Disney's a Christmas Carol Reviews
Disney's A Christmas Carol is a marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie, and the miracle is that it goes right back to the gilded Victorian spirit of those black-and-white films of yore.
There is a weird lack of passion here, almost condescension, a sense that Scrooge's agonised moral journey into his past is potentially pretty dull, and so Zemeckis is always livening things up by whooshing the old miser excitingly through the night sky.
Shockingly, the new film turns out to be very good, at times close to brilliant: a darkly detailed marvel of creative visualization that does well by Dickens and right by audiences -- when it's not trying to sell them a theme park ride.
Does this entertainment achieve a timelessness beyond its exquisite source material? Not even. Yet there's pleasure to be had and relief in feeling the filmmakers didn't Scrooge it up either.
The story that Dickens wrote in 1838 remains timeless, and if it's supercharged here with Scrooge swooping the London streets as freely as Superman, well, once you let ghosts into a movie, there's room for anything.
Just when you give up on it, usually in the middle of its latest, extraneous, gyroscoping thrill-ride sequence, Zemeckis reminds you that he's capable of true visual dynamism, enhanced but not wholly dictated by the digital landscape he so clearly adores.
Carrey's performance as the miserly misanthrope is lost amid effects more typically encountered in theme-park and video-game adventures. (P.S.: Is it just me, or does it also peeve you that the Mouse House claims proprietary rights on Dickens' title?)
Shortchanging traditional animation by literalizing it while robbing actors of their full range of facial expressiveness, the performance-capture technique favored by director Robert Zemeckis looks more than ever like the emperor's new clothes.