A Christmas Carol
“Come back here so that I may brain thee!”

Theatrical Release Date: 11/06/2009
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Featuring the Voices of: Jim Carrey, Steve Valentine, Daryl Sabara, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. In fact, most years, part of my family’s holiday tradition includes going to see the play. But to be honest, I was conflicted prior to going to see this movie. Part of me was looking forward to this re-imaging of the classic tale. On the other hand, I was dreading seeing yet another 3D movie, let alone a live action computer generated animation one at that.

The biggest problems with this film were all technical issues. For example, some details were extremely well done, while others were lacking and poorly presented. At best, this movie was terribly inconsistent with amazing details like the wrinkles and expressions of Scrooge’s face followed by basic faux pas like lip movement and speech being completely out of sync. This lack of synchronization is something that would have driven Elizabeth Edgemont completely insane since it drove me nuts and I’m not nearly as sensitive. The final animation problem was hair, which appeared chunky and lacked the proper movement and fluidity needed to appear natural. On the other hand, the animators did a fantastic job with flames, smoke, and fire.

Furthermore, while not a huge fan of motion capture animation, I found that this style of animation still needs a lot of refinement, since actor features and expressions strangely bleed through at various points. Consequently, I kept wondering why Disney chose to animated this film, let alone do it in 3D. I found myself asking why not just do a live-action period piece? I mean Disney still does those occasionally, right? Truthfully, being in 3D did nothing for the film, with the exception that certain snow scenes made me nauseous.

As for the acting, the film was well cast and voiced with great actors like Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Cary Elwes, Robin Wright Penn, and Bob Hoskins.

Jim Carrey — like many of the other actors — had multiple roles, playing not only Scrooge, but also all three Christmas Ghosts. Carrey’s acting physicality lent itself well to this style of animation, making the character of Scrooge come alive with his gestures, body posture, and hand movement.

That said, the Christmas ghosts, like the rest of this movie, were all over the place. For some reason unknown to me, Disney decided to make the ghost of Christmas past a candle … reminding me heavily of Beauty and the Beast’s Lumiere. The character was just weird with shutters and ticks. It didn’t fit or feel integral to the part.

The ghost of Christmas present was well done, with the exception of his hair and beard (again poorly animated). The children (ignorance and want) under his robe were decent, quickly transforming into the adults of Scrooge’s predictions. This transformation was a nice touch, although not very well animated. The ghost of Christmas present’s death is a bit graphic and dark, but serves as a nice transition into the introduction of the Ghost of Christmas yet to come. The ghost of Christmas yet to come was awesome, more like death incarnate. He is dark, haunting, and scary … existing in shadows as a wraith.

The soundtrack was fine, mostly instrumental, not very recognizable or notable. In general, this was a spoken action film. I really wanted something more along the lines of Final Fantasy’s animation skill on this, and it just didn’t happen. Overall, I think that if you’re in the mood for a Christmas classic, it’s better to go rent your favorite Christmas movie, or go to a play instead. This movie earns an unenthusiastic 1 of 5 because while I don’t feel it was a complete waste of time, it was close.