It seems that for every positive aspect of Robert Zemeckis' retelling of the beloved Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol, there was a countering negative that pulled this reviewer out of the movie.
The most attractive aspect of the film by far is its animation. To say that it was phenomenal would be an understatement. From the meticulous detail of the facial features to the animated hair, the scenes are breathtaking as they excel behind the glory of CGI. This movie gave Pixar a run for its money, an impressive feat no film has been able to accomplish in recent memory.
As for the 3-D aspect, it was great; however, there are only so many times that you can really use 3-D motion effectively. A tour through London at breakneck speed is awesome; a second time is still pretty cool, but by the third, fourth, and fifth encounter, you start thinking, "ok, we get it."
The acting was on par for what I was expecting. And it was a pleasant surprise to find out that Jim Carrey, Bob Hoskins, and Cary Elwes played a number of roles, a testimony to their versatility as performers. Colin Firth and Bob Hoskins were easily my favorite two on-screenstars, for no other reason than their sheer talent.
Hoskins' main portrayal was of Scrooge's old boss, Fizzywig.Â While nothing out of the ordinary, you can't help but feel happy as you hear his jolly voice ring throughout the theater as he starts his annual Christmas Party.Â Firth pretty much played the same character he always does, this time in the form of Fred, Scrooge's nephew and arch nemesis for happiness.
As the Ghosts of Past, Present, and Future, Jim Carrey does a ridiculously amazing job, but his take on Ebenezer Scrooge misses the mark entirely. Don't get me wrong, to small children he will be great, however, to an avid movie watcher, his role here was a bit disappointing. For one, he sounds like he is speaking with a rubber mask on, as unpleasant a sound as any. Not to mention his horrid British accent, which leaves no room for guessing that Carrey is 100% American attempting to conjure up a believable British dialect that falls far short of expectation.
There were two scenes that made me chuckle when they probably shouldn't have. When the Ghost of Christmas Past visits, he speaks in a very hushed Scottish accent, leaving you sitting there wanting to ask him to speak up. The other scene is when you first meet the Ghost of Christmas Present and he is just laughing and laughing and laughing. While in writing this doesn't appear to be anything worth mentioning, the laugh does go on long enough to merit a comment regarding its parallelism to the laugh at the end of Tim Burton's Batman. (Yes, when the Joker dies and you hear his signature chuckle on the tape recorder "“ that laugh.)
For parents wanting to take their small children, there are two scenes that I felt were a bit frightening for the youngsters. The first is when Marley, Scrooge's ex-partner, appears and is talking to Ebenezer when his jaw practically falls off. While this could be perceived as funny, his continued attempt to talk forces his tongue to aimlessly flap around. The second is when Ghost of Christmas Present dies and as he is withering away, he continues to laugh hysterically - even when he is just bones and eyes.
At the end of the day, the only reason to really rush out and watch this movie in the theaters is to get the full 3-D effect. It is a good movie, especially for this time of year, but the animation and multi-dimensional presentation is its strongest selling point. If neither of these traits interest you from the trailer, I would recommend a night at home with either Patrick Stewarts beloved 1999 television version, or the Mickey Mouse classic.