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Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)

When Charles Dickens published his classic story A Christmas Carol in 1843, he would have been amazed to know how long it would endure, and how many mediums it would cross - not the least of which has been the medium of movies.

A Christmas carol has been performed and parodied by almost everyone you can think of, even the muppets. In fact it has been forced through so many updatings and re-imaginings on screen that modern cinema goers can be forgiven for not having a clue what the original story was really like - so it is refreshing in the extreme to find a version that is actually, mostly, faithful to the original.

Still, the real magic of this production is the pairing of Jim Carrey as Scrooge and Gary Oldman as Bob Crachit. Oldman may seem like an odd choice for Crachit, but no odder than Carrey for Scrooge - and the oddest thing is that both are perfect, both in their voice acting and physical renditions in this animated production.

The pair play a variety of other roles as well - Carrey takes on the three ghosts of Christmas, and Scrooge from a young boy to an old man, and Oldman plays Marley's ghost and Tiny Tim. These fine actors are ably supported by the likes of Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth and Robyn Wright.

In Dickens' book, London is another character in the novel, its grimy streets and sharp contrast of extreme poverty and wealth being essential to the tale. In this animation, also, London is presented as a character in its own right, beautifully rendered in sharp detail. While there are some definite anachronisms, the result is very pleasing.

While it has some scary moments, A Christmas Carol is certainly popular with my grandchildren, who put this version on a par with the Muppets version. Parents of very young children may want to view it first to judge for themselves whether some of Scrooge's torments might be a bit much. You may have heard a rumor that someone is sniffing an illegal substance in this movie - in fact it is snuff, which was very common in Victorian times and quite harmless. This boisterous version of the Christmas classic is likewise mostly harmless.

I viewed this DVD using my own funds.


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