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There is nothing wrong with changing a story so long as you admit to it. So unlike many children's films where a classic is ruined and the child grows up in ignorance and never knows the difference, this film has the charming idea of having live action Charles Dickens go to America and tell the story to an audience explaining it isn't quite the same as how he wrote it in the book, thus growing curiosity and encouraging children to read the true classics of this world. The only real fault with this film is its ghastly title (and possible when the child of ignorance disintegrates, being too scary for children). I admit as a film student I had very low expectations of ANOTHER adaption of A Christmas Carol but was for once very pleasantly surprised and refreshingly, no one bursts into song and no animals talk in this film. The acting is very good and the voice talents obviously cared about this job. How Scrooge acts after the ghost of Christmas Future and how he makes the Christmas miracles are more realistic than I've seen in any adaption for a long time. Things don't happen with a snap of the fingers and this children's film truly does give hope to the most desperate of souls.
I just want to start off saying I adore the story A Christmas Carol by
Charles Dickens, it is timeless and alongside The Nutcracker it is for
me the quintessential Christmas story. There are some good, great even,
versions of this classic, the Alastair Sim film(up there with It's a
Wonderful Life) as the ultimate Christmas film, the George C. Scott
film and Muppet Christmas Carol.
I wish I could add this film to the list of great versions, but sadly, I can't. For me, this is the worst version. However, it is not a complete embarrassment. Simon Callow is good as Charles Dickens and as Ebeneezer Scrooge, and the live-action opening scene is one of two good scenes the other being the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come sequence, Kate Winslet is charming and touching as Belle and of the soundtrack(which I quite liked) What If and the Charlotte Church song are the standouts.
I really wanted to like it, but I did wish Christmas Carol:The Movie- the ghastly, uninspired title alone is just one of the problems- wasn't so lifeless and dull. Two things especially made it so. One was the quality of the animation, the look of the film does look drab with flat colours, with the background art lacking fluidity and the character designs looking quite dated. The other is the storytelling despite the core of the story being there, the fact that there were changes didn't bother me actually, it's just that some especially the anthropomorphic mice were unnecessary, overly cute and interrupted the flow of the story far too much. The romantic subplot took too long to get going too, and the Walking in the air-like sequences are some of the film's better scenes visually but they too drag the story down to a lesser extent.
While there is the odd dialogue lifted from the book, most of it feels dumbed down and juvenile as if to appeal more to children or those who haven't read the story, which is what I felt similarly about most of the subplots. The voice cast Callow and Winslet aside are disappointing. They are talented but their dialogue is lacking. Jane Horrocks and Michael Gambon are fine actors and do fit into their roles well enough, it's just that the writing and storytelling disallows them into doing anything particularly special with them. The worst by far is Nicolas Cage, who doesn't work at all as Jacob Marley sounding very bored and monotone throughout.
In conclusion, two or three good things aren't enough to save this film. 3/10 Bethany Cox
I've probably seen every version of "A Christmas Carol" ever done. It's probably my favorite story. It's about pain and suffering and redemption. It's a wonderful ghost story. It has great characters and a great deal of sentimentality. It take a really good actor to pull off the character of Scrooge. Alaister Sim and George C. Scott are my favorites. The character has to have a link to an unhappy past. Cruelty is one thing, but we need some humanity as well. If he is not complex, he is nothing. This had potential. It has very nice animation. The problem, for me, is that Scrooge is too young. He has the angular face of a forty year old. His lines are delivered without any underlying emotion. I don't think the people doing the voices did much homework. Also, what's wrong with the original plot. Do people change it so they can put their own signature on it. This one isn't too bad, but it's so wooden. Those mice are also really annoying. If one wanted to take this to its logical end, London at that time, was overrun with disease ridden vermin, which did decrease the surplus population. Now, I know that's really harsh to these two little guys, but I would imagine that Scrooge would have as soon flattened them with a boot as look at them. You either make a commitment to tell the story, or you throw the whole thing out an ignore the elements. The mice should go. There's also a group of social issues that are just dropped in. All in all, however, it seems so lacking in pizazz. There is supposed to be elation at the end; even giddiness. There is nothing giddy about this film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Is hard to believe that this movie was directed by Jimmy Murakami, the
same director of the marvelous animated film "When the Wind Blows",
considering how bland and uninspired this film was.
The animation from this film was mediocre at best, with plain and inexpressive designs. On the other hand, the sceneries were quite beautiful and the atmosphere was more than appropriate for this kind of story.
If only the script wasn't so unconvincing, this would be at least something remotely tolerable. Too bad that this version of the story adds lots of unnecessary stuff that wasn't in the book and doesn't work here (Like the live-action sequences and the two annoying mice characters) Also, in this version Scrooge doesn't even look old.
