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Friday, November 6, 2009

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol


Release Date: November 6th, 2009

Rated PG for scary scenes and frightening images.

Running time: 94 minutes

Robert Zemeckis (dir.)

Robert Zemeckis (writer)

Based on the book by Charles Dickens

Alan Silvestri (music)

Glen Ballard (music)

Jim Carrey as Scrooge / Ghost of Christmas Past / Ghost of Christmas Present / Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (voice)

Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchit / Marley / Tiny Tim (voice)

Colin Firth as Fred (voice)

Robin Wright Penn as Fan / Belle (voice)

Bob Hoskins as Mr. Fezziwig / Old Joe (voice)

Left to right: Belle (ROBIN WRIGHT PENN), Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY) "DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL" “©ImageMovers Digital LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

Our reviews below:


A Christmas Carol Review By John C.

**** (out of 4)

Robert Zemeckis and Disney’s A Christmas Carol, is the latest film adaptation of Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, and it’s also one of the very best. It’s certainly the closest anyone has ever come to fully realizes what Dickens’ has written. The description of each ghost, is perfectly played out in the animation. The dialogue is almost word for word.

Each actor is perfectly cast in their roles. Jim Carrey is perfect as Scrooge, fully embodying the character with all the darkness, and being able to fully let loose at the end.

This film is done using the same Mo-Cap technology as Zemeckis’ previous films, The Polar Express and Beowulf. The animation is almost photorealistic, and the images are as wondrous as they are dark. The fly over shots are just beautiful, and in one of the most breathtaking sequences, The Ghost of Christmas Present flies Scrooge over London in a room with a clear floor. Things turn very dark at the end of the present sequence, keeping that tone throughout the ghost’s vision of Scrooge’s future.

The perfect use of 3D enhances all these visuals. This is the best 3D I’ve seen as of yet. Snowflakes float right in front of the audiences face, and as they fly over London, buildings rise up into the foreground. This film is sure to be spectacular in the IMAX format.

A Christmas Carol is sure to be trashed by parents, only familiar with the Barbie-butchering of the story, complaining that it’s too dark for kids. No, I don’t think it’s for young kids. But why are people expecting it should be? This is a very dark film, but every one of the frightening images is taken right from the visual writing in the book.

I personally wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 10 or 11, but you really just need to judge your own kid. The terrified shrieks by little kids who clearly didn’t want to be there, and the forced chuckling by their parents trying to lighten the mood, was very distracting.

As a huge fan of Robert Zemeckis, I thought that this film was right up there with his best work. The Polar Express is one of my favourite Christmas films, and this one is right up there with it.

The score by Alan Silvestri is sweeping and magnificent, mixing in classic Christmas carols. I hope people stay over the closing credits to hear the lovely new song, “God Bless Us Everyone”, sung by Andrea Bocelli. Here’s hoping it picks up an Oscar nomination.

A Christmas Carol is one of my favourite movies of the year, and would certainly deserve an Oscar nomination, not only for Best Animated Feature, but for Best Picture. Like The Polar Express, this is another absolute masterpiece that will be watched for many Christmases yet to come.


A Christmas Carol Review By Erin V.

**** (out of 4)

Simply put, I hope the fact of discrimination against animation in awards season does not hurt this film’s chances at being nominated. Because if this film were live-action, it would be nominated for Best Picture - so fast.

But I digress. Why do I feel this way? Well, this film is a masterpiece. Re-reading parts of the original A Christmas Carol, I really see what a perfectly accurate film adaptation this is. The fact that it is animation only accentuates this. There are so many things - such as the look of three spirits - that could only be fully envisioned using technology such that we have now. While there are nay sayers to Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture ways, as well as those that claim it is not true ‘animation’, I do not mind this medium at all. For certain stories, it works. This is one of them. The look here is that of an old Victorian oil painting, further giving us the feeling of the time of the film.

As for whether or not it is animation, even if you don’t count the physical movements that were recorded through mo-cap suits as, what may I ask is the rest of the film? Carriages, horses, flying spirits, snow, city/landscapes, etc. (Watch for the chase of the ghost hearse with the ‘Ghost of Christmas yet to come’... Definitely not for young children, but a real visual treat.) The answer is, they are all animated, just the same as anything else in CGI. The thing is, is that CGI merely means Computer Generated Images, not Computer Generated Movements... And to get technical, animation means to instill with life. To give your character on screen the illusion of life. That is done here. There is no doubt in my mind that this is a form of animation.

With that being said, there were two other things, aside from the visuals, that really stood out for me here. One of those two things that made this film so great to me, was the acting skills of (all those involved, but most of all), Jim Carrey. Being such a physical actor, mo-cap works very well for him it seems. But even just his voice, and the way that he delivers the lines is spot on, for all of the characters he plays - Ebenezer Scrooge, and the three spirits. Not sure if the performance is eligible, but it is worthy of an acting nom.

