johnlink ranks A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009)

I have a special place for Dickens’ classic tale. The first plays I was involved with as a child were productions of A Christmas Carol by the Cumberland Company. The script had been fashioned by the theater’s artistic director and he had, smartly, mostly lifted the dialogue straight from the book. When I heard that Zemeckis did the same for his CGI film version, I was excited to see what would come of it.

I watched A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009) in theaters (and in 2D, I did not watch the 3D version) on 12.13.09. It was my first viewing of the film.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAIN THE SAME.

FILM

The animation here is mostly beautiful. Like early Pixar, Zemeckis’ effects team have a better time translating adults than children. Some of the children look soulless, alien. That may be a fault of rendering them in a computer, we lose that glow. For the same reasons (though with a positive result), this also works to make Scrooge more distant and cold. The time taken to make Scrooge perfect, to make the ghosts perfect, was certainly not spent on every other character. And that is a shame.

As for themes, you don’t need me to tell you that A CHISTMAS CAROL is one of the true pleasures of the holiday season. This version stays true to its source, and you feel Jim Carrey as Scrooge slowly turning. It does not make the mistake, as some do, of suddenly having Scrooge care about the Christmas spirit only once he sees his own death. We get the feeling that this Scrooge would have been better (though maybe not perfect) had he stopped after the Ghost of Christmas Present. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

I love this story, so it wasn’t hard for me to stay involved. I will say that the Ghost of Christmas Past was the weakest ghost for me (and I include Marley in this discussion), and the strongest was the Ghost of Christmas Present. SCORE: 7

ACTING

Jim Carrey does a spectacular job. I don’t hide my admiration for the man, but was curious to see how far he would take the joking. I was glad to see  restraint, and I think that the actor’s joy comes out wonderfully once Scrooge is turned. I loved his Christmas Present most of all. Pitch perfect. When I did that Cumberland Company show which I talked about at the top, we had a guy named ‘Tiny’ playing the GoCP, who looked exactly like Jim Carrey’s Present. Made it that much more fun for me.

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright being in a movie together again (though they had no scenes together) geeked me out. It made me long for THE PRINCESS BRIDE 25 years later. Maybe one day.

Gary Oldman was amazing as Cratchit, and though I know he ‘played’ Tiny Tim, he was unrecognizable. Colin Firth played a great Fred, and really did a god job of capturing the one character in the story who is always upbeat, always positive, despite what is happening around him. SCORE: 7

WRITING

Loved that he took the dialogue straight from the book. I was confused by the Christmas Future action sequence resulting in Scrooge getting tiny. I guess it was his way of making that beat longer. Perhaps there was a metaphor to be had, but it wasn’t subtly realized. SCORE: 6

BONUS

The score was awesome. I loved the variations of famous Christmas songs used to effectively heighten tense moments (it made the action sequence I mentioned above tolerable, for one). Wonderful job by Alan Silvestri. SCORE: 1

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 6; BONUS: 1

6+7+7+6+1=27

FINAL SCORE: 6.75

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~ by johnlink00 on December 14, 2009.

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