Christmas Carol: The Movie
|Christmas Carol: The Movie|
Original British quad poster
|Directed by||Jimmy T. Murakami|
|Produced by||Iain Harvey|
|Based on||A Christmas Carol|
by Charles Dickens
|Music by||Julian Nott|
|Edited by||Taylor Grant|
|Distributed by||Pathé Distribution|
Christmas Carol: The Movie is a 2001 British live action/animated film based on Charles Dickens's classic novella. Directed by Jimmy T. Murakami, the film features the voices of numerous actors including Simon Callow, Kate Winslet (who also sang the film's theme "What If"), Kate's sister Beth Winslet, and Nicolas Cage. This version differs from others, in that Scrooge is given another chance with the love of his life, Belle, who ended their engagement in their youth after he was corrupted by greed; they later meet again after the three spirits have reformed Scrooge and he is now kind and generous, causing Belle to love him again. Both Belle and Old Joe notably have bigger roles in the film. Unlike the book as well as other film adaptations, Belle does not marry and have children with another man. She is a nurse. Old Joe is a henchman of Scrooge who arrests or robs people who owe Scrooge debt but Scrooge fires him after mending his ways. Also in the film Marley's ghost haunts Scrooge before he goes home and Scrooge is notably younger as he has auburn hair and is middle-aged rather than being elderly. He also showns a kindness towards a mouse that appears throughout the film.
In 1867, Charles Dickens arrives at a theatre in Boston one snowy night to tell the story of "A Christmas Carol".
In Victorian London on one Christmas Eve the merriment is not shared by a money lender named Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge on his way back to work from the Exchange orders a criminal named Old Joe to arrest his debt ridden clients including Dr Lambert who along with several other clients is locked up in a debtors' prison. Belle a middle aged nurse and an old flame of Scrooge is informed by Scrooge's colleague Mr Leech that the debts have now been transferred to Scrooge. Belle goes to Scrooge's office only for him to be out on business. Belle gives a letter to Scrooge's clerk Bob Cratchit before leaving to visit Dr Lambert in prison.
That night Scrooge refuses to dine with his nephew Fred and deliberately pours a bucket of cold water over Bob's youngest son Tiny Tim who only recently got admitted out of hospital by Dr Lambert and gets pnemounia. After Bob leaves for home Scrooge is haunted by the ghost of his late partner Jacob Marley who wears a chain as punishment for his greedy ways when he was alive. He warns Scrooge he will be haunted by three spirits and the first will call at one in the morning. Despite the warning Scrooge continues his selfish ways by refusing to donate money to two men of business and instead supports the prisons and workhouses and even claims the poor better off dead and to 'Decrease the surplus population'.
When Scrooge retires to bed he encounters the Ghost of Christmas Past who takes him back to his youth. Scrooge witnesses when he was unwanted in school by his father James Emanuel Scrooge until his sister Fan came to collect him claiming their father has changed and introduces him to Belle. It turns out though Scrooge's father still despises him and sends him off to Fezziwig's to be an apprentice. Scrooge then witnesses when he was happy under Fezziwig who treated him like a son and Scrooge and the spirit witness a Christmas party which includes Fan, her husband Fredrick and Belle. However young Scrooge after being left the inheritance by his late father shows his greedy side and Fan who is pregnant with Fred is implied to be driven to poverty (as their father disowned her as he did not approve of her marriage to Fredrick) and dies after Fred is born. Scrooge then sees when Belle who he was engaged to leave him due to his changed ways.
The next spirit The Ghost of Christmas Present shows him how others keep Christmas including Fred and the Cratchits. Tiny Tim who is ailing with pnemounia concerns Scrooge but the spirit sarcastically tells Scrooge he is better off dead and uses Scrooge's previous unkind remarks of the surplus population.
The final spirit The Ghost of Christmas yet to come shows Scrooge what will happen In the future. Tim dies with his family mourning him and the dead man that got robbed and spoken of was himself after seeing his 'grave'. The ghost of Marley returns him to the present where Scrooge at first does not change but after seeing his 'chains' via a mirror quickly repents and hires a boy to buy and deliver a goose to the Cratchits. Scrooge becomes a kinder man and is praised by the ghosts of the Past and Present. However Scrooge becomes guilt ridden when the children's hospital Belle and Dr Lambert worked at has the children evicted due to his previous wicked deeds causing him to fire Old Joe. Scrooge is confronted by Belle and Scrooge promises Belle he will make up for his sins and the pair reunite as a couple.
The next day Scrooge promotes Bob as his new partner replacing Marley and promises to help his family as well as giving him a raise and becomes a stepfather to a now well Tiny Tim and everything returns to normal thanks to Scrooge changing his ways.
- Simon Callow – Charles Dickens/Ebenezer Scrooge (voice)
- Kate Winslet – Belle (voice)
- Nicolas Cage – Jacob Marley (voice)
- Jane Horrocks – Ghost of Christmas Past (voice)
- Michael Gambon – Ghost of Christmas Present (voice)
- Rhys Ifans – Bob Cratchit (voice)
- Juliet Stevenson – Emily Cratchit (voice)
- Robert Llewellyn – Old Joe (voice)
- Iain Jones – Fred (voice)
- Beth Winslet – Fan (voice)
- Colin McFarlane – Albert Fezziwig (voice)
- Arthur Cox – Dr. Lambert (voice)
- Keith Wickham – Mr. Leach/Undertaker (voices)
- Joss Sanglier – Choir Master (voice)
- Sarah Annison – Mice Voice No. 1 (voice)
- Rosalie MacCraig – Mice Voice No. 2 (voice)
A Christmas Carol was directed by Jimmy Murakami, who helmed the Oscar-nominated The Snowman and When the Wind Blows in the 1980s. The animation was carried out by several companies across Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Spain and South Korea. It is bookended by live-action sequences featuring Simon Callow as Charles Dickens, who reads his tale to Boston theatre audience. However, in certain DVD releases, the live action scenes are cut. Callow would play Dickens again three years later in 2005 in the Doctor Who episode "The Unquiet Dead".
Release and reception
Christmas Carol was released on 7 December 2001 by Pathé in the UK, although it was originally slated for 30 November. In the United States, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer released it straight to video on VHS and on Region 1 DVD on 7 October 2003 in full screen. Reviewers across Britain, the Republic of Ireland and the US were generally dismissive towards the film. After viewing it at the Toronto International Film Festival, Variety's Todd McCarthy wrote, "[The] character animation is dully inexpressive, and two obnoxious mute mice do more scampering and gesticulating than Harpo Marx did in his entire career."
- McCarthy, Todd (25 November 2001). "Film Reviews: Christmas Carol: The Movie". Variety. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
- Cling, Carol (7 October 2003). "Video Preview: Ready to Roar". Las Vegas Review-Journal. p. 1E. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Majekodunmiallan Hunter, Tinu (7 December 2001). "Film: The Weekend Starts Here, Not Much Kop". Daily Express.
- Walker, Alexander (6 December 2001). "Scrooge by name (Film)". London Evening Standard.
- Marriott, John (6 December 2001). "Reviews: Christmas Carol – The Movie (U)". The Scotsman.
- Gleeson, Sinéad (13 December 2001). "Movie Review: Christmas Carol: The Movie". RTÉ Ten: The Entertainment Network. RTÉ Commercial Enterprises. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Vancheri, Barbara (12 December 2003). "New titles add to variety of holiday viewing". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 40.