By Charly SHELTON
Ebenezer Scrooge has recently had a make-over. He started in the imagination of one man, Charles Dickens, then moved onto paper in the short novel, “A Christmas Carol.” Then into various films and cartoons, at least one of which was made by
Walt Disney Studios. And now he has made the leap to 3D portrayed by Jim Carrey.
“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.” But it’s what happened seven years earlier to the day (Dec. 24, 1843) that is the subject of our story.
Scrooge (Carrey), Marley’s partner when he was alive, was a bitter, cold man who never enjoyed Christmas. Or any other day for that matter. He saw Christmas as an excuse to spend money while making none. But when Marley returns from the grave to give Scrooge a spectral warning, his Christmas Eve is changed drastically from prior years. He is visited by three spirits – the Ghost of Christmas Past (played by Jim Carrey) who shows Scrooge the Christmases from his younger days (Young Scrooge at several ages is played by Jim Carrey). The Ghost of Christmas Present (played by Jim Carrey) reveals for Scrooge what is happening for others this Christmas. And the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (you guessed it – Jim Carrey) shows Scrooge the shadows of what may come for Christmases of the Future.
Scrooge awakens the next morning, Christmas morning, with a renewed outlook on life and shares his happiness with those all around him: Bob Cratchit, his employee (Gary Oldman), Scrooge’s nephew Fred (Colin Firth) and even Bob’s son, Tiny Tim (also Gary Oldman).
“A Christmas Carol” opens tomorrow and kicks off the holiday season right. I know, I know – Halloween just passed, Thanksgiving isn’t even on our minds yet, let alone Christmas. But this tale doesn’t necessarily relate only to Christmas. It is a story of good will and light hearted fun. Dickens dedicated his book with the following: “I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it. Their faithful Friend and Servant, C. D. December, 1843.” It is not going to start Christmas too early for those humbugs who wish to delay festivities until Dec. 21. But it is also in the Spirit of the Season (no pun intended) enough to satisfy those who, like me, have been listening to Christmas carols on their iPods since before the Station Fire started.
Not only is it a great message and holly-jolly to boot, but it was surprisingly well done. Where it is stated earlier “played by Jim Carrey,” that doesn’t mean voiced by. This CG animated movie used “motion capture” photography to allow Jim Carrey to put his movements and personal touch into this character. It was not some computer moving a digital body – it was Jim Carrey doing the acting with a digital overlay, as if he was wearing a Scrooge costume but more advanced. And it really shows through. In every character he plays, that Carrey essence comes through and makes a difference in the animation. This is the wave of the future – and it is definitely going to be accepted.
Scrooge learned that Christmas is not a time of burdens and bills and forced gatherings. It is a time of celebration, happiness and togetherness – something that many of us forget in today’s high traffic, bustling Christmas season. Don’t forget to take some time to appreciate those around you and use those two weeks off from school or work for really celebrating what makes Christmas great: “Peace on earth and good will to all.”
Rated PG for scary sequences and images; directed by Robert Zemeckis. This movie is good for everyone ages 10 and up – the scary images may be a little bit much for some very young audiences. Starring Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, and Jim Carrey, as well as Gary Oldman as Cratchit and Marley, et al. Colin Firth as Fred, Bob Hoskins as Mr. Fezziwig, et al. Cary Elwes as a charity head, et al. and Robin Wright Penn as Belle, Scrooge’s one true love. I give this movie 5 out of 5 stars on top of 5 Christmas trees. This version is sure to be the instant classic for this Christmas and the Christmases Yet to Come.