-house Mickey Mouse & Donald Duck characters, as well as anthropormorphized animal characters from several Disney Classics) and later distributing The Muppet Christmas Carol for Jim Henson Productions in 1992, with Disney later acquiring the rights to The Muppets from Jim Henson Productions. The film also marks Jim Carrey's first role in a Disney film.

Plot

Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter and miserly old moneylender at a counting house in 1836 London, holds everything that embodies the joys and spirit of Christmas in contempt, refusing to visit his cheerful nephew Fred's Christmas dinner party with his family, and forcing his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off for his own family. That night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who had died seven years prior on Christmas Eve and is now forced to spend his afterlife carrying heavy chains forged from his own greedy ways. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer an even worse fate if he does not repent, and foretells that he will be haunted by three spirits that will help guide him.

The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge visions of his own past that take place on or around the Christmas season, reminding him of how he ended up the avaricious man he is now. He had spent much of his childhood neglected by his father over the holidays at boarding school until he was finally brought home by his loving sister Fan, who died prematurely after giving birth to his nephew, Fred. Scrooge later began a successful career in business and moneylending and became engaged to a woman named Belle, though she later called off the engagement when he began to grow obsessed with accumulating his own wealth. Unable to bear having to witness these events again, Scrooge extinguishes the spirit.

The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows Scrooge the happiness of his fellow men on Christmas Day. Among them are his nephew, Fred, who playfully makes jokes with his family at Scrooge's expense, and Bob Cratchit and his family, who are just barely able to make do with what little pay Scrooge gives Cratchit. Scrooge is touched by the Cratchits' sickly young son, Tiny Tim, and his commitment to the spirit of Christmas, and is dismayed to learn from the spirit that he may not have much longer to live. Before dying, the spirit warns Scrooge about the evils of Ignorance and Want, which manifest themselves before Scrooge as two snarling, angry, bestial children who are condemned to grow into violent, insane individuals.

The third and final spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, shows Scrooge the final consequences of his greed and even toys with him a few times (chasing him through the streets on a shadowy carriage driven by horses). Scrooge sees in this future that he has died, though there is more comfort than grief in the wake of his death, the men attending his funeral only going for a free lunch. In addition, Scrooge is robbed by his former maid, and even stripped of the clothes he was buried in. Tiny Tim is also shown to have died, leaving Bob Cratchit and his family to mourn him on Christmas. Unwilling to let this grim future come to pass, Scrooge begs to be given a second chance as the spirit forces him into his deep and empty grave to fall into his coffin, which sits atop the fires of Hell.

Scrooge awakens to find himself in his bed on Christmas morning, the three spirits having guided him over the course of one night, and immediately sets out to atone for his sins, making donations to the poor, attending Fred's dinner party, and giving Cratchit a raise to care for his family, allowing Tiny Tim to live. Scrooge spends the remainder of his life a new man embodying the spirit of Christmas itself.

Cast

  • Jim Carrey as:
    • Ebenezer Scrooge, Scrooge is the main character of the film. He is a cold-hearted, tight fisted, greedy man, who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness.
    • Ghost of Christmas Past, the first of the three spirits that haunt Scrooge in order to prompt him to repent. He shows Scrooge scenes from his past that occurred on or around Christmas, in order to demonstrate to him the necessity of changing his ways. He is depicted as a young, androgynous human with a waxy, candle-like body and a flickering flame for a head, who speaks in a dreamy, slow voice with an Irish accent, and sways about.
    • Ghost of Christmas Present, the second of the three spirits, who shows Scrooge the happiness of his nephew's middle-class social circle and the impoverished Cratchit family. He is depicted as a large, jolly man with red hair, a full beard, and a green ermine robe who ages rapidly while he is with Scrooge. He has a tendency to laugh heartily, even as he dies, and carries the sins of Ignorance and Want upon his person, in the forms of horrifying, savage children.
    • Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the third of the three spirits, who shows Scrooge the final consequences of his lifestyle if he does not change his ways. It is depicted as a large shadow in the shape of the Grim Reaper cast across the ground or a wall, and occasionally emerges into three dimensions to point at something or to chase Scrooge in a large, shadow-like horse carriage.
  • Robin Wright Penn as:
    • Belle, Scrooge's neglected fiancée.
    • Fan Scrooge, Scrooge's sister.
  • Gary Oldman as:
    • Bob Cratchit, the abused, underpaid clerk of Scrooge.
    • Jacob Marley, a former business partner of Scrooge. Having been dead for seven years prior to the events of the film, he visits Scrooge as a ghost and warns him of the three spirits that will confront him about his demeanor.
    • Tiny Tim, Cratchit's youngest son. His voice is provided by Ryan Ochoa.
  • Colin Firth as Fred, Scrooge's optimistic nephew and only living relative.
  • Cary Elwes as:
    • Dick Wilkins, Scrooge's old roommate.
    • Mad Fiddler
    • Businessman #1
    • Portly Gentleman #1, a man who requests from Scrooge a donation to those less fortunate.
    • Destitute Man #2
  • Bob Hoskins as:
    • Mr. Fezziwig, the proprietor of a warehouse business for whom Scrooge worked as an apprentice.
    • Old Joe, a fence who buys the belongings of the deceased Scrooge from Scrooge's old maid.
  • Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Dilber

