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A Christmas Carol (2009)

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An animated retelling of Charles Dickens' classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.

Director:

Robert Zemeckis

Writers:

Robert Zemeckis (screenplay), Charles Dickens (novel)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... Scrooge / Ghost of Christmas Past / Scrooge as a Young Boy / Scrooge as a Teenage Boy / Scrooge as a Young Man / Scrooge as a Middle Aged Man / Ghost of Christmas Present / Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Steve Valentine ... Funerary Undertaker / Topper
Daryl Sabara ... Undertaker's Apprentice / Tattered Caroler / Beggar Boy / Peter Cratchit / Well Dressed Caroler
Sage Ryan ... Tattered Caroler
Amber Gainey Meade ... Tattered Caroler / Well Dressed Caroler
Ryan Ochoa ... Tattered Caroler / Beggar Boy / Young Cratchit Boy / Ignorance Boy / Young Boy with Sleigh
Bobbi Page ... Tattered Caroler / Well Dressed Caroler
Ron Bottitta ... Tattered Caroler / Well Dressed Caroler
Sammi Hanratty ... Beggar Boy / Young Cratchit Girl / Want Girl
Julian Holloway ... Fat Cook / Portly Gentleman #2 / Business Man #3
Gary Oldman ... Bob Cratchit / Marley / Tiny Tim
Colin Firth ... Fred
Cary Elwes ... Portly Gentleman #1 / Dick Wilkins / Mad Fiddler / Guest #2 / Business Man #1
Robin Wright ... Fan / Belle (as Robin Wright Penn)
Bob Hoskins ... Fezziwig / Old Joe
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Storyline

Miser Ebenezer Scrooge is awakened on Christmas Eve by spirits who reveal to him his own miserable existence, what opportunities he wasted in his youth, his current cruelties, and the dire fate that awaits him if he does not change his ways. Scrooge is faced with his own story of growing bitterness and meanness, and must decide what his own future will hold: death or redemption. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Christmas comes but once a year, but for one man, that's once too often. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for scary sequences and images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Christmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,051,075, 8 November 2009

Gross USA:

$137,855,863

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$325,286,646
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Sonics-DDP (IMAX version)| SDDS | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the beginning sequence in the street, a guide dog spots Scrooge, yelps and quickly drags his owner away. This is a nod to the original novel, when author Charles Dickens explains how Scrooge's temperament was so known in the city that "even the blinds' dogs knew and avoided him". See more »

Goofs

A group of street carolers sings "Joy to the World" in the film. However, the movie takes place in 1843. The song "Joy to the World," as we know it, wasn't created until 1848, when Lowell Mason, a Boston music publisher, combined two separate works from the mid 1700s: music from George Frideric Handel's "Messiah" with lyrics from another hymn by Isaac Watts. Also, "Joy to the World" was originally used as a regular Sunday hymn. It wasn't considered a Christmas song until 1911, when a recording by singer Elise Stevenson and the Trinity Choir became a Christmas hit. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ebenezer Scrooge: [upon viewing Marley in casket] Yes, quite dead. As a doornail.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

God Bless Us Everyone
Written and Produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri
Performed by Andrea Bocelli
Courtesy of Sugar s.r.l.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
a high-point for director Zemeckis, and a good step forward in motion-capture
9 November 2009 | by Quinoa1984See all my reviews

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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