Friday 27th November 2009

A Christmas Carol (3D)

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Year: 2009
Stars: Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman

I wasn't sure what to expect from this. I wanted to see it because, well, it's Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and I love it. Plus it's Christmas, right? Well, nearly.

First off, the 3D elements in this are beautiful. After Coraline, it's (so far) my favourite 3D movie. It looks stunning - from the incredibly real looking candles and holly to the snowflakes that feel as if they are actually landing on you, to flying scenes that really work in a Christmas movie (this is want The Snowman needed!), to things that are scary and dark enough to actually make you jump (well, I did).

A lot of the movie is also great. Lines are quoted direct from the Dickens novel, and in some respects the movie is incredibly faithful to the book. Of course, there are reimagining's of some scenes, but that's fine. For a story with so many adaptations, there has to be something to make it feel fresh.

However, there are problems too. First off, when kids watch this as their introduction to the world of Scrooge, Dickens and all that is wonderful about Christmas (yes, I'm biased, and no, I don't care), please point out that in the book a) no, Scrooge doesn't fly to the moon and b) no, he isn't chased by mad horses down dark alleys (or turned into a tiny squeaky thing for that matter).

Secondly, what was the point of making Jim Carrey play Scrooge and all the ghosts? He's great as Scrooge, and until the ghost of Christmas Past arrived in the story, it was an amazing movie. But then a rubbish looking candle with a Jim Carrey face and an awful "Irish" accent turns up, and I'm wondering if all the ghosts are going to be this bad... thankfully they improve. The ghost of Christmas Present looks much better (although still with a nasty Scottish accent), and the Ghost of Christmas Future is actually really impressively done. Always my favourite ghost, but here beautifully re-imagined.

The one other thing that bothered me a little was the use of stop motion. My opinion here may well have been influenced a little by a review I read a couple of days before seeing the movie, but certain characters just look odd in stop motion - Colin Firth being the most obvious example. It sort of looks like him, just a kind of creepy version. However, for many of the characters (Carrey as Scrooge for example, where they'd given him the traditional Dickensian nose and chin) I could see why they'd used it, so having the film in stop motion is less of an issue, more of a point I want to make.

Final point: the movie is somewhat creepier than you might expect. There are places where you'll jump, and small children are likely to be quite scared, especially in the first and last 15 minutes. It makes it hard to know exactly who the film is being aimed at, but I suspect it wasn't young kids!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (although I admit one of those points may be because I'm biased and love the story - but then if they'd really ruined it I'd have been very angry, so maybe it's a far score after all).

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About Me

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I live in Bristol with my husband Dan (who I married in July 2007), my son Joe (born 2012) and daughter Jess (born 2015). I work at UWE (the University of the West of England) in Bristol as a Research and Open Access Librarian. I'm orginally from Exeter, so moving back to Bristol is a bit like coming home - especially as I studied for my undergraduate degree here (also at UWE). I love travelling and movies, although I get to do a lot less of both since the birth of our children. Although we have still managed to fit in holidays to the Isles of Scilly, Chamonix and a summer in California since Joe was born.