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He Needs a Little Christmas

5 Nov

Disney + Jim Carrey + Robert Zemeckis + Christmas should add up to a joyous and fun holiday movie, right? Well, then, what the Dickens is up with Disney’s A Christmas Carol? This umpteenth retelling of the classic story is a dark and often scary film with very little joy and festivity. Not even Carrey giving voice to multiple characters can liven the mood. Kids at the screening I was at were fidgety and clearly not engaged, and I couldn’t blame them. Maybe I don’t know the Charles Dickens story as well as I should, but I’ve never seen it told in such a dark and depressing way — and this is a Disney film!

That said, the animation is really impressive. There’s great detail in many of the images, and the 3D effects provide depth and added realism without being a distraction. The opening credits sequence, when the “camera” goes sweeping over the London skyline, is particularly great. Carrey, too, is quite good; he makes the most of the material he’s been given, as does the rest of the cast, which includes Gary Oldman and Colin Firth. I just wish I walked out of the theater feeling uplifted and happy, like Scrooge is at the end of the film.

Disney wants this Carol to be a fun holiday film, like Carey’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, perhaps. (Which is not to say that The Grinch is anywhere near a holiday classic, of course.) But they’ve gone all Scrooge on the seasonal charm, and instead, all we’re left with is a lump of coal. That’s why I’m giving Carol a C+. Bah humbug.

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