Blu-Ray Review: Disney’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ With Jim Carrey Annoys Instead of Captivates

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CHICAGO – Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” is a loud, annoying mess, a film that reimagines the Charles Dickens’ classic in ways that the author never intended, turning a morality lesson into an effects-heavy action extravaganza. Having said that, the Blu-ray release is typically-strong for one of the best companies in the world when it comes to family product. Disney can turn even a bad film into a solid Blu-ray. Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 1.5/5.0

The Blu-ray/DVD combo of “A Christmas Carol” features spectacular video and audio and detailed, informative special features. The process of making a motion-capture film liks this one is more interesting and entertaining than the movie itself. It’s rare to say it, but the bonus material on “A Christmas Carol” is actualy better than the film.

Disney's A Christmas Carol was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010
Disney’s A Christmas Carol was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010
Photo credit: Disney

What’s wrong with Robert Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol”? This soulless take on an oft-told story just never feels right. The overall aesthetic of the film is more annoying than entertaining and a remarkable number of bad behind-the-scenes decisions result in what is easily the worst film of the career of this talented filmmaker.

Disney's A Christmas Carol was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010
Disney’s A Christmas Carol was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010
Photo credit: Disney

With a screenplay that’s actually quite loyal to the source material, Jim Carrey plays Ebeneezer Scrooge, the penny-pinching businessman who bullies his employee Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman), ignores the holiday tidings of his nephew (Colin Firth), and is just a general jerk, especially around Christmas season. Seven years after the death of his partner, Jacob Marley (also Oldman), the spirit of his former friend visits him and instructs him that three ghosts will find him on Christmas Eve (all will be played by Carrey).

The Ghost of Christmas Past swings Scrooge on a trip through holidays past, The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him being mocked by those he knows, and The Ghost of Christmas Future terrifies him with visions of both the inevitable demise of Tiny Tim and Mr. Humbug himself. All of the ghosts use a motion technique designed merely to show off the mo-cop look of the film, turning the story into more of an action movie than you’ve seen before.

Scrooge himself has been well-designed and the credits sequence looks captivating, but that’s about all the praise I can offer when it comes to design. Why is Bob Cratchit’s head the same size as his body? Why has The Ghost of Christmas Past been reimagined as a candle with an effeminate, creepy voice? Is The Ghost of Christmas Past doing a Fat Bastard impression? And why has Zemeckis completely ignored the concept of “The Uncanny Valley,” that area of animation where creations go from realistic to corpse-like? Once again, everyone in Zemeckis’ London looks just weird.

As Scrooge flies around the city for the 12th time, “A Christmas Carol” crosses from disappointing to annoying. After Scrooge is shrunk down to a rat’s size for no reason other than to show off the 3-D technology, it moves to another level of aggravating. The problem with “A Christmas Carol” is that every element of it has been built to show off the technology, not to tell the story. Film must always be about story first and nearly every telling of this one (including Alastair Sim’s, “Scrooged,” and even The Muppets) does it better.

Special Features:
o Behind the Carol: The Full Motion-Capture Experience
o Countdown To Christmas Interactive Calendar
o Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling
o On Set With Sammi
o Deleted Scenes

“A Christmas Carol” stars Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, and Robin Wright Penn. It was adapted and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 16th, 2010. It is rated PG and runs 96 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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