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A Christmas Carol
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Reviews & Ratings for
A Christmas Carol More at IMDbPro »

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174 out of 207 people found the following review useful:

Do some basic research parents

Author: kevcom from Hawaii
12 November 2009

I read that this film has been labeled by parents as a "Disney Bomb" because it's too scary for their young children. Parents who take kids to see any movie need to be aware of something: if it's rated PG there are likely going to be scenes that your six year old will not enjoy -- even if the name Disney is attached to it. The cutesy versions of A Christmas Carol (The Muppet Christmas Carol and Disney's own Mickey's Christmas Carol for example) have little in common with the classic, and sometimes very scary Charles Dickens story. The plot should be familiar to just about anyone who has been alive sometime during the past 150 years, and the fact that there are spirits (ghosts) in the story should also be a red flag to parents. Especially since two of them are downright frightening in just about any version of the story.

The truth is that this is one of the most beautiful and faithful remakes of the Dickens classic. The dialogue is taken nearly word-for-word from the book, and the look and feel of the film brilliantly capture what you would imagine wintertime in London in the 19th century to be like. A few of the special effects are a bit over-the-top, but most work well and add enough pizazz for cynical modern-day audiences. The scenes featuring the Ghost of Christmas Present are worth the price of admission alone.

Once every few months I'm dragged kicking and screaming to see a new film. I can't stand wasting my hard-earned dollar on the crap Hollywood throws at us these days, but every once in a while I'm pleasantly surprised and thoroughly enjoy a movie. This was definitely one of those rare times.

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98 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

not quite a Disney story

Author: Maria Ioana from Romania
3 November 2009

Jim Carrey is full of surprises and the entire movie is a theatrical outburst of his talent, under the brilliant direction of Robert Zemeckis. Brilliant because it manages to make take the Dickens story and walk us through all its dimensions, without fear of sadness and, in the same time, he has the cold blood to use the magic wand for a happy end. I wasn't a big 3D fan until this movie, maybe because I didn't see any possibility to enrich the classical format, perfect as it became with the years... 'A Christmas Carol' gains a lot from 3D being a sensorial experience enhanced by IMAX technology.

All in all, it's not a story for kids, because it's rather disturbing and contemplative. Gary Oldman's pointing finger will stay with you for a while... It's an enchanting story and I encourage you to go and see it.

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84 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Both children and adults will gain more from this experience than most family films.

Author: Troy_Campbell from Sydney, Australia
6 November 2009

After directing The Polar Express in 2004, Robert Zemeckis vowed to only make 3D movies using motion-capture technology from then on, never to return to traditional live action films again. What? How could he? Moviegoers everywhere were bemused at how the bloke who gave us Forrest Gump, the Back to the Future trilogy, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Contact and Cast Away could settle for some silly 3D business. Perhaps Zemeckis was smarter than us all though, his pledge to developing a decent 3D output coming half a decade earlier than most. It seems he was on to something.

It is credit to Zemeckis though that his use of 3D isn't the drawcard for this wonderfully told fable, it purely enhances it. The opening title sequence is one of the most breathtaking of the year, as we soar over - and through - the old Victorian town in which Scrooge inhabits in only one shot. It doesn't end there however, with no less than two more flying scenes and a splendid chase sequence on foot, which capably show what mo-cap and 3D are capable of. One small gripe, as was present with Up, the glasses still make everything darker and subsequently duller; especially as this picture is intentionally not well-lit to begin with.

We all know the famous Charles Dickens novel for which this is based on and Zemeckis stays faithfully close to it, unworried about making a family movie that has very few laughs. Let's face it, the story of Scrooge isn't meant to be a light-hearted laughfest. With demonic horses (complete with glaring red eyes), ghosts with broken jaws and men withering away to a skeleton, this is anything but a hoot. But is that a bad thing? Not at all. In fact it is a relief to see a movie for young (but not too young) and old that doesn't shy away from evoking feelings of fear and regret rather than always sugar-coating them with funny moments. If dealt with rightly, emotions like these can be healthy and will have a longer lasting effect on you and your kids than something that only makes you laugh.

Providing the voice of Scrooge from childhood to old-age, along with the three Ghosts of Christmas, Carrey does a fine job, even with his normal over-the-top voicing toned down a few hundred decibels. He is barely recognisable in all his parts - a result that I'm sure Zemeckis would have been aiming for - which allows the characters to stand on their own two feet rather than be a typical Carrey product. The experienced supporting cast of Oldman, Hoskins, Firth, Elwes and Wright Penn add a nice level of class to the proceedings.

