“Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” may not be the cheerful holiday film that you should take a date or younger siblings to this winter. While the film has stimulating computer graphics and 3D visuals, poor voice acting and downright terrifying scenes are more likely to fill you with the fright of Halloween rather than the spirit of Christmas.
Grossing $31 million domestically its opening weekend, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” could have been more properly named “Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol,” which came across more like a true nightmare before Christmas, scary enough to set some straight, but not warm enough for many adults who saw the film.
Director Robert Zemeckis, whose prior animated films “Beowulf” and “The Polar Express” gave his new film a strong backbone. “A Christmas Carol,” offered in traditional movie format and digital 3D is meant to add life to Charles Dickens’ 1838 novella and draw the audience in to the story.
In the beginning, everything from the characters to elaborate settings are enriched in the graphics. However, as the movie continues, the 3D visuals become scarce, resorting to dark, boney fingers being pointed at shadows.
“A Christmas Carol” is not the Jim Carey holiday comedy like his 2000 hit “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
This time, Carey plays a thin and bitter Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as the voices of all three ghosts that visit Scrooge, and Scrooge at various ages. Carey may have stretched himself too thin, with one ghostly voice drawing out their “s,” and others simply sounding too much like Scrooge.
Carey was not the only actor to take on multiple voice roles. Gary Oldman brought Cratchit, Marley and Tiny Tim to life.
The voice cast also included Bob Hoskins, whose voice is easily recognizable as that of Smee from “Hook,” providing the voices of Mr. Fezziwig and Old Joe, as well as Colin Firth contributing the voice of Fred.
Graphic scenes of “A Christmas Carol” could deter young ones from enjoying the film. Many know that Scrooge’s haunting begins with Marley as the doorknocker to Scrooge’s mansion. However, many don’t expect Marley’s rotting teeth to fly out from his open mouth.
Another, where the Ghost of Christmas Present decomposes on the floor in front of your eyes, while two starving children travel under his robe, Ignorance and Want who look more like Gollum from “Lord of the Rings.”
Minor other inconsistencies with Dickens’ novella were expected but not entirely justifiable. Instead of spontaneously appearing in different times and settings, Scrooge and the ghosts haunting him will furiously fly him above buildings and through streets in a manner which might cause motion sickness.
The Ghost of Christmas Past, in Dickens’ novella, is a small child, but appears to be more like a candle whose slight dance represents the flicker of his flame in the breeze.
He carries a candle-snuffer for the soul purpose of Scrooge trying to put out his flame and then launches to the moon like a rocket.
The final ghost, a grim- reaper like apparition, begins a terrifying yet pointless chase sequence where Scrooge must flee from a chariot of death, being pulled by nightmarish black horses with red glowing eyes.
Tiny Tim seems to be little more than a glorified extra in the Zemeckis film, as opposed to Dickens’ novel where his “God bless us, everyone!” seems to be the staple of holiday spirit.
Sentimentals and parents with children, consider yourself forewarned. “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” is neither warm nor jolly, and might have Dickens rolling over in his grave.
Joli McCarthy is a fourth-year student majoring in English and minoring in journalism. She can be reached at JM625940@wcupa.edu.
Lisa Dellaporta contributed to this article