A Christmas Carol (2009 film)
|A Christmas Carol|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Produced by||Jack Rapke
|Screenplay by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Based on||A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens|
Robin Wright Penn
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Edited by||Jeremiah O'Driscoll|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios
|Box office||$325.3 million|
Disney's A Christmas Carol is a 2009 American 3D computer animated motion-capture holiday fantasy comedy-drama film written and directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is an adaptation of the Charles Dickens story of the same name and stars Jim Carrey in a multitude of roles, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, and the three ghosts who haunt Scrooge. The film also features supporting roles done by Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright Penn, and Cary Elwes.
A Christmas Carol began filming in February 2008, and was released on November 3, 2009 by Walt Disney Pictures. It received its world premiere in London, coinciding with the switching on of the annual Oxford Street and Regent Street Christmas lights, which in 2009 had a Dickens theme.
The film was released in Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3-D. It is also Disney's third film retelling of A Christmas Carol following 1983's Mickey's Christmas Carol and 1992's The Muppet Christmas Carol. The film also marks Carrey's first role in a Walt Disney Pictures film, and his second Christmas film after How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000).
In 1843, Ebenezer Scrooge, a bitter and miserly old moneylender at a London counting house holds everything that embodies the joys and spirit of Christmas in contempt. He refuses to visit his cheerful nephew, Fred, at his Christmas dinner party with his family, and he forces his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off for his own family. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley, who had died seven years prior and is now forced to spend his afterlife carrying heavy chains forged from his own greedy ways. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer an even worse fate if he does not repent. He then tells Scrooge he will be visited by three more spirits that will help guide him.
The first spirit is the Ghost of Christmas Past, which shows Scrooge visions of his own past that take place around the Christmas season, reminding Scrooge of how he ended up the avaricious man he is now. In the visions, Scrooge spends much of his childhood neglected by his father over the holidays at a boarding school until he's finally brought home by his loving sister, Fan, who dies prematurely after giving birth to her son, Fred. Scrooge later begins a successful career in business and money lending, and he becomes engaged to a woman named Belle, though she later breaks off the engagement when his obsession with wealth drives her away. The elderly Scrooge is unable to bear witnessing these events again and extinguishes the spirit with its candle snuffer cap. This causes Scrooge to be rocketed thousands of feet into the air while clinging onto the snuffer, only to have it disappear, resulting in Scrooge falling down to earth, back into his bedroom for the next visitation.
The second spirit is the Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows Scrooge the happiness of his fellow men on Christmas Day. Among them are Fred, who playfully makes jokes with his family at Scrooge's expense, and the Cratchit family, who are barely able to make do with what little pay Scrooge gives them. Scrooge is touched by the Cratchits' sickly young son Tiny Tim and his commitment to the spirit of Christmas, and he is dismayed to learn from the spirit that Tim may not have much longer to live. Before dying, the spirit warns Scrooge about the evils of "Ignorance" and "Want", Big Ben begins tolling the hour, as "Ignorance" and "Want" manifest themselves before Scrooge as two wretched children who grow into violent, insane individuals, leaving the spirit dying and wither into dust as Big Ben finishes its hour toll, in front of Scrooge.
The third and final spirit is the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, which torments Scrooge by chasing him through the streets of London on a carriage before showing him the final consequences of his greed. Scrooge sees in this future that he has died, though none mourn for him: Fred and his wife are elated to inherit his wealth; Scrooge's charwoman, Mrs. Dilber, is shown to have robbed him and sold his belongings to a fence named Old Joe; and the men who attended his funeral had only gone for a free lunch. Tiny Tim is also shown to have died, leaving the Cratchit family to mourn him on Christmas. The horrified Scrooge asks the spirit whether the images he has seen are sure to happen or can be changed. To little response, the spirit reveals Scrooge's own grave, showing his own date of death as December 25 of a forthcoming year (or perhaps the very next morning, as the year is never shown), and forces Scrooge to fall into his empty coffin sitting in a deep grave atop the fires of Hell.
Scrooge suddenly awakens to find it is Christmas Day, and all three spirits have visited him over the course of one night. He joyously gives a child on the street some money to buy a prize turkey and have it delivered to the Cratchits. He then attends his nephew's dinner, giving money to the poor and celebrating with his fellow men along the way. When Bob Cratchit comes to work, Scrooge grants him the day off and raises his salary after he has him deliver the money to the bank. As he steps out, Bob Cratchit affirms with the audience that Scrooge has become a kinder man and a second father to Tiny Tim, who survives thanks to Scrooge's charity.
- Jim Carrey as:
- Ebenezer Scrooge, an ill-tempered, stingy, selfish man, who despises Christmas and all things which engender happiness.
