This fairly faithful adaptation of Dickens’ classic comes courtesy of Robert Zemeckis. Like Beowulf before, this capture the actors on a sound stage first and is animated later. The process is impressive, yet also starting to show holes in its worth.
It is animated in a style that begs the question: why not use real actors? Most of the big effects sequences used in the film, film-makers are more than capable of bringing to life around real actors. It isn’t saying that animation is a bad way to go – just a bit pointless perhaps.
The other hindrance here is that A Christmas Carol is a tale that has been told so often, it is hard to breathe new life into it. The last time anyone put a really decent spin on the yarn was when it was removed to modern day in Richard Donner’s Scrooged. Since then we’ve had everything from TV adaptations to Muppets. It is perhaps too soon to “Wow!” us with another retelling.
Credit is due where it belongs though, and the team have put in an impressive effort. The voice cast are mostly overworked taking on several roles each – from lead man Jim Carrey to support players Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins and so on. Scrooge himself is a Victorian Mr Burns in the best way possible. It is only the ghosts that come to haunt him that sometimes fall a bit flat – an oddly Irish Ghost of Christmas Past and an overbearing Present who feels the need to bellow with laughter every 5 seconds.
The disc sadly doesn’t have much in the way of extra materials. We are shown the behind the scenes in a short featurette, a humorous look at the T-Pose that actors have to assume. A decent commentary wouldn’t have gone amiss. Sadly being Disney they grab the most irritating hosts possible who were in smaller supporting roles in the film including a young girl who clearly has been making too many middle class American adverts by the fact that she pulls a huge toothy grin at the end of every sentence.
We don’t want to sound too Humbug and if you haven’t read or seen an adaptation in a while then this is perfectly acceptable. As the season to be jolly fast approaches, it might be worth filling someone’s stocking with it.