The Harbinger Online

‘Christmas Carol’ provides genuine holiday cheer


I wanted to see Avatar.

But no. On the early morn of Christmas Eve, promptly 11 a.m., my mom told me I had twenty minutes to get ready for a family trip to the theaters.

Bah humbug.

It’s Winter Break, and I don’t taking my showers until 1 or 2 p.m. anyway. But in the spirit of Christmas, and my fear of holding a spot on the “Naughty List,” I obliged.

The movie my dad had predetermined, Disney’s latest attempt to fix traditions that were never broken to begin with, was “A Christmas Carol.”

The KC Rep, Bill Murray, and everyone inbetween can have a shot at adapting Charles Dickens’ classic about a British miser who goes from Grinch to Giver after three spooky visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, but no one  has yet done it as well, in this reviewer’s humble opinion, as director Robert Zemeckis.

Zemeckis produced, directed and wrote the adapted screenplay; a trifecta that gave an old story a fresh polish. A man who obviosuly has a penchant for classic literature and 3-D videography, he was the mastermind behind the eye-candy that was 2007’s Beowulf, the first wide-release 3-D, and Real D, film ever.

Although “Carol” didn’t feature all the gore and swordplay that came with “Beowulf” it showcased sprisingly intimitate detailing in character’s eyes, hair, and pimples. The composition of the ghost of Christmas Present, with his rolls, shines, and beaming persona, all over an invisible floor beneath a golden room, give the impression that that jolly laugh and 19th century London is genuine.

Even Ebenezer Scrooge’s nose was dimpled and calloused and sharpened to invite the audience to feel hate and sympathy, all at the same time.

The film is also brutally honest to it’s inspiration, as the film includes the novel’s dialogue to each comma, period, and semicolon. The cahracters speak in 19th Century slang, and Jim Carrey’s voice is disguised indistinguishably underneath Scrooge’s growl, and, as the end credits revealed, under every Ghost’s voice. Even the silent Christmas Yet to Come!

And the movie may be from Disney and the previews targeted to a family audience, but it doesn’t sugarcoat anything. Marley is terrifying, Tiny Tim actually dies, and the poor degenerates of London actually look like poor degenerates. Parents, the PG-13 rating is very very justified.

However, Zemeckis didn’t forget his Beowulf roots. Every ghostly visit comes with at least two or three transition scenes that carry Scrooge through rooftops and sewers. It’s fun for a while, but eventually the whizbangs and chases are just tiring. Sure there’s more visual drool to be relinquished during the flying camera moments, but the switches become repetitive and nauseating.

“Carol” debuted nearly a month ago, so it’s chances at the box office do not look good for this holiday weekend against the hyped-up, fully 3-D “Avatar,” but it’s own CG effects and lively story line are worth just as much as a ticket to the theater with the blue aliens next door.

3/4 stars

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