A Christmas Carol (2009)

A Christmas Carol (2009) — Bias Disclaimer: I’m a really easy sell on A Christmas Carol.  I just love the damn story and have since I was a kid.  Pretty much anything that doesn’t stray too far from the source material (and even a couple that do [Scrooged]) just works for me.  I, a man who many have called cynical, get overflowing with that Christmas spirit with this story.  So in order for me not to like it Scrooge would need to… I don’t know, forsake Christmas for Kwanzaa or something (nothing against Kwanzaa).  Even if it did do that I think it’d be funny enough that I would not necessarily mind.  Anyway such hypotheticals are totally beside the point as the movie is very faithful to the Dickens story and I enjoyed the movie a lot.  I’ve also enjoyed Robert Zemekis’s previous motion capture films The Polar Express and Beowulf.  I never really got that “uncanny valley” thing about people getting creeped out by realistic-but-not-real animated people.  Whatever.  Anyway I like that the character design for A Christmas Carol lets the characters be somewhat cartoony.  Scrooge is impossibly thin and has a gigantic nose and chin.  Fezziwig is short and fat but jumps around as if he weren’t.  I like that for all the talk of photorealism Zemekeis still lets the story be something of a cartoon.  The character design of the Ghost of Christmas Past doesn’t quite work for me, but that’s a very minor quibble with this movie.  I liked it quite a bit.  I also liked that this movie embraced the idea that this is a ghost story and isn’t afraid to be a little creepy in the haunting scenes.  When you know what’s going to happen but are put a little bit on edge about it happening, that’s decent suspense.  I like the look of the film, I like the voice acting [by a handful of people each in multiple roles], and I have always loved the story.  My favorite version is still the Muppets one (largely because it came out when I was eight) but this is a very fine addition to the many movie versions that Dickens’s book inspired.

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