Skip to comments.A Christmas Carol opens today
Posted on 11/06/2009 9:10:38 AM PST by raccoonradio
Robert Zemeckiss A Christmas Carol opens today to a chorus of negative reviews and a rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes. A particularly harsh assessment comes from Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal:
To put it bluntly, if Scroogely, Disneys 3-D animated version of A Christmas Carol is a calamity. The pace is predominantly glacialthat alone would be enough to cook the goose of this premature holiday turkeyand the tone is joyless, despite an extended passage of bizarre laughter, several dazzling flights of digital fancy, a succession of striking images and Jim Carreys voicing of Scrooge plus half a dozen other roles. Why so coldhearted? Scrooges nephew, Fred, asks the old skinflint. The same question could be asked of Robert Zemeckis, who adapted and directed the film, and of the company that financed it. Why was simple pleasure frozen out of the production? Why does the beloved story feel embalmed by technology? And why are its characters as insubstantial as the snowflakes that seem to be falling on the audience?
And thats just the first paragraph of his review. I watched this short clip from the film, and it is sufficiently inept enough to prevent me from wanting to see any more. What did it for me is the scene at about 1:15 in which a ghost floats rapidly towards Scrooge and knocks him backwards. Scrooge then does a backroll and pops up off the floor in a way that is so comically devoid of the laws of physics and inappropriate to the physical movement of a realistic human that all dramatic impact is instantly drained from the scene. This film may technically qualify as animation, but good animation it isnt.
Zemeckiss desecration of this holiday classic comes at a reported cost of $180 million, and box office projections range between $35 to $45 million this weekend.
Rent or buy An American Carol btw--David Zucker's right-friendly spoof of the classic tale, which of course the left-leaning movie critics hated, hated, HATED. It IS funny...
Zemeckis directed the Back to the Future films IIRC as well as the innovative-for-its-time live action/cartoon blend Who Framed Roger Rabbit (in which the 'toon bunny left fingerprints on chairs, spat out real water, etc.)
If I want to watch Christmas Carol pop in the George C Scott version in the DVD player. This Zemeckis version sounds like an disaster. Wonder how much Jim Carrey got paid?
And really though, I've seen adaptations of A Christmas Carol. And maybe someone will get it “right” every now and then, but I don't need to see 400 different interpretations of Scrooge.
Good message. But give me something new.
A Christmas Story was something new. And it became a perennial.
Hollywood has COMPLETELY run out of ideas.
And now it's as old and stale as a Y2K fruit cake log.
A published review trashing the movie - based on just a _short_clip_? WTH?
My take from the preview is that this may be the first visual version of A Christmas Carol to actually achieve the surreal/supernatural visuals depicted in the book: ghostly Marley, flame-headed Past, even the Marley-morphing Knocker.
Yes, the digital technology is well within the "uncanny valley" of just-not-quite-perfectly-human (a disturbing nuance), so I'll overlook such imperfections insofar as the director is pushing & improving 3D and motion-capture technology into the future (from Polar Express to Beowulf to this).
I thought Polar Express 3D was fantastic, and Beowulf a step forward from that. Yes, I'll be shelling out IMAX 3D money for this one - and I'm rather scroogeish about going to theaters these days.
I haven't seen that version. George C Scott is so permanently tied to Patton in my head that my first thought was Scrooge with an army helmet on. "I want you to remember that no bastard ever earned money by working on Christmas. He earned it by making the other poor dumb bastard work on Christmas."
Maybe it’s the historian in me, but I love “things old” around Christmas. And the way I get my “fix” is to re-read A Christmas Carol every year—the book is better than any movie (and it’s a pretty short read, too). I never get tired of the way that wonderful story is written; parts of it are pure poetry.
That's what makes it work with GCS as Scrooge.
Give it a whirl...
I’ll stick with Bill Murray’s “Scrooged.”
BTW: Ebert gives it 4 stars, lauding its proper use of 3D (this from a critic who hates 3D in movies), and extending the acting beyond the actors per se.
I COMPLETELY concur!!!
I don’t know how it could be improved. It’s so much fun to read, so inviting in its conversational tone.
Just take a look at a few of the beginning paragraphs:
“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail...
Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise? Scrooge and he were partners for I don’t know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event, but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnised it with an undoubted bargain...
Scrooge never painted out Old Marley’s name. There it stood, years afterwards, above the ware-house door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names. It was all the same to him.
Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn’t thaw it one degree at Christmas.
External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn’t know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often came down handsomely, and Scrooge never did.”
"You gotta remember to put the glasses on right kids! If you don't get don't even get ONE-D! You get a HALFA-D!!"
Note: the part in the middle probably should have been isolated, italicized, etc.; that part was from an article/review in the WSJ, but Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew was basically saying “the movie opens today, and I saw a brief clip” which he didn’t like...anyway, apparently the reviewer in question AFAIK saw the whole film. Amidi is declaring he saw the clip and wasn’t impressed...
It got a rave review from Evangelical film critic Ted Baehr.
Might I recommend the 1951 “Christmas Carol’’ with Alastair Sim? The best Scrooge ever and the best “Christmas carol’’ ever filmed.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.