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While the 1951 Alistair Sim version of A Christmas Carol is the most
faithful to the original Dickens story, A Muppet Christmas Carol possesses
heart, whimsey, and a joy that is so very much lacking in our evermore
commercialized holiday season. Michael Caine's performance as Scrooge
easily surpasses those of Reginald Owen (1938), George C. Scott (1984) and
Patrick Stewart (2001). There is a more genuine degree of transformation
and redemption in his characterization than has often been portrayed.
makes the story a truly wonderful experience both for adults as well as
The use of the Muppets in the various roles makes for a lively film experience. Statler and Waldorf as Jacob & Robert Marley are appropriately heckling as they seek to convince Scrooge to change his ways. Kermit the Frog is a wonderfully sympathetic Bob Crachit just as Miss Piggy is appropriately and aggressively belligerent Mrs. Crachit. Perhaps one of the better-inspired comedy bits comes with the arrival of Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past at Scrooge's former workplace, described as "Fozziwig's Rubber Chicken Factory." Such bits are frequent and help to keep the story fun. Paul Williams' music score and songs are eminently singable and leave the viewer with a lasting memory.
A Muppet Christmas Carol has joined the pantheon of classic holiday films, easily ranking alongside Holiday Inn, White Christmas and A Christmas Story. It is the opinion of this reviewer that for those whom holiday films have become a part of holiday celebration should make this a part of their seasonal experience. One might even complete the film humming the tunes and thinking better of themselves as well as of their fellow humans. In other words, Henson and company have made Dickens story as memorable as Dickens himself wished it to be.
The number of Christmas films that would work well at any other time of
year can be counted on the fingers of a mitten, but THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS
CAROL is definitely one of them. Right from the glorious opening shot, as
Brian Henson's camera glides over a convincing Dickensian townscape before
coming to rest in a snowy town square teeming with surreal and hilarious
activity (fans of the show will get a big kick out of the speaking
vegetables and the brief cameo by lunatic boomerang fish salesman Lew
Zealand), you know you're in for something very special. Gonzo, the
self-styled connoisseur of pain, and his wisecracking little pal Rizzo the
rat take centre stage as the storytellers, setting the scene just before
Michael Caine as Scrooge (in one of his very finest performances) strides
around the corner and an already unfeasibly busy film bursts into
detailed and endlessly rewatchable life. The set design in this film is
amazing - check out the amount of action taking place at the windows, in
gutters, in the doorways and almost everywhere else - and the animation of
the puppet characters never ceases to be charmingly convincing. The
production design is also remarkably good - there's an early example
the first song, when the appearance of Caine causes a sudden shift in the
lighting and atmosphere from the warm glow of Gonzo's prologue to an
eerie pale blue light. Although Rizzo actually remarks on this, the change
is so subtle you probably won't notice it until your second or third
viewing, but you certainly will appreciate it, subconsciously or not.
than getting bogged down in special effects and technical wizardry for its
own sake, the scenes that utilize visual trickery are smoothly
into the flow of the story rather than being imposed upon the film as
self-conscious "set pieces" - take, for example, the Spirit of Christmas
Past's flight over London (our attention is with Gonzo's death-defying
method of hitching a ride), or the ever-changing size of the Spirit of
Christmas Present (clue - look in the background during the brief glimpse
the party being held in the mousehole), or the location segues during the
Spirit of Christmas Past's visitation. This approach benefits the film
immensely, as it never distracts or misleads the viewer - a lesson the
Disney company still refuses to take on board, as even their finest
are invariably laden with "showstoppers" that stick in the mind long after
the rest of the film has faded into distant memory. But the most
aspect of this beautifully subversive take on the beloved Dickens classic
that the core story, with all its attendant pathos, humour and timeless
theme of welcome redemption, is neither diluted or stripped of its
resonating power. Whilst the Disney animated version, in which Donald Duck
played the unscrupulous miser, fell on its face with its ceaseless
romanticism and stylization, this "Muppetational" version retains not just
Dickensian mood but, with the narration of Gonzo and much of the human
players' dialogue, a truly Dickensian flavour as well.
Besides, what's not to love about this film? It's virtually flawless. Kermit, as Bob Cratchit, remains one of the most loveable and endearing characters in the Muppet repetory company. Everything about this self-effacing little green frog is funny - the way he walks (slightly stooped), his half-dazed eyes, his voice, his ultra-expressive face...and if you don't double up laughing at his acapella sing-song with his nephew Robin (here cast, inevitably, as Tiny Tim) as they come skipping over the hill on Christmas day, then you should hire a stonemason to carve the word CYNIC onto your heart. And yes, Robin gets to sing again, Jerry Nelson making his voice sound uncannily like a child's with the charming "Bless Us All", a logical companion piece to "Halfway Down The Stairs". Waldorf and Statler, perhaps the show's ultimate cult figures, are finally rewarded with a scene-stealing turn as the ghostly Marley brothers, backed up by a chorus line of singing cash boxes (it's the Muppets, remember!); Fozzie bear is suitably overwhelmed as Fozziwig, the rubber chicken manufacturer (and his use of an ear trumpet in the closing scenes provide the hapless would-be comedian with his biggest laugh for decades); Bunsen and Beaker get some decent scenes as a pair of charity collectors (is it just me, or does Beaker flip the bird at Scrooge at the end of their first scene together?!); Miss Piggy makes a fine wife for Cratchit, and Animalgets a well-deserved close-up, although Dr Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are hardly suited to playing slow waltzes! Paul Williams's songs, on first hearing, are servicable rather than memorable, but after a couple of viewings they'll be as hard to get out of your head as "Rainbow Connection", and ultimately emerge as one of the reasons this film stands up to repeated viewings so well.
