Monday, November 16, 2009

Disney's A Christmas Carol

Release Date: November 6th, 2009

Click here for the Disney's A Christmas Carol Trailer.

In Victorian England on Christmas Eve, curmudgeonly old Ebenezer Scrooge(Jim Carrey) stands over the body of his oldest friend and business partner Jacob Marely. Seven Christmas Eves later, old, bitter Scrooge resents Christmas and everything it stands for and even refuses to do anything pleasant, like visit his cheerful nephew Fred(Colin Firth) for Christmas dinner. Scrooge's hatred for Christmas is so fierce that he even forces his already underpaid employee Bob Cratchit(Gary Oldman) to beg for Christmas day off to spend with his family. While sulking in his mansion on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old partner Jacob Marely. Marely is covered in heavy chains forged by his greed in life. Marely warns Scrooge that his chains would be much longer and heavier unless he changes his ways in life. Marely informs Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits that will guide him to a better life.

That same night, the Ghost of Christmas Past(also Jim Carrey) arrives and transports Scrooge back to a time when he was just a boy. Back at the boarding school where he spent most of his childhood, Scrooge looks upon a very young version of himself, alone at Christmas time. Unable to see the site of his own sadness, the spirit shows him another Christmas, many years in the future. Scrooge is still in boarding school, alone on Christmas until his little sister Fannie comes with a coach to bring him home for Christmas. Jumping forward again, Scrooge is in his money lending store hunched over stacks of coin while his fiance Belle(Robin Wright Penn) tries to tell him that his own greed and pursuit of wealth is driving them apart. When scrooge refuses to listen, Belle leaves him alone to his money. Scrooge becomes unable to bear the images any longer and extinguishes the spirit, ending up back in his bedroom.

The next spirit to visit Scrooge is the Ghost of Christmas Present(also Jim Carrey) who begins to show Scrooge the joy and happiness of his fellow man on Christmas. First the spirit takes Scrooge outside his nephew Fred's home. Scrooge sees Fred and his fellow guests laughing and making jokes at Scrooge's expense and then Fred making a toast to Scrooge's good health, though he doesn't deserve it. The spirit also takes Scrooge to the home of his abused employee Bob Cratchit. Scrooge witnesses Cratchit's joy and happiness despite the poor conditions in which his family lives. Scrooge also witnesses Cratchit carrying in his son, Tiny Tim, on his shoulders who is crippled. Despite his ailment, Tim is committed to the spirit of Christmas which touches Scrooge's heart. Scrooge is dismayed when the spirit tells him that Tiny Tim may not live much longer. Before the spirit leaves Scrooge, he warns him of the evils of ignorance and want, which take the form of monstrous, uncivilized children who are destined to grow into savage, despicable individuals.

As the second spirit vanished, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come(also Jim Carrey) shows Scrooge the final consequences of his greed. Scrooge becomes terrified of the Spirit and attempts to flee as the spirit chases him in a ghostly coach. The spirit captures Scrooge and takes him to the Cratchit's house, where an empty seat is in the corner with Tiny Tim's crutch leaned against it. The Cratchit family is seen mourning over the loss of Tim. The Spirit also reveals to Scrooge that he dies, though more joy has come from his death than grief. Fred and his wife benefit from the wealth left behind while Scrooge's old maid robs him. The Spirit then takes Scrooge to his own grave, where the marker reads that Scrooge died on Christmas day. Scrooge begs for a second chance to fix his wrong doings as the Spirit opens up the ground revealing Scrooge's empty coffin. The Spirit forces Scrooge down into the hole towards his coffin and as he hits he awakens in his bedroom on Christmas morning.

The three spirits have guided Scrooge over the course of a single night and have also allowed scrooge to atone for his wrong doings which he sets out to do immediately. He yells for a boy passing by his house to go to the market an buy the prize turkey which he gives to Bob Cratchit and his family. He also makes generous donations to the poor, sings with street carolers and even gives Bob Cratchit a hefty raise to support his family allowing Tiny Tim to live. On top of all this, Scrooge also attends the Christmas dinner party of his nephew Fred. Scrooge then spends the rest of his life a new man, embodying the true spirit of Christmas.

A brand new envisioning of the timeless tale from Charles Dickens, Disney's A Christmas Carol looks to bring a new life to the story that has captivated the spirit of Christmas since 1843. Shot in Disney Digital 3D, this film uses cutting edge technology to deliver a truly unique cinematic experience. The film stars Jim Carrey as multiple characters including the main character Ebenezer Scrooge. Not only did Carrey lend his voice talents to the role, but he also lent his physical performance as well. The animators of this film used special motion capture suits to allow each actor to physically portray the actions the character performs in the film. This makes the film so much more than just a typical cartoon. It allows the characters to have all the physical characteristics of the actors like movements, voice, mannerisms and facial expressions as well as all the exaggerated freedoms of an animated film.

It seems that 3D is the newest craze in animation as every single animated film that Disney has released recently has been in 3D. Disney has even go as far as recreating the classic Toy Story 1 & 2 films in 3D as well. While the 3D aspect does add an extra quality to the movie, I feel that Disney is overusing it by making every single animated film in 3D which makes 3D lose its uniqueness. But nevertheless, the movie does have some outstanding qualities about it that make it a joy to watch.

Jim Carrey adds his eccentric and all out craziness to the old miserly Scrooge which makes for a different take on everybody's favorite miser. I was really impressed with Carrey's use of accents in the film. Carrey portrayed four different characters: all three spirits as well as Scrooge and his earlier incarnations. Scrooge himself had an elderly yet bitter old English accent and each Spirit had their unique voice and accent. Carrey, known for his high energy performances, is not known for doing many accents, however he performed them extremely well in this film. I absolutely loved Carrey's representation of Scrooge. I think he embodied the spirit of who Scrooge was perfectly. The other supporting characters in the film were also fantastic. Gary Oldman, portraying the humble and lovable Bob Cratchit was fantastic. Oldman's performance made audiences truly fall in love with him and also made audiences feel for him and his family.

Visually, the movie really took it to the next level. The motion capture was done very well and all the characters looked astonishingly realistic to their actual actors and actresses. The film also had amazing colors that set the perfect mood for each situation. You felt very bitter and cold around scrooge and you also felt happy and warm around characters like Bob and Fred. There were bright flashes of colorful sparks when the ghosts would guide Scrooge that would be great to see in 3D and the 3D aspects are sure to please any 3D fan.

One surprising feature of this film was that, at times, it was surprisingly scary. Well, more startling for older audiences but enough to be scary for a younger audience member, one that will most likely be the majority seeing this film. One scene that comes to mind his when Scrooge is visited by the ghost of Marely. This scene as well as the scenes with the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, may frighten some younger viewers, thought the ones in my theater seemed to find the scenes hilarious.

Overall this film is an incredible visual experience that is sure to please members of the whole family. It holds true to the book for the majority, with some added features from director Robert Zemeckis, though they do not deter you away from enjoying this re-envisioning of one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time. Spectacular visuals coupled with incredible performances from Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman make this movie one that will put you in the Christmas spirit and one that you don't wanna miss.

I give Disney's A Christmas Carol 7 Curmudgeonly Money Lenders out of 10

1 comment:

  1. Good. Deep analysis.Its' lavish details bridge the gap between the real and the imagined in a way heretofore impossible.. the filmmakers have put most of their magic in the media and not the message.