Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 17, 2013 at 10:09am

(Don't) Check This Out: Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009)

Jim Carrey and Robert Zemeckis' Very CGI Christmas Carol.

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Every Tuesday, "Check This Out" recommends movies available at your friendly local library. So you can satisfy your next film fix at the place with the books.

You must think me quite the Scrooge this week, thumbing my nose at this computer-animated adaptation of Dickens's classic mere days before Christmas. Believe me, I rented this from the library with high hopes of feeling as sugary and snug as a mug o' cocoa after watching. Instead the experience was as sleep-inducing as warm milk.

You've three elements joining forces in this film, which I thought would surely make it more memorable: 1) writer/director Robert Zemeckis, no stranger to pretty darn convincing animation (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and Christmas (A Polar Express); 2) Jim Carrey, who disappeared behind a furry green suit (and some excruciatingly painful contact lenses) to play that other hated hater of holidays, Mr. Grinch; and 3) Disney, the leading manufacturer of worldwide whimsy. How can you lose?

The sense of fun pervading past cinematic incarnations of this tale has lost out this time to a more somber mood. Zemeckis, with a love of long takes and inventive camera angles in his live-action efforts, seems oddly restrained in a medium that offers unlimited visual freedom. The early scenes with Carrey as miser plodding around his business and mansion possess an eerie lack of music and sounds of the world around him - England transformed into an endless urban graveyard. In fact, one of the film's first images is the grey-green face of a decaying corpse. Good thinking Disney! "Yule" love it, kids!

Disney's A Christmas Carol opens with death and closes on an old man choosing life when faced with his own impending demise. Tiny Tim, without even realizing it, reignites this long-dormant love for humanity in Scrooge; Dickens's story clings tight to this idea of youth's transformative power. So is believing that laughter, wonder and innocence can actually save too simplistic or simple-minded a notion? I couldn't say, but I do know such simple things could have saved this movie. 

See Also

Judging by the Trailer

Filed under: Pop Culture, Screens,
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