The dark and morose atmosphere might at first shock, but ultimately both children and adults will gain more from this experience than most family films. See it on the big screen.

4 out of 5 (1 - Rubbish, 2 - Ordinary, 3 - Good, 4 - Excellent, 5 - Classic)

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61 out of 82 people found the following review useful:

Better than I thought

Author: mccurdy444 from United States
9 November 2009

I took my grandson to see this, but I was dreading it. I'm not a Jim Carrey fan but it's a Christmas movie, after all , so I bit the bullet and we saw it at the IMAX in 3-D.

The visual effects are great, even though a lot of it was :"Look, we have 3-D!" They stayed very close to the original story, though they added a miniaturization segment that was unnecessary. Carrey was muted and did a great job with some occasional clowning around. It was actually scary in some parts, as it should be, but not overwhelmingly, and there were some laughs as well.

I have always enjoyed this story, because it's one of redemption, and there is no better time than Christmas to tell it. It shows people being compassionate, even in the face of someone as seemingly heartless as Ebeneezer Scrooge. I was first exposed to this story as a little boy watching the animated version with Mr. Magoo that came out in 1962 and is shown every year on TV. There are many such movies that define the season and I truly expect this to be one of them, along with Christmas Story, Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, and It's a Wonderful Life.

Like the Macy's Parade, we all have our list of must-see holiday movies, no matter how many times we have seen them. I really expect this to make this list, with one caveat- I'm not sure how well the non 3-D version will translate to the TV screen. But the story is timeless and this movie does a good job of telling it.

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31 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A new twist on "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey in several roles...

Author: Neil Doyle from U.S.A.
19 November 2009

From an artistic viewpoint, the new Robert Zemeckis film from the man who gave us THE POLAR EXPRESS, is another of his animated features using the motion picture capture technique that allows the actors to play several roles. The cinematography is exceptionally well done.

JIM CARREY, as miserly Ebenizer Scrooge, looks nothing like his real self. He's a perfect Scrooge, using his voice and mannerisms to great effect, never overplaying the role as you might expect he would.

The visit from three spirits is more frightening than usual, since Zemeckis decided to throw everything he could into startling special effects--sometimes with very gruesome results. The sight of Marley's Ghost with a flapping jaw that has to be realigned by Marley is just one of the "extra" touches. Some of the "spirit" scenes are too intense for small children, more likely to frighten them than anything else.

There are times when the story remains very faithful to the Dickens book, sometimes even word for word. But when Zemeckis decides to show off that the camera can do with flying aerial scenes zooming over Victorian London, it begins to stray a bit. Biggest stray is a chase scene that has a miniature Scrooge going through drain pipes to escape an oncoming coach and horses trying to run him down.

The lovely score by Alan Silvestri blends perfectly with the on screen action and includes a number of traditional Christmas favorites. GARY OLDMAN and COLIN FIRTH do well in key supporting roles but it's really Carrey's show all the way. He plays several main characters with great skill.

Not quite as festive as you might expect, it's a darker version of Scrooge, handsomely executed so that many of the scenes look like Victorian illustrations from the novel.

Warning: This is not a child's version of the tale. Parents should be advised that some of the content is too gruesome for young kids.

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39 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

a high-point for director Zemeckis, and a good step forward in motion-capture

Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
9 November 2009

I wonder if Robert Zemeckis weren't a filmmaker if he would have become a pilot. Look at his films and you may find a recurring shot in them, if not all then at least a good lot of them: a shot up in the sky, flying around and bringing the audience along (i.e. the feather in Forrest Gump, the pull-back through the valley and mountains in Beowulf, Back to the Future with the flying Dolorean), and here too are shots like that, more than one in fact. It's exhilarating to see Zemeckis at a mastery of this particular shot, and in the full scope and awe in 3D it's even stronger to watch and wonder 'how did they do it(?)' With motion-capture, anything is possible... except, sadly, making one feel a true emotional connection to the material.

Oh, don't get me wrong. It's an improvement over The Polar Express, whose creepiness was more unto itself and jarring as opposed to serving the story, and one can already see advancements in the technology from Beowulf, which was also lots of fun and had an edge to it allowed only with the digital animation. But for some reason- maybe my heart is a lump of coal or I wasn't in the right Christmas spirit or something- the material in the film didn't connect with me, except those moments that were funny (intentionally or not, sometimes due to Jim Carrey's performance), and it became something peculiar. It's a story that is practically timeless, and the director is at the top of his game, almost at the same control of the medium for a particular story like Forrest Gump or Back to the Future - maybe more-so.

