It’s that time of year again when we’re about to be inundated with the Holiday spirit. Bah-Humbug! Our first film attempting to spread the Christmas joy (all the way in early November) is Robert Zemeckis’ latest live-action-animation, IMAX 3-D film A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carey multiple times over. This isn’t the original 1908 version, the 1938 film, 1951 adaptation titled Scrooge, or the 1949, 1971, 1982 (parts 1 and 2), 1984, 1989, 1994 (Flinstones version), 1997, 1999, 2000 or 2004 TV versions, or the straight to video versions by “Sesame Street,” “The Muppets,” or “Barbie”… but it sure feels a whole like all of them. The only difference is that this one is done in Zemeckis’ favorite half animation style and is in IMAX 3-D.
Is it worth it? Let’s discuss.
- Written/Directed: Robert Zemeckis
- Novel: Charles Dickens
- Cast: Jim Carey, Gary Oldman, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Colin Firth
You’ve heard it before… Charles Dickens’ timeless classic of an old miser who likes to say “Bah-Humbug” and must face the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet-to-Come, in order to save his soul. The journey reminds him of what he’s lost before and what he stands to lose if he does not change. Jim Carrey plays Scrooge, as well as the three ghosts (Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come). By the end (if you think this is a spoiler you probably thought someone telling you the boat sunk in Titanic was a spoiler) he finds the joy in life and Christmas and finally opens his heart to those around him.
- The Danger: This is a Christmas story that many parents are happy to plop their little ones down in front of while they sip the cooking Sherry (yes my references are dated). You can’t do that with this film. The set up is genuinely scary, extremely loud and the 3-D makes it literally jump out at you. I can’t imagine too many little ones sitting in front of this without crying and running out of the room, but for all us jaded adults it does give it something new and edgy to enjoy.
- The Humor: In some of the darkest moments Zemeckis is able to pull it back and make it fun again with the use of a few good jokes and Carey’s performance…
- The Ghosts of Christmas: Carey plays all the roles and does so very well. Even though they’re classic characters he’s able to bring some of himself to each of them. Even when the scenes are at their scariest, his humor allows for people to take a breath and enjoy his performance (especially with the Ghost of Christmas Past).
- The Story: You just can’t say anything bad about the actual story of this film without insulting Charles Dickens. It’s a classic. Sweet, predictable, you know exactly what’s next, but it’s still fun and in a way triggers memories of Holidays gone past.
- The Look: Zemeckis is going to keep using this style of filmmaking until it works damnit! At times, it’s absolutely beautiful to watch and something about it add to the perfect Christmas….
- The Eyes: Other times it still doesn’t work. After Polar Express everyone complained about the characters having “dead eyes.” The eyes aren’t dead in this film, but they are slightly delayed, which makes the performances, no matter how good they are, look slightly stilted.
- Unnecessary: I get that the look is cool, I get that it’s a classic and that everyone and their mom has recreated it so why not do something different, but is it really necessary? Can we not find the version we all love and rent it? Does this new style really warrant a new film? Is it worth all the money, time, energy to make something like this? Personally, I’m not sure. It was fun but nothing awe-inspiring. Please chime in if you feel differently one way or the other because I’m still undecided.
- The Pacing: We all know what’s going to happen, lets get on with it. There are moments where you wish things would speed up just a bit.
- The Last Line: As the film progresses so does the cheesiness. By the last line, it’s so over the top and shoved down your throat that you’ll be spewing Holiday spirit (and not in a good way). The start of the film and the fear was so strong, I wish the ending could have found a better place to go.
It’s a fun film, but it always has been. If you’re looking for something for the family, as long as you don’t have any kids 6 or under, it’s an easy to watch, remake of a classic. Nothing more, nothing less.
Check out the film in theaters November 6th!