Production

Zemeckis has stated previously that A Christmas Carol is one of his favorite stories dealing with time travel.[8] Carrey has described the film as "a classical version of A Christmas Carol [...] There are a lot of vocal things, a lot of physical things, I have to do. Not to mention doing the accents properly, the English, Irish accents [...] I want it to fly in the UK. I want it to be good and I want them to go, 'Yeah, that's for real.' We were very true to the book. It's beautiful. It's an incredible film." [9]

Reception

Box office

The film opened at number one in 3,683 theaters, grossing $30,051,075 its opening weekend, with an average of $8,159 per theater.[2] The film has come to gross an estimated $137,481,366 in the United States and Canada and $181,000,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $318,481,366.[3] In the UK, A Christmas Carol topped the box office on two separate occasions; the first was when it opened, the second was 5 weeks later when it leapfrogged box office chart toppers 2012, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Paranormal Activity despite family competition from Nativity!, another Christmas themed movie.

Critical reaction

Script error The film received mixed to positive reviews from US film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 55% of 169 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.9 out of 10. The site's general consensus is that "Robert Zemeckis' 3-D animated take on the Dickens classic tries hard, but its dazzling special effects distract from an array of fine performances from Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman."[10] Among Rotten Tomatoes' "Top Critics", which consists of popular and notable critics from the top newspapers, websites, television and radio programs, the film holds an overall approval rating of 46%, based on a sample of 28 reviews.[11] Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 55 based on 32 reviews.[12]

In his review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the movie four stars, calling it "an exhilarating visual experience".[13] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A, applauding the film as "a marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie".[14] Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film 3/5 stars, but claimed the film "is well-crafted but artless, detailed but lacking soul."[15] Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com gave the film a mixed review claiming the movie "is a triumph of something — but it's certainly not the Christmas spirit."[16] Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his review that the film's "tone is joyless, despite an extended passage of bizarre laughter, several dazzling flights of digital fancy, a succession of striking images and Jim Carrey's voicing of Scrooge plus half a dozen other roles."[17]

In the UK most reviewers criticised the technology, Daily Telegraph reviewer Tim Robey wrote "How much is gained by the half-real visual style for this story is open to question -- the early scenes are laborious and never quite alive, and the explosion of jollity at the end lacks the virtue of being funny".[18] Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian also criticised the technology "The hi-tech sheen is impressive, but in an unexciting way. I wanted to see real human faces convey real human emotions.".[19] Time Out London praised the film for sticking to Dickens' original dialogue but also questioned the technology by saying "To an extent, this ‘Christmas Carol’ is a case of style – and stylisation – overwhelming substance."[20]

Home video

Disney released the film on November 16, 2010 in a single-disc DVD, two disc 2D Blu-ray/DVD combo and in a four-disc combo pack that includes a Blu-ray 3D, a Blu-ray 2D, a DVD and a Digital Copy. This marks the first time that a movie is available in Blu-ray 3D the same day as a standard Blu-ray 2D, as well as Disney's first in the Blu-ray 3D market. The DVD contains deleted scenes and two features called "On Set with Sammi" and "Capturing a Christmas Carol". The Blu-ray 2D also has a "Digital Advent Calendar" and the feaurette "Behind the Carol: The Full Capture Motion Experience. The Blu-ray 3D has an exclusive 3D game called "Mr. Scrooge's Wild Ride".

The film is rated PG in Australia and New Zealand.

See also

References

  1. Barnes, Brooks (2009-10-26). "Disney Hopes Christmas Carol Lives Up to Its Blockbuster Marketing". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2009.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "A Christmas Carol (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Disney's A Christmas Carol- Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 2010-01-07. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fleming, Michael. "Jim Carrey set for 'Christmas Carol': Zemeckis directing Dickens adaptation", Variety, 2007-07-06. Retrieved on 2007-09-11.
  5. McClintock, Pamela (2008-02-07). "Studios rush to fill '09 schedule". Variety. 
  6. "Dickens theme for festive lights". BBC News. 2009-09-13. Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  7. Hall, James (2009-09-12). "Disney's A Christmas Carol will be theme for London's [[Christmas lights]]". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-09-13.  URL–wikilink conflict (help)
  8. Making the Trilogy: Part 1 featurette on the Back to the Future Trilogy DVD box set.
  9. "In the Future: Jim Carrey", ComingSoon.net, 2008-03-07. Retrieved on 2008-03-09.
  10. "Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  11. "Disney's A Christmas Carol: Top Critics". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-12-23. 
  12. "Disney's A Christmas Carol: Reviews (2009)". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  13. "Disney's A Christmas Carol Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  14. "Disney's A Christmas Carol Movie Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  15. Neumaier, Joe (2009-11-05). "Disney's A Christmas Carol in Disney Digital 3D: Blah, humbug! 'A Christmas Carol's 3-D spin on Dickens well done in parts but lacks spirit". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  16. "Disney's "A Christmas Carol": Bah, humbug!". Salon.com. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  17. Morgenstern, Joe. "'A Christmas Carol': Carrey, Disney Play Scrooge". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  18. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/6509001/A-Christmas-Carol-review.html
  19. Peter Bradshaw. "Film review: A Christmas Carol | Film". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 
  20. "A Christmas Carol Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved 2010-11-14. 

External links

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