Tuesday, December 27, 2011

1672 - A Christmas Carol

So this is probably the last "holiday" film I'll watch - unless I can think of a solid New Years one - but either way I figured I'd go out with one of my favorite stories, and this is also the third iteration I've covered this season - the first being the Muppets, then Scrooged, and so it's interesting that it ends with something that is, more or less, aiming to be faithful to the source material (of which I've never read... I should do something about that...). 
What makes this version unique is the motion capture CGI and Jim Carrey playing Scrooge as well as all of the Ghosts.  For the most part the motion capture and CGI are welcome additions, making the story visual in a way that's just not possible otherwise.  There's an opening sequence that really gives us a sense of the city - I loved the opening scene with him taking the coins from Marley's eyes - great set-up to the character.  This is clearly designed to be a showcase for Carrey as an actor, however the real scene stealer here is Gary Oldman as Bob Cratchet.  Oldman brings you to tears in the scenes following the potential death of Tiny Tim.  He's phenomenal. 
The medium lends itself to give this story a really cinematic flow, allowing the characters to morph into one another to dramatically illustrate points, and that works very very well.  However it also feels sometimes like Zemeckis just might be showing off a tad with a few little action set pieces that do little to add to the emotional and dramatic impact of the film, they're really just there to add to the visuals, which is a shame since Zemeckis is clearly talented to do both at the same time - shame he doesn't. 
I really quite liked this - far more than I thought I would, so it's easy enough to recommend - however this is not a film for small children - the treatment is almost horror film quality in moments and I'm sure it could easily give kids nightmares, so there's that.  It's a gorgeous looking film and a solid argument for the advancement of technology in certain stories.  I'll do my best to read the source material as well over the course of the next year!

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