Disney’s 3-D, IMAX version of the Dickens classic from Robert Zemeckis is not your average Christmas Carol. It is ghostly, fearsome and it raises an interesting point. How will Disney market it to the kids? It’s pretty intense.
Jim Carrey plays four roles in his first Disney outing – Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright Penn also star in a spectacular achievement in motion capture animation.
Disney Shows Dark Adaptation of Scrooge Story
This version of the classical Yuletide redemption story is tougher, darker, scarier and alarming – a far cry from the soft soap we’ve watched over the years – the way Dickens wrote it.
The original story is a terrifying cautionary tale about a man’s frozen heart. It looks seriously at the social problems of Dickens’ day – poverty, disease and inequality and the social divide personified by the archetypal character of Ebenezer Scrooge and his lowly clerk, Bob Cratchet.
Scrooge is the infamous miser with a single minded and tragic worship of money. It has closed him off from family, he has no friends and indeed no normal human interaction, a state he has chosen and accepted. It’ a scary thing to be universally loathed and feared. He is about to suffer the consequences.
Jim Carrey’s Ghosts Frighten
Add four terrifying ghosts to mix and its mayhem. They appear on Christmas Eve in a mighty effort to thaw his heart and allow him to mend his ways. They show him horrific visions of what he’s become and what he will become. The familiar story is now dark and yet visually gorgeous.
Marley’s Ghost, the first spirit to enter Scrooge’s lonely chamber is dead and decayed, with a particularly repugnant unlocked jaw, a lolling tongue and crazy eyes. He’s chained to metal boxes of money, the thing he most cherished in his life. He mournfully calls on Scrooge to change before he dies alone as he did.
Recent film and television versions of the story – nearly forty to date – downplay Scrooge’s journey into darkness in favour of the happy outcome. Dickens would not have approved. But he may well approve of Zemeckis’ version as it retains the moral problem and Scrooge’s inner torments.
So what about the kids? Will the film be too intense for youngsters whose parents would ordinarily take them to see traditional holiday fare A Christmas Carol? Maybe. It could earn the studio its first PG13 rating for a Christmas release in its history.