Wednesday, December 9, 2009
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2009) / ***½
Distributor: Buena Vista
Release Date: November 6, 2009
Running Time: 1 hrs. 36 min.
MPAA Rating: PG
My initial reaction when seeing the trailers for Robert Zemeckis’s latest motion capture animated film, a retelling of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol,” was a sigh of indifference. This story has been told over and over again, and seeing Jim Carrey ham it up is something I’m not really interested in anymore. I’m also a little weary of so many movies being presented in 3D. I wear glasses, and the Real D glasses fit awkwardly over my frames.
However, my preconceived notions were proving wrong, as I greatly enjoyed both the film and Carrey’s work. I still don’t think seeing 3D really enhanced my enjoyment in any way, but that’s another argument for another time.
Carrey does a terrific job at playing the most famous literary miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. I’m sure everyone by now knows the story about how the crotchety old Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman), and informed that he will be visited by three more ghosts. Zemeckis effectively uses Carrey in all three roles, and in the process conjures up some sequences that breathe new life into a tired, but still classic, story.
The rest of the cast also does tremendous work, and Carrey is not the only one pulling double duty. In addition to Marley, Oldman plays Scrooge’s abused but loyal employee Bob Cratchit as well as the iconic Tiny Tim. Bob Hoskins, Cary Elwes and Robin Wright Penn (Princess Bride reunion!) similarly show up in multiple roles. Colin Firth is the lazy one of the bunch, as he only plays Scrooge’s nephew Fred.
I was a little puzzled by the release date, as I thought a few weeks later would have been more effective for the box office take. Regardless of the release date, “A Christmas Carol” managed to prove this critic wrong. It didn’t reinvent the wheel or change my life, but it’s a nice addition to the Holiday Film Catalogue.
Theater: RDM Westroads 14, Omaha, NE
Time: 145 pm