The second of the two, was the score by Alan Silvestri. His sweeping scores for Robert Zemeckis’ films are always a joy to hear - especially here with his effortless blending of traditional Christmas carols, much like he did with The Polar Express. During the end credits, there is a new song by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard, called God Bless Us Everyone - it is sung by Andrea Bocelli. This soundtrack will definitely make a great Christmas present.

From the opening credits, done in a great sweeping style of an old film, following the snowflakes over the city of London, to the ending voiceover and finally credits, this movie is not one I will soon forget.

Go see this one. It is most definitely worth it. As for how to see it, the 3D is worth the slightly higher admission price, and is not really distracting. Rather, it adds a great sense of depth, especially in the snow, and through windowpanes.


A Christmas Carol Review By Nicole

**** (out of 4)

A Christmas Carol is a faithful adaptation of Charles Dickens beloved story. Once again, Robert Zemekis has created a spectacular movie. The visuals are both beautiful and terrifying. The animation has the look and feel of an old oil painting, with incredible detail on the people, landscapes, buildings, and snow.

The ghosts have the same terrifying hallucinogenic quality as described in the book. Seeing the book come to life really brings one into Scrooge’s world. The acting is really good. Jim Carrey is a perfect fit for Scrooge and the ghosts, as his mannerisms really captured the personality of the characters. The score by Alan Silvestri is beautiful, incorporating many traditional carols along the way. The song at the end, sung by Andrea Bocelli, is quite lovely. The 3D does not overpower, but adds a sense of realistic depth and movement. This movie is perfect for IMAX, as well as Real D 3D.

This movie is a brilliant work of art. However, if you have young children, don’t be fooled by the fact that this movie is distributed by Disney. Some of the ghost scenes could have earned this film a PG-13, as opposed to a very strong PG. If you have small children, stick with Mickey’s Christmas Carol, of The Muppets version (both of which are also distributed by Disney).

A Christmas Carol is an excellent movie adaptation, that will be enjoyed by teenagers and adults alike.


A Christmas Carol Review By Maureen

**** (out of 4)

Robert Zemekis’ movie version of A Christmas Carol is a wonderfully dark, visually stunning, near perfect adaptation of Charles Dicken’s classic story.

The dialogue in this film is taken word for word from the original Dicken’s book. The animation in the film makes the experience all the more authentic. Everything from Jacob Marley’s ghost to the three spirits visiting Scrooge are exactly as described in the book. Nothing is held back or watered down for younger audiences.

Throughout the entire movie there is a richness in textures of the Victorian surroundings, good use of depth, especially in the above ground scenes, and a realism to the physical appearance of each of the characters. The use of 3D is never a distraction. There are moments when the viewer feels part of the scene, particularly when snow is gently falling.

One of the many strengths of this A Christmas Carol is the brilliant casting of Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge and the three spirits. His performances are strong and authentic.

The music by Alan Sylvestri and the traditional Christmas Carols work really well to fit the mood. The closing credit song God Bless us Everyone written by Alan Silvestri and Glen Ballard and sung by Andrea Bocceli is beautiful. This is one soundtrack I’ll want in my Christmas CD collection.

If you are a fan of classic Christmas movies then you’ll want to add this to your holiday must see list.

T’is the season to see a great movie.


A Christmas Carol Review By Tony

**** (out of 4)

A Christmas Carol is the latest feature from ImageMoversDigital, the production house co-founded by director Robert Zemeckis that has used motion capture technology to bring the performances of the actors in body as well as voice to the screen in animated form. Unlike Monster House, which for all its detail always looked like an animated feature, and Polar Express, which was faithful to the look of the storybook that inspired it, A Christmas Carol appears most of the time to be a live action feature with animated bits. Robert Zemeckis has thus been able to be more faithful to the Dickens novella than any previous treatment, with every detail lovingly portrayed in spectacular 3D.

The excellent cast led by Jim Carrie as Scrooge and the 3 spirits includes Gary Oldman as Cratchit and Marley’s ghost, Colin Firth as the nephew and Bob Hoskins as Fezziwig and Old Joe. The fantastic atmosphere of the story is enhanced by brilliant special effects often shot in unusual camera angles, including dizzying virtual flyovers of Victorian London, all accompanied by another fine score from Alan Silvestri reminiscent of Polar Express, particularly in the closing credits which include a new Christmas song sung by Andrea Bocelli.

Fred (COLIN FIRTH, center), Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY, right) DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL "©ImageMovers Digital LLC. All Rights Reserved.”


Consensus: A stunning new achievement from Robert Zemeckis and ImageMoversDigital. This is a visually amazing, close adaptation of Charles Dicken's famous book. See it - in 3D or IMAX if you can. **** (Out of 4)


Left to right: Ebenezer Scrooge (JIM CARREY), Tiny Tim (GARY OLDMAN) "DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL" "©ImageMovers Digital LLC. All Rights Reserved.”

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