“Christmas Carol”: Classic not overwhelmed by Carrey’s humor

Tue, 11/17/2009 - 4:29pm
By: Kevin Thomas


Jim Carrey generally makes good films, whether playing Stanley Ipkiss in “The Mask” or Count Olaf in “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” When it comes to classic stories however (i.e. “The Grinch” or “Horton Hears a Who!”), Carrey lets his own unique brand of humor overwhelm the audience and therefore ruin the original story. This is not the case in Disney’s “A Christmas Carol.”

If you don’t know the original story, it’s about a very old man named Ebenezer Scrooge (Carrey) who treats everyone like garbage and hates Christmas. This changes when the ghost of his old business partner, Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman, “The Dark Knight”) comes to warn him he will be haunted by three other poltergeists that night. The ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and possible Future appear and take Scrooge on a life-changing night.

The ghosts have one basic emotion each. The Ghost of Christmas Past has the willingness to show others flaws. He shows us this as he takes Scrooge back in time to before Scrooge was rich. His aim is to show Scrooge that he used to be in a romantic relationship before he got mean and had too much money.

Next is the literally “laughing till his death” Ghost of Christmas Present, who shows Scrooge what people think about him now. Scrooge doesn’t realize the hatred others feel for him because he never paid attention before.

The Ghost of Christmas possible Future is the scariest and longest ghost we spend time with. He does not speak a word; he only points Scrooge in the right directions. There is a sequence with a ghost horse that is 8-10 minutes long. It is in this sequence that Jim Carrey shows us the weird but lovable guy he is. This scene extends longer than necessary. I thought to myself, ‘we know he’s shrunk-get him back to his normal size, enough already.’

Over the years, there have been many copies of the beloved story “A Christmas Carol”, ranging from the Looney tunes “Bah-Humduck” on Cartoon Network to the Bill Murray film “Scrooged.” Both of these stories messed up this tale, and for a long time, that’s all there’s been. But now, Robert Zemeckis, director of “The Polar Express” has taken the wrongly copied holiday tale and turned it into something that most people can enjoy together. The film has very famous voices in it, including Carrey, Oldman and Colin Firth as Scrooge’s holiday loving nephew Fred.

Unfortunately, the film is PG for scary sequences and images. The scary sequences in the movie are when Jacob Marley’s ghost visits and a 10 minute chase scene between Scrooge and a ghostly horse. I personally believe Zemeckis put the sequence described in the movie (it wasn’t in the book) so the film could get a PG rating as to attract more then young children.

It was one of my favorite sequences and least favorite sequences in the film. I liked that it was very fast moving (you normally can’t do that unless it’s “Transformers,” which is 95 percent action) but it also went on too long.

I recommend this for kids ages 8 and above. Younger kids will not be able to handle the scary parts, including the scariest thing, the Ghost of Christmas Future himself.

Well, that wraps this early holiday present up. Join me next week when I review “New Moon” and “Planet 51.”

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