Product IV

film 2 of 4

A Christmas Carol (2009)

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 17, 2015

This motion capture process is getting grotesque. Too many of the characters, or actually all the characters just look weird or aggressively unpleasant. And Fezziwig’s dance! What’s with Fan? The razzle dazzle that provided some reasonable fun to Polar Express feels kind of ill-behaved in this admittedly over-familiar, still sacred setting. (The rocket was funny though.) There’s a chase scene, varied by our hero shrinking, for some reason, that’s just utterly pointless.

What a fuddy-duddy I am! This story is canonical, and even a Standard Work. But this movie is Product, and as has almost always been true with writer/director Robert Zemeckis, it’s product of a particularly exuberant and personable variety. Past’s head bobbing is funny, for instance, and who mugged more, literarily speaking, than Dickens? Zemeckis & Co. bring us some cool elaborations. The knocker, and his teeth. Marley’s eyes that don’t focus, and his jaw problem. (Very funny, but characteristically, it’s funny at the expense of the most important moral dialogue in the book, or in the whole world. “Mankind was my business …”) The couple who are relieved because Scrooge’s death represents a creditor’s reprieve. Ignorance and want especially—the fireworks actually enhance that one quite a bit. And though Tim may be what Tim usually is, what the Cratchits do in their fear and then their sorrow is very moving. It brings out something implicit in the text, that perhaps we’ve not seen before—that’s precisely what numerous productions of plays and literary adaptations on films are for.

Still this motion capture process is getting grotesque …