Kirby reviews the Blu-Ray release of last year's stop motion animated feature Disney's A Christmas Carol.
Toon Talk: Disney Film and DVD Reviews
by Kirby C. Holt
A Christmas Carol
MPAA Rating: PG
Like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and William Shakespeare’s
Hamlet, Charles Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge is one character from classic English
literature who has had more than his fair share of cinematic incarnations. From
feature films to television productions to animated cartoons, Scrooge has been
portrayed by everyone from Albert Finney to Vanessa Williams to Mr. Magoo.
Following earlier versions starring Mickey Mouse and the Muppets, Disney took
another crack at the yuletide chestnut last holiday movie season, and was even
so bold as to title itDisney’s AChristmas
Carol(now available on Disney
DVD and Blu-ray). Yet, despite that family friendly stamp of approval, thisCarolis
not for the little ones with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.
Dickens’ original book was billed as a “ghost story” after all, and
writer-director Robert Zemeckis (Academy Award winner forForrest
Gump) not only doesn’t shy away from that fact, he whole-heartedly embraces it.
This is one spookyChristmasCarol,
and parents should heed its PG rating.
Altered title aside, Dickens purists will be happy to note how faithful the
film is to the original text, with dialogue lifted straight from the page.
However, Zemeckis saw fit to pad the oft-told tale with superfluous action
sequences obviously designed to exploit the theatrical engagement’s 3-D, which
will be lost on all who have not shelled out for the new 3-D televisions and Blu-ray
main reason d’etre is yet another chance for Zemeckis to show off the motion
capture process that he first used in anotherChristmasmovie,The
Polar Express. Like that film,Carolisn’t
too successful in making viewers forget that they are watching something out of
the ordinary; the inherent falseness of mo-cap is just too unavoidable when
there is this much of it.
The all-star cast, led by Jim Carrey as Scrooge and all three Spirits ofChristmas(and
also including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Cary Elwes and Bob
Hoskins), are vaguely recognizable under their virtual make-up. Vain attempts
are made to inject life into these digital doppelgangers, at the expense of
injecting any life into this all-too-familiar story.
Simply put, this is oneChristmasCarolthat
didn’t need to be reprised.
Blu-ray bonus features include “Behind theCarol:
The Full Motion Capture Experience”, a picture-in-picture viewing option (with
or without Zemeckis’ audio commentary) that allows you to see the “raw” mo-cap
footage alongside the completed film. With its stark white stage and black
jumpsuit-clad actors, this footage looks like something out ofTron
Other extras include a rather juvenile “making of” featurette (“Capturing
Dickens: A Novel Retelling”), a “Countdown toChristmas”
Interactive Calendar (in other words: a digital advent calendar), six deleted
scenes and a Timon and Pumbaa cartoon (commercial) shilling, you guessed it, 3-D
Blu-rays and TVs.
Rapunzel and friends in the latest Disney animated fairy tale, in theaters
feature as the 1940 classic and the 2000 sequel make their Disney Blu-ray
debuts on November 30.
Also on November 30, take a look behind the
curtain with the DVD debuts of three Disney documentaries:
Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story,Waking
Walt & El Groupo.
-- Kirby C. Holt -- Logos by William C. Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics
Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an
avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ... In addition to his Toon Talk
reviews, Kirby is the creator of Movie Dearest, a blog for movie fans.
Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
is posted whenever there's something new to review.
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