It's also still a WOOSH experience, not carrying the same time and effort for characters to really feel fully human before our eyes like, for example, Up did back in the summer. I mention all of this first since the story we all know pretty much (as an aside, I kept thinking back to the first incarnation of the story I saw as a child, the Muppet Christmas Carol, and marveled at how both that and this film kept much of the book's dialog and storytelling devices exactly), and it's almost pointless to recant it here. What is paramount to mention though is that Zemeckis, in keeping with the tone of the original Dickens text (and having the clout that he has), makes it a true Victorian horror movie.

It should be said also that children will be hit or miss with this version; while they'll delight and be awed by the animation and moments of craziness (my favorite being the scene with the ghost Marley and his entire presentation before Scrooge, unhooked jaw uneasily included), they may be put off by the "old" language, some of it in that olde 19th century English Dickens wrote in. Perhaps this is why, against his own better judgment, Zemeckis decided to add in a few scenes to change the very faithful adaptation, the key one being the chase through the streets of London in the Christmas-Future sequence. This is smack dab in the middle of what is the best segment of the film - seeing death as a silhouette with a bony finger and Scrooge's stark pleas is truly chilling - and it suddenly makes it also the worst. It kills the tension and makes a strange sensation: does one laugh at a tiny-voiced Scrooge running around like a mini Daffy Duck cartoon while he's supposed to be facing down his own demise? It's entertaining to watch, but awkward to behold at this point of the story.

That the motion-capture, for all of its beauty and detail in the faces and people and locations and dazzling set-pieces, doesn't engage on a purely spiritual level (not even to the extent that 'Muppet Christmas' did, that at least had the ghost of Henson on the production to keep things truly haunting), is somewhat forgivable for what Zemeckis does accomplish here. He puts a modern spin on a classic tale, makes it approximately dark and mostly uncompromising for all ages- adults will jump possibly more than the kids at the WHOA effects- and Jim Carrey is nothing short of astonishing.

Carrey plays Scrooge in such a bravura way that only calls attention to itself as a dramatic part (only toward the end, when he becomes "happy" Scrooge are there a few unintentional laughs), and it may even be the best Scrooge seen in many years in any medium. Added to this are his *other* parts in the film, as the ghosts of Christmas past and present, the former creepy just on the pronunciation of 's'. Others like Gary Oldman and Colin Firth come off more or less fine if not remarkable (Oldman as Marley is fantastic - as Cratchit, a Oldman-faced Hobbit, is another thing).

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46 out of 74 people found the following review useful:

A Fun Ride! - Must see in 3D

Author: lucas9109 from United States
6 November 2009

A Christmas Carol was very entertaining and the animation was superb. You must see it in 3D! However, kids who go and see this movie probably won't understand the majority of the dialogue and will probably get lost. It has a lot of adult situations and the accents are pretty thick as well. Also, don't let the PG rating fool you. It's actually quite mature and in my opinion it's more suited for adults than kids as far as the dialogue and story goes. I think both kids and adults will love the animation and have a lot of fun - especially in 3D! Unfortunately, that might be the only thing the kids will like...Nonetheless, it's a great film and it's definitely Oscar worthy for the animation. I'll definitely be seeing it again in theaters and in 3D!

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23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

God Bless Us Everyone

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
30 March 2010

In the Victorian era of the United Kingdom, the stingy and cranky Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) that hates Christmas and people loses his partner Jacob Marley in a Christmas Eve. For seven years, he runs his business exploiting his employee Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) and spends a bitter treatment to his nephew and acquaintances. However, in the Christmas Eve, he is visited by the doomed ghost of the chained Marley that tells him that three spirits would visit him that night. The first one, the spirit of past Christmas, recalls his miserable youth; the spirit of the present Christmas shows him the poor situation of Bob's family; and the spirit of future Christmas shows his fate. Scrooge finds that life is good and God bless us everyone, changing his behavior toward Christmas, Bob, his nephew and people in general.

