One of the most timeless and arguably overdone stories of all time is Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”. The story is simple, and yet it embodies the true spirit of Christmas. There have been so many renditions of this timeless tale that I can only imagine how making each version of “A Christmas Carol” unique must be an arduous task.
Having said that, I went into this Disney-fied version with high hopes because it had three major things going for it:
- It has Jim Carrey playing not only Scrooge, but also all three spirits.
- It is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who gave us such brilliant films as “Back to The Future,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” “Forrest Gump,” and “Cast Away.”
- It uses Zemeckis’s newfound performance capture technology and also implored the use of 3D.
You’d think this would be a slam dunk success but, unfortunately this film will make you (I apologize for using this tired cliché but it applies) utter “Bah Humbug”.
We all know the story right? This version does not stray at all from the story and contains all of the elements that we’d expect from “A Christmas Carol”. Before I tell you why I didn’t enjoy this rendition, I will be positive and tell you the good because there are a few things to like.
Jim Carrey an underrated actor. While he has made some of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen, he has the ability to do some real acting and bring the house down (i.e. “Man on the Moon”, “The Truman Show”, “and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). He is good as Scrooge, but great as the spirits (well, two of them because as we all know the ghost of Christmas future has no lines). Carrey does wonders with these roles and since the acting was executed via “performance capture” he does every movement too.
The visuals are stunning and the 3D is even better. This film looks amazing highlighted when the snow cascades right in front of your eyes.
Now the bad. Despite Carrey and the visuals, this film really feels sterile and lifeless. I know it sounds contradicting, but the overall movie has no soul at all, you don’t really care about what’s going on. This really struck me because Zemeckis has always had the ability to balance technology and story (“Back to the Future”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”). You’d think that with a built-in story he’d make it work but he doesn’t. Instead it just seems as if he’s still more fascinated by his new toy than creating the type of wonder and whimsy that made my favorite version “A Muppet Christmas Carol”.
I was thoroughly disappointed, but kids will love it because it is the only big Christmas movie we have this year. Check out all movie show times at our local Edwards Cinemas.
Thank You for reading and stay tuned as I spend time with “The Fantastic Mr. Fox”.
– Chauncey Telese