A retelling of the classic Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, miser extraordinaire. He is held accountable for his dastardly ways during night-time visitations by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and future.Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
In the US, this movie was never aired on any pay-television network, up until 2016, when this movie was a part of HBO and Cinemax's catalogue of archival titles from Walt Disney Studios. HBO and Cinemax were the only pay-television networks to air this movie. Though not considered a pay-television network but a DVD rental and streaming service, Netflix also offered this movie through streaming in 2015. See more »
When Cratchit is singing and carrying Tiny Tim down the street on his shoulders, the floor keeps moving underneath him after he stops walking. See more »
Good King Wenceslas
Performed by the "Muppet Brass Buskers" See more »
The very best of all the Muppet Movies!
The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favourite of all the Muppet flicks. Jim Henson, of course, never lent his name to anything even remotely resembling 'bad', but nevertheless, there is a clear mark of sheer mastery and brilliance in this movie that is somehow less evident in most of the other muppet movies.
In a way, I have to admit that I find this surprising. This was the first Muppet movie to be shot after Henson himself passed away; the voice of kermit, the most beloved and indeed inventive puppeteer ever to have lived was dead. Could Henson's magic touch ever be recreated? Did the Muppets have a future at all without their creator? The answer, of course we now know, is Yes they did.
As is the secret to all truly great children's movies, The Muppet Christmas Carol does not pander to notions of anything being 'too scary'; nor does it shy away from the innate darkness of the material at hand.
Dicken's tale is one that revolves almost uniformly around themes of corruption, poverty and death, and here it has most certainly not been diluted.
"There was the year we evicted the entire orphanage! I remember the little tykes all standing in the snowbank, with their little frostbitten teddy bears!" hollers a ghostly apparition of Scrooge's dead business partner early in the film. We witness a heartbreaking lament from Scrooge's lover, who leaves him because he has become too money-hungry to love her. We watch as Bob Cratchett's family mourn the empty chair at their table where their beloved and selfless young son once sat. At the eleventh hour, scrooge even bends before his own tombstone and begs in tears of desperation to a grim reaper-like spirit to be allowed to live. So much for it being the season to be jolly.
Where there is humour, it is frequently black, and where there is emotion, it is generally somewhat adult by todays standards.
Of course, before you decide not to show this to your five year old son or daughter, you should consider that these dark themes by no means drag the film down; rather, they help to raise it up to become, just like the original story, a stirring and emotional story of triumph and redemption in the face of mortality.
Whilst the script writers wisely keep the story pretty much identical to the original in all of it's major aspects, there is plenty mayhem and indeed magic here too which is 24 carat Henson Studios. I remember as a 5 year old simply adoring the spectacle of Kermit's Bob Cratchett taking part in a the Penguins of London Annual Christmas Skating party, or the delight of Gonzo and Rizzo's almost post-modernist presence as physical participants but also omnipotent narrators in the tale.
Indeed, the translation from book to screen is almost peculiarly elegant; the Muppet characters all seem to open up to new ranges of poignancy and dramatic possibility when placed in the storyline. You will find yourself feeling immense pity for Miss Piggy's somewhat hysterical but ultimately warm Mrs Cratchett for example, and indeed a whole host of wonderful performances on show from the familiar Muppet Show Cast.
Of course this review could not be complete without tribute to the simply brilliant performance from the great Michael Cane in the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge. he understands his role excellently and invests it with a moving, convincing and genius reality; always resisting the temptation, that must surely be strongly felt when one is the sole human among a cast of felt puppets, to play the role for laughs. One feels that his performance would not seem out of place if he were surrounded by the ranks of great British thespians and taking part in a 'straight' production of Dicken's tale as opposed to a Muppet movie. Upon recently viewing the Patrick Stewart film of this story, I was delighted to find that Cane quite simply out-acted Stewart in the role and clearly this makes his performance something special.
The production values are high in this film as is to be expected in a Henson movie, and the film has a wonderful, almost Tim Burton-esquire look which is by turns wintry and quite breath-takingly beautiful or dark and positively scary.
In terms of music it is filled with an array of wonderfully enduring and subtly written songs that fill me with a sense of child-like happiness and that allusive 'christmassey feeling' even after all these years. One recommendation I would make to anyone planning on purchasing the film is to if at all possible obtain a copy which contains the beautiful song "When Love Is Gone" which, in the recent DVD re-release, was sadly cut from the film. This decision to exclude the song from the film detracts hugely from the pathos of one of the film's central themes (past Mistakes and ultimate redemption) and definitely takes away some of the indescribably bitter-sweet overall mood of the film.
I strongly recommend this film to people of any age or gender as a film that it is virtually impossible not to fall in love with.
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