This dark adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens to the screen is one of those optimistic films that follows the style of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" and it is impossible not loving it. The redemption of the mean Ebenezer Scrooge in a Christmas Eve is one of the most known worldwide novels and this animation produced by Disney Company follows the style of Tim Burton and may not be the best adaptation to the cinema, but it is indeed effective and a good family entertainment. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Fantasmas de Scrooge" ("The Ghosts of Scrooge")

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Fine Interpretation for Adults: Not for Children

Author: gradyharp from United States
25 December 2010

What would Christmas be without a visit to Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol', a story that dates back to 1843 and has been loved and read every year at this time? There have been other films, stage productions, musicals, and family readings galore and it still holds the magic of what the spirit of Christmas is all about. Doubtless there will be flocks of naysayers who don't buy into this adaptation by Robert Zemekis, but given the ghost story magic Dickens' created, this film takes it one step further and makes the ghostly three spirits very much alive and beautiful fanciful.

Combining the actors with animation (animating the actors might be a better way of describing the magic) makes each of the many very well known actors who portray the characters that much more credible. Jim Carrey is at his peak as an actor in his ability to become the illusions his mind creates: he portrays all three ghosts as well a Scrooge at every level of his history. Other actors who are transformed by Zemekis and staff include Gary Oldman as the trio of Cratchit, Marley's Ghost, and Tiny Tim, Colin Firth as the jovial nephew, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins, Fionnula Flanagan and a host of others. The costumes and scenery are brilliantly executed.

One problem with the film that may require parental judgment is the fact that the ghosts are truly scary and children might not be able to get past the fear they instill. But they will grow into the film as it is likely a work that will be resurrected every Christmas season as a tradition. It is 'excellent, my good fellows'.

Grady Harp

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Charming and worthwhile adaptation about timeless and quintessential Christmas story

Author: ma-cortes
5 November 2011

A Christmas CAROL is an enjoyable Hollywood production, a wonderful and straight forward approach to the Dickens's source material being splendidly adopted . It is given the full ¨Motion Capture¨ deluxe treatment in this superior Holiday film. The production values & acting are both excellent, with just enough attractive to appeal to the tenderhearted, and with touching doses of horror , case of the potentially frightening elements the Ghosts of Past, Present and Future , adding sentiment ; all of them are blended into the mix, until, like a nice Christmas punch, the result appeals to all. Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is a miserly old businessman in 1840's London. He displays no charity to mankind generally, and in particular, to his employee Bob Cratchett (Gary Oldman) and his unfortunate son, Tiny Tim . One Christmas Eve he is visited by the ghost of Marley, his dead business partner. He is warned that he must change his miserly ways or face damnation. Marley foretells that Scrooge will be visited by three spirits, each of whom will attempt to show Scrooge the error of his ways.In Just One Night, He Has Seen His Past, His Present, And His Future. And They've All Come Back To Haunt Him Will Scrooge reform his ways in time to celebrate Christmas? . To his delight, the spirits complete their visits in one night giving him the opportunity to mend his ways. The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge visions of his own past in which had spent much of his childhood neglected by his father over the holidays at boarding school until he was finally brought home by his loving sister Fan (Robin Wright), who died prematurely after giving birth to his nephew Fred (Colin Firth).

A marvelous recounting of a Christmas vintage classic and Jim Carrey demonstrates once again his versatility on screen in this retelling of Charles Dickens' immortal story . Atmospherically, the movie is as comfortable and heartwarming as an old Christmas card .The whole concept of looking at your life in the past, present and future is creative in and of itself. After watching the movie, you may look at your life from the same perspectives. Special effects add a nice little touch,but it is Carrey's interaction with the 'ghosts' and various characters that really steal the show . Though most of us,if not all of us, have seen other adaptations in the past or read the story,and know already what to expect, Jim Carrey manages to capture pure magic with his stunningly awesome portrayal of main character Ebenezer Scrooge,and it is definitely worth a look. It's fun and different approach to the Christmas classic with top notch effects by means of ¨Motion Capture¨ a technique developed by Robert Zemeckis in previous films as Beowulf and Polar Express . A highly recommended film that nobody should miss it especially during Christmas time.¨Robert Zemeckis's Christmas Carol¨ still ranks as one of the best adaptations of the Dickens classic ever. This animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption will appeal to Jim Carrey fans .

Other versions about this stunning story courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions are the following : The rather obscure 1935 version, with Sir Seymour Hicks, the 1951 British production, with Alastair Sim, adaptation released by MGM in 1938 with Reginald Owen , and the 1970 musical, with Albert Finney. Under the title of 'A Christmas Carol' a cartoon rendition (1997) by Stan Phillips and voiced by Tim Curry and another (1991) by Jimmy T Murakami with Simon Callow ,the made-for-TV productions: 1984 – With George C. Scott, 1999 – With Patrick Stewart, and the 2004 musical, with Kelsey Grammar .

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