Holiday Movie Month: ''A Christmas Carol'' Review

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Miser Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, what opportunities he wasted in his youth, his current cruelties, and the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is faced with his own story of growing bitterness and meanness, and must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption.
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Holiday Movie Month: ''A Christmas Carol'' Review

Rating: PG
Length: 96 minutes
Release date: November 6, 2009
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Genre: Animation / Comedy / Drama

There are many versions of the movie ''A Christmas Carol,'' which is based on Charles Dickens' 1843 novel of the same name. Since its publication, the book has been adapted numerous times for theater, opera, television, and film. One of the most recent film adaptations of ''A Christmas Carol'' is Walt Disney Picture's 3D version. Its director, Robert Zemeckis, also directed ''Who Framed Roger Rabbit,'' ''Back to the Future,'' and ''Forrest Gump.'' This 2009 animated motion picture stars Jim Carey (“Bruce Almighty”), Gary Oldman (“The Book of Eli”), Colin Firth (“The King's Speech”), Bob Haskins (“Doomsday”), and Robin Wright (“Forrest Gump”).

Carey plays Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy, cold-hearted, miserable man who hates Christmas and all other things that make people happy. At the start of the film, Scrooge attends the funeral of a former business partner named Jacob Marley. Seven years after the funeral, Scrooge is still bitter and unhappy, and he refuses to involve himself with anything that will bring him or anyone else joy. Scrooge's employee, Bob Cratchit, works very long hours and is underpaid. Despite Cratchit's loyalty to Scrooge, Ebenezer refuses to pay Bob enough money to feed his family a decent Christmas dinner. Scrooge also refuses to visit his overly cheerful nephew, Fred.

One night, Scrooge receives a visit from the ghost of Jacob Marley, his former business partner. Like Scrooge, Marley was also a money-hungry man. During his visit, Marley tells Scrooge about the miserable afterlife he has been forced to endure due to the greedy ways he had when he was alive. Jacob warns how Scrooge's fate will be far worse than his own without some major changes. Marley also informs Scrooge that three spirits will soon appear to guide Ebenezer in the right direction.

Like Marley predicts, Scrooge receives visits from three spirits: the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. The Ghost of Christmas Past appears first in the form of a tiny flame to help Scrooge understand why he became so bitter and miserable. Scrooge dislikes the holiday season so vehemently because it reminds him of his father's neglect, his sister's untimely death, and the failure of his engagement to the woman he loved. Ebenezer puts out the ghost's flame, and the ghost unceremoniously sends Scrooge back to his bedroom.

Next, the Ghost of Christmas Present appears amid a display of holiday decorations to show Scrooge how his present actions impact the people closest to him. The ghost shows Scrooge's nephew, Fred, joking about him negatively. This spirit also shows images of Bob Cratchit's family, and Scrooge sees that Cratchit cannot adequately support his family due to his low salary. Scrooge is especially touched when he learns that Cratchit has a sickly young son who is on the verge of death.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come appears last, and Scrooge learns that nobody mourned his death when he died. Ebenezer's former maid had robbed much of his wealth, and Fred inherits the remainder. Scrooge also learns Cratchit's son, Tiny Tim, has deteriorated so much that he is on the verge of death. Scrooge is horrified and decides to make a change. Ultimately, Ebenezer Scrooge changes his previously selfish ways, making amends to those he had wronged. He goes to Fred's Christmas party and gives Cratchit a raise.

Unlike many other adaptations of ''A Christmas Carol,'' the dialogue in this film is very similar to that in the original 1843 book, which might seem odd to those unfamiliar with the way people spoke in the 18thcentury. Also, parents with small children should know that, although ''A Christmas Carol'' is an animated Walt Disney film, it contains some adult language and a few scenes that might be frightful to young viewers. The ghost scenes especially have a frightening element to them, and its being a 3D film makes these scenes even more dramatic. Some critics also complained that, although the film is phenomenal, it lacks the joyful tone most Christmas movies have.

Jim Carey does a phenomenal job in this film as Scrooge and as the voices of the three ghosts. In fact, Carey won the 2010 Kid's Choice Award for Favorite Voice in an Animated Film. Zemeckis also received lots of praise because, like most of his films, this movie featured many state-of-the-art special effects.

Rating: 3 out of 5