A CHRISTMAS CAROL
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: **** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Robert Zemekis uses his now-famous motion-capture technology to give a faithful retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” When the greedy miser Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by spirits on Christmas Eve, he is forced to examine his life and what might happen to him in the future.
WHAT I LIKED
I have had a love-hate relationship with the films of Robert Zemekis. While I love some of them (like the “Back to the Future” trilogy and “Forrest Gump”) and respect others (like “The Polar Express” and “Beowulf”), I have hated others (like “What Lies Beneath”). “A Christmas Carol” is his most polished film yet, in terms of motion capture and struggling out of the uncanny valley.
The best part of this movie are the amazing visuals, as long as it doesn’t involve a non-Jim Carrey portrayal. The tech wizards take their time making Carrey’s roles look great, and it’s fortunate that he plays the biggest names in the film (including Scrooge and all of the Christmas ghosts).
This is a story we have seen many times before, but we have never seen it like this. It’s actually quite fun to watch, especially with your kids, and it’s one of the most accurate adaptations of the book for no other reason than the digital media helps achieve the dream-like world that Dickens creates.
I know not many people will agree, but this is one of the better Christmas movies from the past decade and will probably become regular viewing in my house during the holidays.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
There are really only two complaints I have with this film… the first being the secondary characters living in the uncanny valley. If it’s not Jim Carrey, the humans in this film look as creepy as the kids from “The Polar Express.” My kids don’t mind, but I wish the animators had spent more time making the humans look more human.
My other main problem is the horse chase near the end of the film. While this scene was done for a gee whiz factor, it just doesn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the film. And when Scrooge shrinks to Tiny Scrooge, it just gets silly.
The Blu-ray (which is also available in 3D) includes the DVD packaged in the case. Both discs include deleted scenes, a feature about the production from a kids’ eye view called “On Set with Sammi” and an in-depth look at the development of the look of the film in the featurette “Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling.”
The Blu-ray also includes an interactive Countdown to Christmas advent calendar and a feature-length branching feature about the making of the film with a picture-in-picture viewing mode along with the film.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Kids and the families that aren’t bothered by the motion capture effect.