Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Hey there. Last night, we were fortunate to attend an early screening of the movie A Christmas Carol. First off, I want to thank my brother in law for giving us the tickets even though I'm sure it was because he couldn't make it himself. lol He won 4 tickets to an early screening of this film and handed them over to us. And second, I'd like to give a shout out to Power 106. I don't listen to the Hip Hop, Rap, R&B music that they tend to play there but they provided us with the tickets and thus, the opportunity to check it out. So thanks, you guys!

We received 4 free tickets to see the movie, which we told the kids about over the weekend. They were excited to go and see the film. The problem? We needed 5. I called the theater and because it was a special screening, the seats were reserved. I could not buy a ticket to this event so someone in the family had to sit this one out. In the end, my wife took one for the team and decided that she would stay behind with the baby. The kids seemed excited to check out the movie. As we drove to The Bridge in Culver City, they saw billboards of the movie and asked questions about what it was about. I was a little surprised that they were not familiar with this Charles Dickens classic. I told them that I would answer any questions they have after the movie. And what a movie it was...

First off, there have been many versions of this film. Each with their own flare but mainly stick with the premise of the book. The flair of the 2009 version clearly is in it's use of imagery. As Scrooge zooms through the air, the visuals are stunningly beautiful, and just as vivid. The main problem I had with the film (especially for it being a Disney film) was that they used some pretty images to induce fright.

The first instance of this occurs when Jacob Marley comes to warn Scrooge. I was surprised to see that the ghost manages to unhinge it's jaw, yet there are no jokes made. My 4 year old stayed closed and whispered to me that she was a little scared. I assured her that there would be nothing to be scared of. Boy would I eat those words later...

With Marley's unhinged jaw, he went on several more minutes with a deranged face speaking to Scrooge. The loud cackling and thunderous thumping of his chains added to my little one's fright. As Marley sped away, I was surprised that still, Disney did not attempt to make the scene a little more comical. Something to assure the little ones that everything will be alright.

Then comes the ghost of Christmas past. There is something plain old freaky about it. The smile on it's face that just will not dissipate and that strange tick in it's neck that is used to break tension during moments of pause. The voice that Jim Carrey uses for this character amplifies the creepiness of it all. If a doll were to me made out of this thing, I would surely be freaked out by it.

As for the ghost of Christmas Present, the giant that sits atop the Christmas tree, with his torch blazing. I didn't have much of a problem with him, since he's made in a similar figure to that of Santa Claus, but there was the talk of death near the end of tenure that didn't sit well with me. He spoke of greed and ignorance and the children used as their symbols were that of those that belonged in a Silent Hill game and when he reiterates to Scrooge that his time has come, he laughs hysterically as his flesh withers away with each bell of the clock. Skin peeling away and when they show his feet, a clear cut image of bones and death were left in his wake. Death...

The ghost of Christmas Future was clearly meant to be made in the splitting image of Death. Shadowy figure that does not speak, bony fingers protrude it's cloak, and he rides in a chariot pulled by demon horses from hell. Nothing is made humorous about this ghost. He clearly intends to take Scrooge to hell and makes that known when a coffin surrounded by the flames of hell is sitting under Scrooge as he dangles, barley holding on to Death's finger. And again, no comic relief during the frantic chase or the cold stares from Death.

Overall the movie was well made. I greatly enjoyed this new take on a classic tale. While the majority of the remakes focus on the feel good outcome of the story, this version made the journey that Scrooge undertook be the main attraction. When I mentioned to my wife how the movie played out, she rightly commented that the story itself is not a feel good story, but more of a man that has gotten a chance for deliverance. It was refreshing to see the story at it's true form, but I am not sure if it's something that kids will be able to digest at first viewing. My kids liked the film but their first comments about it where of those that spooked them. If you're in for a true to form version of A Christmas Carol, then I highly recommend this film. If you're in for a cutesy version, this may scare some younger children and you may want to check out a different take on this wonderful classic. Later!

6 comments:

I have seen so many versions of this classic over the years. This one sounds like it really wasn't done in typical disney style. I myself might like it though.

Hi,
That was nice of your brother in law to give you the 4 free tickets. I saw the preview on TV and my family wants to see this movie. We do like Jim Carrey, he is a great actor. Thanks for sharing your intake on this movie. :-)

I don't know about the movie but the story certainly is a good one.

There should be a legal limit on movie remakes lol. I prefer some of the very earliest, such as Scrooge (1951).

Thank you, this was a great review. Makes me want to see it even more :)

Terrific Review. I myself have seen the movie twice and thats enough for me I do not like to watch movies over and over again even if they do change some of the ways the pictures looks or sounds. I already know what the stroy is about and thats it for me. Two times watching a movie is enough ...

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