While the music and voice acting from this movie were more than decent, and the beauty of the sceneries, this was a very disappointing animation, which was forgettable at best. But at least, it was better than the Robert Zemeckis' version.
I quite much liked this version. I know that the story of Ebenezer
Scrooge has been filmed many times but I don't care about that because
of the moral point of this story. And hey, how many Dracula movies are
The old-time animation was excellent and invigorating as I am quite bored with many modern day dull computer animations.
Mice were an excellent spice in the story. It looks like that many hate those mice and that they're not part of the story but hopefully everybody remembers Charles Dickens' lines in the start of the movie that this is not a straight adaptation from the book. Perhaps he just added those mice while telling the story? To me, mice didn't steal the story to themselves. The moral story of the original book is still there. And there aren't a director who didn't add something to the movie nevertheless what book says.
The ghost parts of the movie were marvelously made (especially the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come -part).
All in all, a well-made animated movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was only the second version of the classic story by Charles Dickens I had seen, and sadly it turned out to be one of the worst. The film opens with a quick live action piece where Simon Callow as Charles Dickens begins the story of A Christmas Carol, and then obviously it goes to animated story itself. You probably already know it, Ebenezer Scrooge is the grouchy cold-blooded businessman who refuses charity and hates Christmas. He is visited by Jacob Marley (Nicolas Cage) who warns him of the visits of the other three ghosts of Christmas Past (Jane Horrocks), Present (Sir Michael Gambon) and the silent Future/Yet To Come. After all this he obviously realises the true magic of Christmas, and promises to be nicer in future. The only changes I noticed to the story were Scrooge having mice as friends (a stupid idea), Scrooge's ex-love Belle (Kate Winslet) needing to see him to help at the orphanage, the Ghost of Christmas Present showing the two kids, "want" and "ignorance", Scrooge still gets haunted after being turned nice, and he's worried he can't keep his promise to stay nice. Also starring Rhys Ifans as Bob Cratchit, Juliet Stevenson as Mrs. Cratchit, Iain Jones as Scrooge's nephew Fred and Colin McFarlane as Fezziwig. The animation is not great quality, the actors have wasted their voices for a worthless piece of garbage. The only good thing that comes from this film is the good voice of Kate Winslet, singing the closing song "What If", as for the rest, it is just excruciatingly awful. Very poor!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If you are watching this with your kids, then you will be fine. It is
okay. A little dark until Scrooge becomes happier.
If you are watching this movie to compare it to the others. First, let's start out with the awful 1970s animation. Yes, I know that this film came out in 2001, but you wouldn't know it by the animation. Secondly, Scrooge was nice to mice? Scrooge!?! Really? I don't think so. Next, how could you have Scrooge throw a bucket of water onto Tiny Tim? Scrooge is a mean person, but an action like this would be out of character for him. He mumbles and grumbles, but he gets others to do the dirty work. Let's not even discuss the use of Nicolas Cage as Jacob Marley. Simply a horrible choice. You know, fifty years before this movie came out, the best rendition of this story was made with Alastair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. So, watch this one for your kids, then when they are old enough show them a GOOD movie like the 1951 Alastair Sim version.
Christmas Carol adaptations are ten-a-penny (or a "dime-a-dozen" since
most are from the US) but it would be a challenge to find one as awful
as this one. Only the Kelsey Grammar TV Movie is arguably worse.
In addition to the lifeless, uninteresting animation, we have a bunch of pointless additions to the story that do nothing except detract from the original ideas of the novel.
The film has a leisurely pace that will bore children (presumably the intended audience). It takes 30 minutes before the Ghost of Christmas Past turns up, the opening half-hour given to setting up characters such as Old Joe and a, frankly baffling, subplot about Scrooge's lost love Belle.
Yes, Belle (voiced by Kate Winslet) plays a much larger role in this film than other adaptation. Whereas it's assumed in other adaptations that Belle moved on from Scrooge, here she seemingly became a spinster and never really got over him; emphasised in the "What If" song, which appears, jarringly, towards the end of film.
It's a baffling decision, clearly made so as to give Scrooge a "reward" for his redemption (as if that isn't a reward in itself). It robs the story of the theme of "years wasted", to have Scrooge be given a second- chance at love with Belle.
Also strange, is how the visitation from Marley happens before Scrooge retires to his sleeping quarters. This also occurs before he's visited by the two gentlemen collecting money for the poor. This creates a odd sense that Scrooge isn't even perturbed by the visitation and is able to carry on his working day, despite having just been haunted!
However, perhaps the stupidest, most ill-judged part of this film, is when Scrooge throws a bucket of water over Tiny Tim, causing him to contract pneumonia again...leading, presumably, to his death. So in this version, Scrooge is *directly* responsible for the boy's passing. This film has the subtlety of a sledgehammer.
