Who’s In It: Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright Penn, Bob Hoskins
The Basics: It’s the classic holiday tale about a miser who learns to embrace life and be generous after a night hanging out with some ghosts, only filtered through Robert Zemeckis’s high-tech motion capture 3-D animation, which is thankfully less creepy than his last Christmas tale, The Polar Express.
What’s The Deal: Zemeckis has achieved the holy grail of animation: (mostly) solving the problem of the “dead eyes.” The character design and cityscapes he’s created are technically impeccable, like a Hallmark card come to life. But seriously, people – who’s dying for yet another version of A Christmas Carol? You’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it all. Also, no child – no matter how much they love Christmas – actually wants to watch a film about a creepy old man getting scared straight. The kind of parent who takes their kid to see this movie is the kind who thinks a lump of coal in a stocking will instill strong morals in their little ones, when Billy would have enjoyed ridiculous soldiers or meatballs falling from the sky a whole lot more.
How Much Jim Carrey Is Too Much? Your enjoyment of A Christmas Carol may also depend on your tolerance for Jim Carrey, who shows up not only as Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, but also lends his mug to a host of minor characters. So if you LOVE you some Carrey, you’re in for a treat… but if his bug eyes and rubber face haunt your nightmares, prepare to be traumatized. As in, Ace Ventura 2-level trauma.
Honey, I Shrunk The Scrooge: Charles Dickens probably never imagined that his 1843 ghost story would end up as a major motion picture, destined for an afterlife as annual holiday programming or as an amusement park ride at Disneyland. If he had, maybe he would have spiced up his original novella a bit to make it more cinematic, because as it stands, no offense to Mr. Dickens, it’s kind of a snoozer. To inject his version with more adventure, Zemeckis adds a silly action scene in which the elderly Scrooge is magically shrunken to the size of a mouse and chased through town by the scary Ghost of Christmas Future. When the only exciting sequence in a film brings to mind memories of Rick Moranis falling into a bowl of onion dip and running from a cockroach, your movie has more than a few problems.