- Ghost of Christmas Past, the first of the three spirits that haunt Scrooge in order to prompt him to repent. He is depicted as a young, androgynous human with a waxy, candle-like body and a flickering flame for a head, who speaks in a dreamy, slow voice with an Irish accent, and sways about.
- Ghost of Christmas Present, the second of the three spirits. He is depicted as a large, jolly man from the north of England, with red hair, a full beard, and a green ermine robe who ages rapidly while he is with Scrooge. He has a tendency to laugh heartily, even as he dies, and carries the sins of Ignorance and Want upon his person, in the forms of horrifying, savage children.
- Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, the third of the three spirits. It is depicted as a large shadow in the shape of the Grim Reaper cast across the ground or a wall, and occasionally emerges into three dimensions to point at something or to chase Scrooge in a large, shadow-like horse-drawn hearse.
- Gary Oldman as:
- Bob Cratchit, Scrooge's unappreciated, underpaid clerk.
- Jacob Marley, The ghost of Scrooge's former business partner, bound in chains and damned to walk the earth due to his cold-hearted, wasted life.
- Tiny Tim, Cratchit's youngest son. While Gary Oldman provided the motion capture, Tiny Tim's voice is provided by Ryan Ochoa.
- Colin Firth as Fred, Scrooge's affable nephew and only living relative.
- Bob Hoskins as:
- Robin Wright Penn as:
- Belle, Scrooge's neglected fiancée.
- Fan Scrooge, Scrooge's late sister who died prematurely after giving birth to Fred.
- Cary Elwes as:
- Dick Wilkins, Scrooge's old roommate.
- Mad Fiddler
- Businessman #1
- Guest #2
- Portly Gentleman #1, a man who requests from Scrooge a donation to those less fortunate.
- Destitute Man #2
- Steve Valentine as:
- Undertaker, a funeral worker that Scrooge meets with revolving around Jacob Marley's death.
- Julene Renee-Preciadoas Adult Want
- Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Dilber, Scrooge's charwoman.
- Kerry Hoyt as Adult Ignorance
- Molly C. Quinn as Belinda Cratchit.
- Ryan Ochoa as:
- Tattered Caroler
- Beggar Boy
- Young Cratchit Boy
- Ignorance Boy
- Young Boy with Sleigh
- Daryl Sabara as:
- Undertaker's Apprentice
- Tattered Caroler
- Beggar Boy
- Peter Cratchit
- Well-Dressed Caroler
- Sammi Hanratty as:
- Beggar Boy
- Young Cratchit Girl
- Want Girl
- Lesley Manville as Bob Cratchit's wife.
- Fay Masterson as:
- Martha Cratchit
- Guest #1
- Ron Bottitta as:
- Tattered Caroler
- Well-Dressed Caroler
- Jacquie Barnbrook as:
- Mrs. Fezziwig
- Fred's Sister-in-Law
- Well-Dressed Caroler
- Paul Blackthorne as:
- Guest #3
- Businessman #2
- Julian Holloway as:
- Fat Cook
- Portly Gentleman #2
- Businessman #3
- Michael Hyland as Guest #4
- Leslie Zemeckis as Fred's Wife
Robert Zemeckis has stated previously that A Christmas Carol is one of his favorite stories dealing with time travel. Carrey has described the film as "a classical version of A Christmas Carol [...] There are a lot of vocal things, a lot of physical things, I have to do. Not to mention doing the accents properly, the English, Irish accents [...] I want it to fly in the UK. I want it to be good and I want them to go, 'Yeah, that's for real.' We were very true to the book. It's beautiful. It's an incredible film." Also, the Scrooge puppet seen in The Polar Express, which was also directed by Robert Zemeckis served as the basis for Ebeneezer Scrooge in this movie.
The film opened at #1 in 3,683 theaters, grossing $30,051,075 its opening weekend, with an average of $8,159 per theater. The film has come to gross an estimated $137,481,366 in the United States and Canada and $181,000,000 in other territories, for a worldwide total of $318,481,366. In the UK, A Christmas Carol topped the box office on two separate occasions; the first was when it opened, the second was 5 weeks later when it leapfrogged box office chart toppers 2012, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Paranormal Activity despite family competition from Nativity!, another Christmas-themed movie.
Disney released the film on November 16, 2010 in a single-disc DVD, two-disc 2D Blu-ray/DVD combo and in a four-disc combo pack that includes a Blu-ray 3D, a Blu-ray 2D, a DVD and a digital copy. This marked the first time that a film was available in Blu-ray 3D the same day as a standard Blu-ray 2D, as well as Disney's first in the Blu-ray 3D market. The DVD contains deleted scenes and two featurettes called "On Set with Sammi" and "Capturing A Christmas Carol". The Blu-ray 2D also has a "Digital Advent Calendar" and the featurette "Behind the Carol: The Full Motion Capture Experience". The Blu-ray 3D has an exclusive 3D game called "Mr. Scrooge's Wild Ride".