Oh, and I haven't mentioned the mice! There's two anthropomorphic mice in this who Scrooge takes a shining too. And that's the pre-redemption Scrooge, by the way. The, supposedly, nasty man is perfectly civil to the vermin long before he's "scrooged".
Positives? Well, perhaps it's worth mentioning that Scrooge finds it incredibly difficult to change his ways on Christmas morning. It's perhaps a little jarring to see an adaptation take this route, but I guess it's realistic that, after a lifetime of miserly ways, Scrooge isn't going to turn into Santa Claus instantly (a mistake that the Albert Finney adaptation was guilty of).
But that's all I can say that is good about this. I'm at a loss as to how this insipid thing attracted so many star names to lend their vocals. While I can accept that Nicolas Cage (as Marley) will appear in anything these days, I can't really explain the presence of Callow or Winslet.
Incidentally, the film now seems to be doing the rounds with the live- action sequences removed. While these are, essentially, irrelevant to the story, the removal of them means that both the start and end of the film is amateurishly abrupt. If you really must watch this, ensure it's the "full" version.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have seen four movie versions of the great novel in as many years.
Including one with Mr. Magoo! This one is a little different from most
of those I have seen; Scrooge's former fiancée Belle is Tiny Tim's
nurse. Because of their former relationship, Belle hopes to persuade
Scrooge to go easy on her hospital, which owes a great deal of money to
Scrooge's company. A lot of people are shown being taken away by the
police because they can't pay their debts. "Old Joe" is Scrooge's
collector (wonder what will become of him when Christmas Day gets
The movie features a couple of other new characters: Gabriel the mouse is a friend to the children at Belle's hospital. I'm not sure, but he may be one of the two mice that befriend Scrooge. One of the mice actually turns the evil miser into a kind and caring person--but only to mice. This mouse accompanies Scrooge on his journeys and, after Cratchit is unable to do so, tries to persuade Scrooge to read Belle's letter. The mice don't talk, but they do seem intelligent, and the one with the letter knows it is important and carries it whenever he is in "the real world."
Marley is quite scary as he appears in the office, not Scrooge's home. He must struggle to keep from being dragged out the window by his heavy chains, and when he finally leaves, it is with a bunch of demons. Marley and the demons return later to carry Scrooge away.
Tiny Tim's role is a little different. He starts out in Belle's hospital but gets to come home. Then he is unlucky enough to be one of the carolers on whom Scrooge dumps a bucket of water. So he gets sick again. He never does say the words "God bless us every one" that are so much a part of the story, and he does not go to church with his father. Though Cratchit does mention carrying Tiny Tim on his shoulder.
We also learn how Scrooge became such an evil man--I can't recall any version of the story going into this much detail. I have seen these topics covered briefly; Scrooge did not seem to be loved by his father, but he was expected to do all that was required to succeed in business, and this drove him to care more about money than anything else--which lost him the love of his life. His sister Fan was disinherited for marrying a loser (this is probably new), and Scrooge, who had proved he deserved it, got everything in the will.
More differences from the usual: Scrooge does change after he realizes he was dreaming, doesn't he? Well, he is so relieved here that he goes back to his old ways after an apparent change of heart during the visit of the final spirit. For about five seconds, until he looks in a mirror and sees a disturbing image. And when he does meet Belle, she is not that quick to forgive. This threatens to disrupt the happy ending we have come to expect.
Simon Callow did a fine job, though he didn't make quite the impression of, say, Alastair Sim. I didn't see any live-action introduction with Charles Dickens himself, but there was a narrator with the animation.
Kate Winslet also did a good job. Rhys Ifans (as Cratchit) and Iain Jones (as nephew Fred) were so kind despite the way Scrooge treated them. Most of the characters were well-acted.
The animation and background art were well-done. Certainly a step above the usual Saturday morning cartoons.
The background music was sufficiently creepy where it needed to be. It could also be somewhat cheerful. I liked the carolers who performed as people would have in the time of Dickens. I will say "Bah humbug" to two songs which reflect the style (though they don't go overboard with the instrumentals) of today's soft rock, Contemporary Christian and country radio formats. One was used with the closing credits.
As to whether this is appropriate for children, I would say it just depends on how willing they are to be scared (or how willing their parents are to let them be scared). Scrooge curses at his younger self, but these days you can say what he did with a G rating. The V-chip rating was TV-PG.
Should there have been another version? This one gave us just enough new insights to be justified.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The classic Charles Dickens tale becomes an animation starring the voice talents of Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Simon Callow and Beth Winslet et AL. Kate even provides a wonderfully haunting ballad which is used during the film and called 'What if' which is a song about lost love. There are two versions of the song, the film version and the music video version. The equally beautiful soundtrack is rounded out by the stunning vocals of Charlotte Church flanked by a full unison choir. You've never seen A Christmas Carol like this before, it's old fashioned, it's unpretentious, it's funny and it's sad all at the same time. A wonderful family experience.
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