Monday, June 20, 2011

Review: A Christmas Carol

I'm going to say it: I'm not a Jim Carrey fan. I've never been much of a fan of his acting since it is usually always too wild for me. I reluctantly watched this version of A Christmas Carol knowing that Jim Carrey was going to voice many of the characters, but I thought I would give it a try since I heard that Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice) was in there and I wonder how he did in it.

It's Christmas time and everyone is in a great mood except for Ebenezer Scrooge, a stingy old man who does not like Christmas. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner who announces that Scrooge will be visited by three more ghosts.

There are a couple of famous actors in this film. Jim Carrey is a well-known actor, and he plays a good deal of the main characters. Colin Firth is also in here as Scrooge's nephew, Fred. Other well-known actors include Gary Oldman and Robin Wright (known for her role in The Princess Bride).

Getting a little too silly, aren't we Mr. Scrooge?
Jim Carrey was slightly tolerable as Scrooge at the beginning (but only slightly), but it didn't take too long before he started to get annoying. Many of his mannerisms were something that one would find in some sort of children's comedy and not something that should have been in A Christmas Carol. And I don't know why they had a five minute scene in which Scrooge was running all over London, getting smaller and smaller, voice getting higher and higher, and the whole thing becoming just about ridiculous. By the end of the movie, when Scrooge is overjoyed, you can tell right away that it's Jim Carrey and not the overjoyed Scrooge that should be in the movie.

Could they have made the ghosts any more grotesque? When I pictured Jacob Marley, I never pictured him as some sort of zombie ghost whose jaw started to dislocate itself towards the end of his visit. They also made the Ghost of Christmas Past a bit creepy towards the end of his visit too, and I didn't like the way that he was portrayed either: they made his head a giant candle flame? And what about towards the end of the Ghost of Christmas Present's visit: the boy and girl representing Ignorance and Want seemed a little more mature than what I've pictured. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come was more of a hooded shadowy figure and not... well, three dimensional like the other ghosts. And seriously, some of the characters (the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, Ignorance, and Want) looked more like they came out of The Lord of the Rings than out of A Christmas Carol.

I have this section in place of the scenery section since this is an animated movie. There seemed to be something quite odd about the animation the whole time. Scrooge looked too tall, too thin, and too lanky. Even if that was the angle they were trying to go for, he still looked unnaturally thin. Bob Cratchit also looked kind of odd. I think I also remember that the way the fabric on the clothes seemed to move very oddly.

Belle's dress seemed to be accurate (not pictured here fully,
sorry), but Regency women did not wear their hair down.
In the background/middle, we have old Scrooge and the
Ghost of Christmas Past with a candle flame as a head...
This is going to be a little hard reviewing the costumes for an animated movie, since no one actually made the costumes but drew them, but I'm going to give it a try. Overall, the costuming didn't look too inaccurate for a good portion of the movie. My complaint lies in one of the flashbacks. At the Christmas party in Scrooge's past, there were Regency era costumes (which would be correct since at that time, Scrooge would have been a young man), but the Fezziwigs wore older Georgian clothes (which, since they were already an older couple in the Regency era, wouldn't be hard to believe). While Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig were dancing (a dance which looked more modern than period: who ever heard of flips during a Regency dance?), you can briefly see that Mrs. Fezziwig was wearing drawers. Drawers were invented in 1806, but very few women wore them, and those few women were usually young. It would be very, very unlikely that Mrs. Fezziwig would be wearing drawers (she would probably be of the generation that thought they were hideous and wouldn't dream of wearing them). The other thing that I noticed was inaccurate was while young Scrooge was dancing with Belle (later his fiancee) at the party, her hair was half down. Regency women never wore their hair down like that in public, let alone at a ball. Only very young girls could get away with having their hair down, but never young ladies looking for a husband. And it seemed like she was the only one with her hair down. Other than that, I don't have any more complaints about the costuming.

The music was actually nice. A lot of the songs were Christmas carols that were sung very nicely. I also recognized a dance song from Pride and Prejudice (1995). The music was probably one of the few things that partially saved this movie.

Overall: 1/5
Scrooge's nephew, Fred (Colin Firth) serving up Christmas
Probably the only redeeming qualities of this film were the music (which was nice) and that Colin Firth was in the movie (though for too short a time). Other than those two aspects, the rest of the film was not good. Jim Carrey was just too wild towards the end, the animation wasn't all that great, and the costuming could have been better. I can't even say that if you have small children who might enjoy it watch it: there were scary scenes that might frighten small children; wait until they get older and they might not enjoy the film because Jim Carrey just doesn't fit the role(s) well or it gets too silly. If I were you, I would save my time and watch another version of A Christmas Carol (the Patrick Stewart version, which I've seen half of, seemed to be pretty good; my dad and my sister are fond of the Alastair Sim version, but I've never seen it); if you have young kids or siblings or relatives, the Muppet's Christmas Carol might be more worth watching than this version.

A Christmas Carol is available on DVD and Blu-ray. It runs for 96 minutes.


  1. Interesting. Thanks for the warning! It does look a little crazy. :P

  2. I enjoyed it, but I didn't really think it did a good job with the actual story. I agree the part where Marley is visiting him is just gross!!! I didn't understand the getting smaller part either.

  3. I really enjoyed the one with George C. Scott; have you seen it? The music was nice, and costumes and everything. ;-) We watch A Christmas Carol every year on Christmas Eve, and we usually choose that version.

  4. Melody,
    I haven't seen the George C. Scott version yet. I might have to give it a try someday. Thanks!

    (Blogger is acting up again, so I can't log in to make this comment...)


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