Finally, I got to watch Disney’s latest 3D animated flick, A Christmas Carol, which stars Jim Carrey as the voice of the protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge.
As this movie is obviously based entirely on the Charles Dickens Christmas classic novella, I will not delve into the story. Go read the book. I find it a must to do so in order to comprehend the movie. If you go into the story of A Christmas Carol for the first time through the film, you will not understand it and you may be disappointed for paying so much just to see it. The language is in the old British-style English and, knowing Filipinos’ comprehension of this type of spoken English, you might never get to understand the dialogue. This is not to mock every Pinoy; take it from me, because while watching, I wasn’t entirely listening to what the characters were saying. I was just engrossed in the visuals and relied on what I have read on the story for the script. Basically, it is essential to read the text first and formulate your visual interpretation in your own head.
Critics have given it a moderate rating—not exactly a very much anticipated ranking, considering that it is from Disney and is based on a classic. Some critics have said that it is an excellent visual version of the classic Dickens story, but lacks in heart or spirit. I have to agree. I didn’t feel exhilaration or a sense of inspiration after watching it. It was plain fun with elements of comedy, horror, and drama. The thrill, in my opinion, was absent. Even if Scrooge was being chased down the alley by a huge horse-drawn carriage, I wasn’t at the edge of my seat, hoping that he wouldn’t get caught. I just stared, watched, and enjoyed the 3D ride.
If I could have my way, every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart!
Catches himself laughing like the Ghost of Christmas Present:
‘I’ve heard that laugh before…’
There were several scenes that were non-existent in the book. Although I hate a love-hate approach to this kind of practice by directors, I approve of it for this particular movie due to the interpretation and significance that it lends to A Christmas Carol. Take for instance, the death of the Ghost of Christmas Present. In the book, it wasn’t stated that he died—he simply vanished into thin air. In this animated movie, he actually grew old (and fast!), stumbled, and was shed of his skin up to his skeleton. He was laughing the whole time he was dying—even his skeleton was laughing. Afterwards, his remains were blown away like dust. I have formulated the significance of this scene: The Ghost of Christmas Present, albeit dying, was laughing because finally, Scrooge was being stripped off of his “Ignorance” and “Want”—worldly and selfish characteristics of man. It meant that Scrooge has finally come to his senses and is willing to propagate change into him. It was a laugh of triumph in being able to divert a man from his greedy ways.
I applaud the visual-creation department of Disney and Pixar. The environment was very much realistic. The humans were hardly recognizable as CGIs if shrouded in shadows. The only thing that made them look like CGIs was when they were moving too fast and performing feats not seen in reality. I also liked the style where in the end, Bob Cratchit suddenly evolved into Charles Dickens himself, stating the closing lines of his book. I have to say, he really did look like the man himself. Not really surprising, but still, a surprise.
All in all, I could say that my excitement for the movie has paid off, but it never reached my expectations. I was hoping for a film that would get through me, more than what the book did. Still, it was a great cinematic panorama, and it certainly helped me understand certain vague points in the novella. The 3D experience was fine, but not enough to convince me that 3D cinema is best enjoyed in live action films.