A Christmas Carol Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC A Christmas Carol Review

By Robert Mann.

Given that this is the umpteenth adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel, the story having already being adapted in almost every way imaginable, from The Muppets to Disney, from period drama to modern re-imagining, it is understandable that there will probably be a degree of fatigue with regard to the film’s inspiration – after all, is there really anything that can be done with the material that hasn’t already? Probably not, at least in terms of story as it appears that there will be little new or different in this area, the film appearing to be one of the most faithful adaptations yet. What this new adaptation is bringing to the table though is the manner in which it has been filmed. With director Robert Zemeckis at the helm, A Christmas Carol has been filmed using the same motion capture animation techniques that the director previously utilized to bring both The Polar Express and Beowulf to the screen, a technique that is still developing, consequently resulting in somewhat mixed receptions to those aforementioned films. However, trailers thus far have been extremely promising and it looks as though the technique may have advanced considerably since Zemeckis last brought it to the big screen, and thus A Christmas Carol actually has something that really makes it stand out from the ever growing crowd of Charles Dickens adaptations.

It’s Christmas Eve, and mean old miser Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is in an even worse mood than usual, barking orders at his hapless employee Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) and rudely rejecting an invitation to Christmas dinner from his nephew Fred (Colin Firth). But Scrooge is about to get a lesson he’ll never forget when, during the course of the night, he’s visited by three fearsome apparitions – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come (all Jim Carrey). One by one, the ghosts take Scrooge on a soul-searching journey back to his past and into the future to show him what might happen if he doesn’t change his wicked ways. With Christmas Day just hours away, will Scrooge be able to put his past behind him before it’s too late?

From a technical standpoint, there is much about A Christmas Carol that can be applauded. The motion capture animation is the most realistic yet with both characters and environments being almost life-like, and since The Polar Express and Beowulfconsiderable improvements have been made in the rendering of eye movements, something which allows emotions to be conveyed much more believably by the virtual characters. This, of course, is also aided by the performances though, with the principal performers all doing a very good job with their roles. The ever versatile Jim Carrey is fantastic in his multiple roles, giving each of the ghosts their own distinct personality and also portraying different accents for each role with a great degree of success. As Scrooge, he starts out immensely despisable – just the way the character should be – and makes us really believe in his redemption over the course of the film. Carrey is also backed up brilliantly by Gary Oldman (who also voices Marley and Tiny Tim) who, in the role of Bob Cratchit, is a truly likable and sympathetic screen presence, as well as a supporting cast that includes performances from Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn and Fionnula Flanagan.

The characters also convince because of authentic sounding dialogue, which is just one of the ways in which writer/director Robert Zemeckis’ script adapts Dickens’ novel for the screen literally. The only notable deviations from the source material seem to be several rollercoaster style sequences which have been included to make use of the 3D effects. The 3D is quite spectacular but Zemeckis doesn’t overdo it and it is actually some of the more subtle examples that really dazzle. In particular, in scenes where it is snowing, it actually seems as if it is really snowing in the auditorium. This is just one example of how the 3D heightens the realism of the beautiful animation that is on show. However, for all the film’s strengths, it is still far from perfect. From a story perspective the film has literally nothing to offer that hasn’t been seen before, all the effort clearly having been put into the visuals, and as a piece of family entertainment the film is also somewhat lacking. Younger viewers may find much of the film to be too slow paced and wordy, there is an absence of humour, and a lot of the content may to be too dark and scary for children, the ghosts being a creepy and haunting screen presence. These things don’t make this adaptation of A Christmas Carol a bad film but if you’re looking for a fun filled Christmas flick that will fill your kids with festive cheer this may not be it.

We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.

Trending on BRWC:

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

Horizon: An American Saga – Chapter 1

By BRWC / 9th July 2024
I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

I Saw The TV Glow: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 25th June 2024
Spirited Away: Review

Spirited Away: Review

By BRWC / 28th June 2024
Hit Man: The BRWC Review

Hit Man: The BRWC Review

By BRWC / 30th June 2024
X-Men ‘97 - Season 1 Review

X-Men ‘97 – Season 1 Review

By BRWC / 26th June 2024

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.