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 fantasy 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.
The film received mixed reviews from American film critics while praising its visuals, and it earned $325.3 million on a $175–200 million budget. The 3D film was produced through the process of motion capture, a technique Zemeckis previously used in his films The Polar Express (2004), and Beowulf (2007). 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.
On Christmas Eve in 19th-century London, Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly old money-lender at a London counting house, does not share the merriment of Christmas. He declines his cheerful nephew Fred's invitation to a Christmas dinner party and dismisses two gentlemen collecting money for charity. His loyal employee Bob Cratchit offers Scrooge to have Christmas off, since there will be no business for Scrooge during the day. Scrooge agrees and leaves. In his house, Scrooge encounters the ghost of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley, who warns him to repent his wicked ways or he will condemned in the afterlife like he did, carrying heavy chains forged for his own greedy ways. He informs Scrooge that three time-travelling spirits will visit him for the next three nights.
At one o'clock, Scrooge is visited by the candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, who takes him back in time to his early life. They visit Scrooge's boarding school and Scrooge sees his sister Fan, who died after giving birth to Fred. Scrooge later begins a successful career in business and money lending as an employee under Fezziwig, and he becomes engaged to a woman named Belle. However, the Ghost shows Scrooge how Belle left him when he chose his wealth over her. A devastated Scrooge extinguishes the spirit with its candle snuffer cap as he returns to the present.
At two o'clock, Scrooge meets the merry Ghost of Christmas Present, which shows Scrooge the joys and wonder of Christmas Day. Scrooge and the Ghost visit Bob's house, learning his family is content with their small dinner, Scrooge taking pity on Bob's ill son Tiny Tim. The Ghost abruptly ages, commenting that Tiny Tim will likely not survive until next Christmas. 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 fading into dust.
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come arrives, appearing as a silent, cloaked shadow, and takes Scrooge into the future. A group of businessmen discuss the death of an unnamed colleague, but do not mourn him; he discovers that his possessions are stolen and sold by his maid, and a young couple who owed Scrooge money are relieved he is dead, as they have more time to pay off their debt. The spirit transports Scrooge to Bob's residence where he learns Tiny Tim had died. The Ghost escorts Scrooge to the cemetery, where the Ghost points out his own grave, revealing Scrooge to be the dead, unmourned man. Scrooge decides to change his ways just as the Ghost forces Scrooge to fall into his empty coffin sitting in a deep grave atop the fires of Hell.
Awakening in his bedroom on Christmas Day, he finds the ghosts had visited him all in one night instead of three. Gleeful at having survived the spirits, Scrooge decides to surprise Bob's family with a turkey dinner while remaining anonymous, and ventures out with the charity workers and the citizens of London to spread happiness in the city. The following day, he gives Cratchit a raise and becomes like "a second father" to Tiny Tim, who escapes death. A changed man, Scrooge now treats everyone with kindness, generosity, and compassion; he now embodies the spirit of Christmas.
- Jim Carrey as:
- Ebenezer Scrooge, a lonely, 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 painfully disintegrates into a skeleton, and carries the sins of Ignorance and Want upon his person, in the forms of horrifying, savage children that age into even more wretched and evil adults that are imprisoned.
- 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, with its face resembling a demonic skull.
- 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 cheerful nephew and only living relative. Fred is the son of Scrooge's little sister Fan. Fan died during child birth. Scrooge blames Fred for Fan's death.
- Bob Hoskins as:
- Steve Valentine as Funerary Undertaker/Topper
- Daryl Sabara as Undertaker's Apprentice/Tattered Caroler #1/Beggar Boy #1/Peter Cratchit/Well Dressed Caroler #1
- Sage Ryan as Tattered Caroler #2
- Amber Gainey Meade as Tattered Caroler #3/ Well Dressed Caroler #2
- Ryan Ochoa as Tattered Caroler #4/Beggar Boy #2/Young Cratchit Boy/Ignorance Boy/Young Boy with Sleigh
- Bobbi Page as Tattered Caroler #5/ Well Dressed Caroler #3
- Ron Bottitta as Tattered Caroler #6/ Well Dressed Caroler #4
- Sammi Hanratty as Beggar Boy #3/Young Cratchit Girl/Want Girl
- Julian Holloway as Fat Cook/Portly Gentleman #2/Business Man #3
- Cary Elwes as Portly Gentleman #1/Dick Wilkins/Mad Fiddler/Guest #2/Business Man #1
- Robin Wright Penn as Fan/Belle
- Jacquie Barnbrook as Mrs. Fezziwig/Fred's sister-in-law/Well Dressed Caroler #5
- Lesley Manville as Mrs. Cratchit
- Molly C. Quinn as Belinda Cratchit
- Fay Masterson as Martha Cratchit/Guest #1/Caroline
- Leslie Zemeckis as Fred's Wife
- Paul Blackthorne as Guest #3/Business Man #2
- Michael Hyland as Guest #4
- Kerry Hoyt as Adult Ignorance
- Julene Renee-Preciado as Adult Want
- Fionnula Flanagan as Mrs. Dilber
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.
A Christmas Carol premiered at London on November 3, 2009 and was theatrically released on November 6, 2009 in the United States by Walt Disney Pictures.
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".
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.
The film received mixed reviews from American film critics. 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."
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.
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 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.
- "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.
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