‘Marley was dead to begin with…’
I’d always kind of dismissed Robert Zemeckis’ 2009 adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Partly because the Muppets adaptation is my all time favourite Christmas film, partly because of the casting of Jim Carrey as the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge and partly due to laziness. I am happy to say that I was mistaken to shun this film so readily.
Robert Zemeckis has form in this genre having delivered the much loved Polar Express but his loving take on A Christmas Carol is perhaps even better. Any fears I may have had about Carrey in such an iconic role were allayed within the first five minutes and the fact that he also takes on the voices of the three ghosts makes his performance even more impressive. His beautiful take on the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is particularly enjoyable.
Aside from the sterling voice work, A Christmas Carol’s two biggest strengths are the beautiful animation, as well as how faithful this version is to Charles Dickens’ classic book. Almost all of the dialogue is lifted verbatim from the book and indeed, the worst parts of this animated retelling come when Zemeckis drifts away from the source material in order to inject more action. A painfully long chase scene between a miniature Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is particularly galling but aside from that misstep this is pretty much a perfect adaptation.
In Back to the Future, Forrest Gump and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Robert Zemeckis has gifted us with some of the most beloved films ever made. A Christmas Carol doesn’t quite scale those heights but it is still a worthy adaptation of a truly magical book.
Since I originally wrote this review I have had to watch this adaptation a further 3 times in a professional capacity. I feel that, in doing so, I have undergone a kind of Scrooge in reverse process in which I started off full of Christmas spirit and now, I would like to see everyone involved in the film publicly executed in order to decrease the surplus population. Bah chuffing Humbug!