Disney’s A Christmas Carol

By Mark Ramsey | 2009/11/08

No, it’s not just A Christmas Carol, it’s Disney’s A Christmas Carol, so take that Mr. Dickens!

You can almost hear the suits at Disney from down here in the workhouses:

“How are we going to get kids interested in a period piece with no talking animals?”

“Let’s use 3D and motion capture!”

“And let’s add a teenage vampire romance! I’m sure if Dickens had thought of that he would have dropped it in.”

“And we can call it ‘Scrooge in Outer Space’ or ‘Scrooge meets the Mole People’ or – I’ve got it! – ‘A-C-Squared!’”

Ah, 3D. I love 3D. Who would have imagined that Hollywood would have invented glasses that make movies similar to the experience of taking off the glasses and looking around the theater.

achristmascarol_slide.jpg“You know it’s 3D, right?” asked the pimple-faced box office ticketing engineer.

“Yes, why?”

“Some people don’t like the 3D because it gives them headaches.”

“Nothing could compare to the headache I got from the 2D G.I. Joe,” I said. “As long as Robert Zemeckis takes the viewer through a 3D wreath, I’m in.”

Enter Jim Carrey, whose Scrooge has a chin so long he could hang Jenny McCarthy’s dry cleaning on it, and, one would hope, Jenny McCarthy along with it.

Here we are on the bustling motion-captured and 3D-animated streets of period London…and there’s the 3D wreath! Wait for it, wait for it. Here we go…through the wreath! The great thing about a classic story is that it never requires gimmicks, right?

Enter Robert Zemeckis, the man who convinced us a skateboard could fly and Michael J. Fox could be a cinematic leading man.

“My next project is to motion capture some hair and comb it over my 3D scalp,” said Zemeckis.

But back to our movie:

“Do I have the pleasure of addressing Mr Scrooge or Mr. Zemeckis’s hair?” asked the charity guys.

“Mr Zemeckis’s hair has been dead these seven years,” replied Scrooge. “Are there no hair plugs? And the rugs, have they failed in their useful course?”

“I regret to say they have not, Mr. Scrooge.”

“Let Mr. Zemeckis’s hair die then and decrease the surplus population!”

A characteristically grumpy Scrooge retires to Bedlam, but on his door-knocker is the visage of Jacob Marley!

achristmascarol_tinytim.jpg“I was hoping for Scarlett Johansson’s knockers!” said a startled Scrooge.

“You and me both,” replied the ghost-face of Marley, recognizing an adroit lift from Mel Brooks when he hears one. “I may be dead but I’m not blind! Oh, by the way, tonight you will be haunted by three spirits played by Jim Carrey.”

“Are any of them funny?” asked Scrooge.

“No, this is Jim Carrey 2009, not Jim Carrey 1994,” said Marley.

You know the tale: Scrooge is visited by three spirits, beginning with the Ghost of Christmas Past, whose face resembles a Jim Carrey candle and whose dialogue delivery suggests he is also the Ghost of Acid Flashbacks Past

The best part of A Christmas Carol was when a terrified and suspiciously action-figure-sized Scrooge is riding an icicle and desperately fleeing a black horse-drawn spectral carriage chasing him across the streets of London. I think that was in Dickens’ original story, too – right before Scrooge’s dance at Fezziwig’s with Jessica Rabbit and after Wile E. Coyote drops an anvil on Bob Cratchit’s head.

It’s a tour de force me to watch. Never has so much money been spent to animate so many bad teeth.

“Will Tiny Tim survive, spirit?” asks Scrooge.

“I see a vacant seat and a crutch without an owner.”

“Good! As long as the seat’s vacant and the crutch has no owner! Phew!”

As Tiny Tim observed, keenly eyeing Disney’s corporate coffers during this critical holiday season…

“God bless us, everyone!”


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