A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey. Now that we're in the full swing of the Christmas season, we thought it would be fitting to go see this cinema-worthy movie. And yes, we went for the 3D option.
The film opens with a close-up of Jacob Marley's lifeless face, coins laid upon his lowered eyelids. This slightly unnerving 3-dimensional shot established the tone for most of the film. Despite the casting of the usually comic Jim Carrey as Ebenezer, this is not Scrooged a la Bill Murray. There are few, if any humorous moments to be found. In fact, most of the film is very dark, dreary, and sometimes frightening.
Having said all this, we highly enjoyed the film. It was a serious look into the depressing, yet redeemable life of Ebenezer Scrooge. Dickens' original material seemed to be more important to Disney than telling a sweet, fun Christmas story. There were moments of whimsy as the ghosts ushered Scrooge around his past, present and future life, but these moments merely advanced the plot and weren't too much of a diversion from the seriousness of the tale. Going through these moments gave a clear vision for how Scrooge became the crotchety old man that he was. By the time he makes his ultimate transformation, it truly felt joyful and triumphant to see him in his reformed state.
Of course, this being a Disney/Robert Zemekis production, everything was top-notch. While the characters were not direct sketches of the artists who voiced them, their essences were deftly captured in their digital faces. The young Scrooge especially looked like Carrey, and it was a delight to see the likeness of my favorite Regency actor, Colin Firth, show up in the face of Scrooge's nephew Fred.
Other effects, such as Scrooge's "flights" with the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present were very well done and appropriately utilized the 3D technology. And possibly my most favorite effect was the simple falling snow-- it seemed to be almost right in front of my very eyes.
Because of the frequency of scary or intense moments, I would not recommend this film for very young children. Possibly 12 and up would be a good age range, although I wouldn't say that this should have been rated PG-13, either. Maybe a good litmus test would be a child's ability to read and comprehend Dickens' original novella. This level of maturity would allow young ones to not only handle the dark moments, but appreciate the story for what it is.
Go see A Christmas Carol in theaters this Christmas season. I'm sure the forthcoming DVD will be wonderful, but this one's worthy of your time and money to see on the big screen. Bravo to Jim Carrey and the rest of the cast for their voice work, and to Disney for creating a realistic and entertaining iteration of this classic tale.