In addition of becoming a failure at the box office, the film received mixed reviews from American film critics, however being more positive reviews than there were mixed. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 54% of 186 critics have given the film a positive review, with a rating average of 5.9 out of 10. The site's consensus is: "Robert Zemeckis' 3-D animated take on the Dickens classic tries hard, but its dazzling special effects distract from an array of fine performances from Jim Carrey and Gary Oldman." Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, has a rating score of 55 based on 32 reviews.
In his review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars (out of four), calling it "an exhilarating visual experience". Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A, applauding the film as "a marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie". Joe Neumaier of the New York Daily News gave the film 3/5 stars and stated the film "is well-crafted but artless, detailed but lacking soul." Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon.com gave the film a mixed review claiming the movie "is a triumph of something — but it's certainly not the Christmas spirit." Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal wrote in his review that the film's "tone is joyless, despite an extended passage of bizarre laughter, several dazzling flights of digital fancy, a succession of striking images and Jim Carrey's voicing of Scrooge plus half a dozen other roles."
The Daily Telegraph reviewer Tim Robey wrote, "How much is gained by the half-real visual style for this story is open to question – the early scenes are laborious and never quite alive, and the explosion of jollity at the end lacks the virtue of being funny." Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian also criticized the technology: "The hi-tech sheen is impressive, but in an unexciting way. I wanted to see real human faces convey real human emotions." Time Out London praised the film for sticking to Dickens' original dialogue but also questioned the technology by saying, "To an extent, this 'Christmas Carol' is a case of style – and stylisation – overwhelming substance."
Awards and nominations
|Award||Category||Recipients and nominees||Result|
|2010 Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie||Jim Carrey||Won|
|Favorite Animated Movie||A Christmas Carol||Nominated|
|36th Saturn Awards||Best Animated Feature||Nominated|
- List of ghost films
- A Christmas Carol (score)
- List of A Christmas Carol adaptations
- List of 3D films
- "A CHRISTMAS CAROL (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. October 7, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2012.
- Barnes, Brooks (October 26, 2009). "Disney Hopes Christmas Carol Lives Up to Its Blockbuster Marketing". New York Times. Retrieved October 25, 2009.
- "A Christmas Carol (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on November 29, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- "Disney's A Christmas Carol- Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
- Fleming, Michael. "Jim Carrey set for 'Christmas Carol': Zemeckis directing Dickens adaptation", Variety, July 6, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-09-11.
- McClintock, Pamela (February 7, 2008). "Studios rush to fill '09 schedule". Variety.
- "Dickens theme for festive lights". BBC News. September 13, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- Hall, James (September 12, 2009). "Disney's A Christmas Carol will be theme for London's Christmas lights". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- Making the Trilogy: Part 1 featurette on the Back to the Future Trilogy DVD box set.
- "In the Future: Jim Carrey", ComingSoon.net, March 7, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-03-09.
- Orndorf, Brian (November 8, 2010). "Disney's A Christmas Carol (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- Garrett, Diane (January 7, 2010). "3D for the home coming". Variety. Retrieved January 30, 2014.
- "Disney's A Christmas Carol (2009)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved February 28, 2011.
- "Disney's A Christmas Carol: Reviews (2009)". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
- "Disney's A Christmas Carol Movie Review". Chicago Sun-Times. November 5, 2009. Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
- "Disney's A Christmas Carol Movie Review". Entertainment Weekly. November 6, 2009. Archived from the original on November 7, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
- Neumaier, Joe (November 5, 2009). "Disney's A Christmas Carol in Disney Digital 3D: Blah, humbug! 'A Christmas Carol's 3-D spin on Dickens well done in parts but lacks spirit". New York Daily News. Archived from the original on November 9, 2009. Retrieved November 6, 2009.
- Williams, Mary Elizabeth (November 5, 2009). "Disney's "A Christmas Carol": Bah, humbug!". Salon.com. Archived from the original on January 11, 2010. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
- Morgenstern, Joe (November 6, 2009). "'A Christmas Carol': Carrey, Disney Play Scrooge". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
- Robey, Tim (November 5, 2009). "A Christmas Carol, review". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Peter Bradshaw (November 6, 2009). "Film review: A Christmas Carol | Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- "A Christmas Carol Review. Movie Reviews - Film - Time Out London". Timeout.com. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
- Official website
- A Christmas Carol at the Internet Movie Database
- A Christmas Carol at the TCM Movie Database
- A Christmas Carol at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- A Christmas Carol at AllMovie
- A Christmas Carol at Box Office Mojo
- A Christmas Carol at Rotten Tomatoes
- A Christmas Carol at Metacritic