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL is a delightful family film, possibly too good for kids, but definitely worth dusting off at any time of the year, especially when you're feeling blue. Jim Henson would have been proud of this one.
This is just a wonderful telling of Charles Dickens great Christmas story.
The story being so good, you would have to try had to make a bad movie out
of it. But the Muppet Christmas is a splendid modern version which probably
Dickens himself would have liked a lot.
Other than Disney movies, the singing does not get on the nerves and the comic relief is actually funny. Muppet characters we have known for decades like Kermit and especially Gonzo are having great moments.
This is the perfect Christmas movie to watch with kids. It is something to lighten up your soul. And the fate of Tiny Tim is a cause for tears again and again, no matter how often you watch the film.
That question pretty much sums up my reaction to "The Muppet Christmas
Carol", a hilarious, yet touching film.
What did I like about the movie? Just about everything! Michael Caine made a great Scrooge, and this film showed us, possibly better than just about any other version I've seen, just how Scrooge came to be such a miser (although that could partly be because the versions I saw which really go into Scrooge's childhood were clearly adult versions, which meant they could be more subtle in their explanations). To Caine's eternal credit, he made Scrooge very believable, which is no small feat considering most of his fellow cast members were puppets.
And what about the Muppets? They were also brilliant! Kermit made an excellent Bob Cratchit, loyal and humble, and he had a wonderful tribute to Tiny Tim which also served as a brilliant tribute to Jim Henson. Miss Piggy was a great Mrs. Cratchit, feisty yet very loving toward Bob (the worst of her temper was thankfully muted by the story). Fozzie the Bear was a hilarious Fozziwig, and The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat made a great team, having some of the best lines out there (my favorite is Rizzo's "Light the lamp, not the rat! Light the lamp, not the rat!"). The ghosts were definitely believable (and in the case of the two Marley Brothers, hilarious as well). Incidentally, the original text had only one Marley -- Jacob, but to get the two comedians from the balcony in the story, Robert Marley was added.
Finally, the songs were rather good, with the best one (in my humble opinion) being "When Love is Gone".
So, I firmly recommend "The Muppet Christmas Carol" to one and all.
In terms of humor or songs, I can't honestly rank this was high as most
of the other Muppet films BUT it may be the most touching version of
the Dickens classic story I've ever seen on film.
The lyrics to the last two songs are fantastic: very Christian-like and very profound. Scrooge (Michael Caine), meanwhile, is not portrayed as some screaming maniac as he so often is in other versions. His transformation from cold-hearted tightwad to caring, generous person is done more subtly, too, than in other films. However, to be fair, sometimes the slapstick humor in here gets in the way of the touching story.
The last part of the movie is a lot sentimental drama than Muppet comedy and I found that refreshing. Not much offensive in here, either, making this a good film for little ones as well as older, sentimental folks.
A truly superb Christmas treat for old and young alike. This is the
re-telling of the classic Dickens novel 'A Christmas Carol'. Michael
is cast superbly as Scrooge but the muppet characters are absolutely
brilliant, particularly Gonzo and Rizzo.
The sets are excellent and the music stirring (so much so I bought the CD soundtrack and listen to it at the festive season whilst driving).
I never fail to watch this movie at least once a year and if you haven't seen it you should, it really does make you feel good.
This is an excellent re-telling of Dickens' classic, with the added twist of
Muppet humor and charm. The Muppet characters fit Dickens' characters so
well that it would be easy to think he had them in mind while writing. The
music adds a magic to the movie that brings out all the emotion that Dickens
wrote into the original novel.
This will be hard to top!
I love this movie. I am a big muppet fan, and when this movie came out on video I had to get it. Of course I was in third grade. I watched this movie all the time, and still do around Christmas time. Every December I watch this movie twenty times. Everything about this movie is great. The plot to the music. I especially like the music. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes the Muppets, or the story of The Christmas Carol.
Having seen previous Muppet offerings that were, frankly, banal this little gem almost escaped me. This film is best enjoyed if you already know the Dickens tale inside out so that you can relish the way it has been adapted to fit well-known Muppet characters and also so that you can spend you time watching for the throwaway comedy in the background. This is the same throwaway humour that Nick Park (Chicken Run) has become famous for. I recommend buying this movie on video and getting it out once a year, in the run-up to Christmas, as a family tradition.
A fine film that will put all you Christmas lovers into a
festive,Christmassy mood and even those who aren't so optimistic about the
festive season,it will definately lighten your hearts and cheer you up!
The traditonal story of Ebenezer Scrooge-who despises Christmas above everything else is closing up for Christmas Eve and goes off home 'humbugging' everyone who wishes him a 'Merry Christmas'.When he's sitting in his home,he's visited by his old fellow workers-Jacob and Robert Marley and they bring him the news that he will be visited by three ghosts that very night when the clock strikes one.Terrified,Ebenezer goes to bed and is visited by the three ghosts-the ghost of Christmas Past who shows him previous experieneces of Christmas in his own past,The ghost of Christmas Present who shows Ebenezer the present Christmas and finally the ghost of Christmas yet to come who shows Ebenezer his future-which isn't very good.Ebenezer is terrified and vows to change his evil,wicked ways and to rejoice Christmas. And so he does and makes everyone else around him happy.
A fine film portrayed brilliantly by Michael Caine and the muppets-Kermit the frog,Miss.Piggy and The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens narrating the film himself.The best out of them all!
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