Well seeing how it’s soon to be Christmas, I guess it was only fitting I did a blog about Christmas (and I’ve just been informed by my little plushy animal friends that rendundant blogger is redundent-thanks guys T_T) of course. Sure, there is alot of Children’s picture books I would love to review that have to do with Christmas, but for now I will take it easy and give you a top 5 list. Because I care.
A Christmas Carol is one of the most classic of literature that every kid and adult is familiar with. And one of the more popular ways is in movies and cartoons. From the old black and white movie with Alistair Sims to the CGI staring Jim Carry. There are so many to choose from, but here, I will put down what I think are the best and give a reason why. Enjoy.
5. A Mickey’s Christmas Carol.
If you were a child of Disney, it’s a safe bet you’ve probably seen this. It follows the same story format with the exception of the humans replaced by our favorite Disney characters from the animated movies and cartoon shorts. What I love about it is that they were still faithful to the major plots of the story, but still retained that classic loveable Disney humor we enjoyed. Without taking away too much from the story itself.
Not to mention this is the only movie in which within continuity almost all of the characters are together and interacting with each other, and this was years before “Micky House of Mouse” and “Kingdom Hearts”. The one thing if I could nitpick about it was that it left out my favorite characters from “Bambi” but the rest of the goodness about this movie more than made up for it.
4. A Muppet Christmas Carol
If you are both a Jim Henson muppet fan and enjoy a Christmas Carol I believe you will like this one. Scrooge is played by Michael Caine in this and most of the Christmas Carol characters are portrayed as the muppet, with Gonzo as the writer Charles Dickens, which offers us not only an entertaining audience exposition, but good 4th wall humor particularly regarding the role of storytellers being both observers and moving the story along. Like Mickey’s Christmas Carol, we get the fun and humor that Muppet gave us without it alienating the source material too much. In fact, the fourth wall humor and small sight gags make it entertaining for children who haven’t read the original book and may make them want to explore it.
The songs are pretty good too.
3. The Real Ghostbusters – Xmas Marks The Spot
I wanted to put this down on the list. As much as I like Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, which I was tempted to put on the list, there was not much I could work with. It’s a good cartoon and the songs are good. But all it is basically is a Christmas special about Mr. Magoo staring in a stage production of “A Christmas Carol” and until I saw that the Flintstones did a Christmas Carol Special similar to that I thought I would put them in as honorable mentions and get to talking about this episode special and their take on “A Christmas Carol”. Now its no secret that the book doesn’t stick to animated and live-action movies, usually a tv show or cartoon series will sometimes use the same formula from the book and tag it as a Christmas Special.
So what made this Christmas episode of A Christmas Carol so different you may ask. Well, in this we get more of an alternative take of what could have happened if the three ghosts never did visit Ebenezer Scrooge and affect him with the Season of Giving. In fact, it doesn’t really focus all that much on the story, just on the ghosts and how the ghostbusters try to rectify their mistake (thinking that the ghost of Present, Past, and Future were going to harm Scrooge they zap them) and its a race against time to *quotes with her fingers* “Save Christmas” of course. It’s not a parody, it’s not a retelling with the characters as the characters from the book. It had been done before. What it is, is something different with a unique twist on an old much-parodied classic Christmas Special formula.
2. Chuck Jones-A Christmas Carol.
This is by far one of the darker and serious tones of the book-based movies. Alister Simms reprises his role as Scrooge with Micheal Redgrave as the narrator. There isn’t any humor in it nor whimsy, but what you do get is a brilliant retelling of that is down to the bone of the reality of the book as you can get. In hindsight, the story itself is dark with its depictions of Victorian London’s Low Class and Poverty levels brought to shocking awareness. Made in 1977, its use of moving animation and art paint out the movie in grimmer earthy-tone colors that fit the drab and squalor of the book’s surroundings. Even amongst the cheery happy pictures of snow and Christmas. Which work to each other’s advantages and shows the stark differences between the two classes the book itself reveals to its readers. There are some scenes that may be considered too scary for littler children, but I assure you, that once they get older the solemn tone of the cartoon will draw them in with its fantastic animation, deep characterizations, and really bring the real tone of the story to life to appreciate more.
1. A Christmas Carol (1951)
Although the earliest one was from 1938 MGM version starring Reginald Owen, this is one of the movies almost everyone has been familiar with no matter what generation you were born in. Before he reprised his role for the animated version in 1977, he started his role as Scrooge in director Brian Desmund Hurst’s film of the same name.
This is the popular of all the Christmas Carol movie adaptations, and was one the first to be accessible to an US movie audience, paving the way for other movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol to follow suit; as well as a colorized version of this movie that came later. There is a little bit of parts not found in the source material such as the charwoman’s role more prominent than it was in the book, the name of Scrooge’s ex-fiance being named Alice and her working at what would be a modern-day homeless shelter, and the character of Mr. Jorkins who convinces Scrooge and Marley to work for him away from Mr. Fezziwig. However, these changes are very subtle and work for the story instead of against it. We get some insight into something else that many of the other (particularly the animated) Christmas Carol adaptations never got into and that was Ebenezer’s sister Fran, who died in childbirth giving Eb Scrooge his nephew Fred, the same way their mother had died giving birth to him. So from this movie we shed some light on his indifference toward his nephew which is how the movie concludes when after the ghosts and visit to the Cratchett Family, he finally agrees to accept Fred’s invite to his house for Christmas.
Well that is it for tonight. If you ever get a chance to come across these versions, I would recommend checking them out, but I would strongly urge that if you show the children the Chuck Jones version I would brighten it up with A Muppet Christmas Carol or a Mickey Mouse one afterwards. Merry Christmas