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Disney's A Christmas Carol Review

Movies.com Critics

1.5

Dave White Profile

Christmas evil... Read full review

2.0

Jen Yamato Profile

Deck the halls with boring CGI. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    55

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 100

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    An exhilarating visual experience and proves for the third time he's (Zemeck) is one of the few directors who knows what he's doing with 3-D.

    Read Full Review

  • 100

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie.

    Read Full Review

  • 20

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This sad excuse for family entertainment tries to enshrine a classic while defacing it.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This Christmas Carol seems like a pale ghost of Dickens' magical Christmas classic.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol is, in its essence, a product reel, a showy, exuberant demonstration of the glories of motion capture, computer animation and 3D technology. On that level, it's a wow. On any emotional level, it's as cold as Marley's Ghost.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Disney's A Christmas Carol reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 9+

3-D adaptation of classic holiday tale may scare young kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, unlike The Polar Express, this Robert Zemeckis adaptation of a classic holiday tale is too intense both visually and in content for families with very young children. At its heart, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, and not only are the many spirits very creepy at times, but the 3-D technology makes certain scenes -- as when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come's red-eyed black stallions jump out at the audience -- all the scarier. And the realistic nature of the motion capture technology often makes the movie seem more like live action (and thus more intense) than animation. But on the other hand, the language is mild (British slang like "bugger" and "blast") and the drinking limited to Christmas toasts. And the messages are all quite positive, as Ebenezer Scrooge's (Jim Carrey) transformation is one of literature's ultimate stories of redemption and hope, even in the bleakest of times.

  • Families can talk about the lessons that Scrooge learns. How does he change throughout the movie? What is the story trying to teach us about not just Christmas, but about human behavior in general?
  • How are the themes of A Christmas Carol still relevant more than 200 years after it was originally written? Kids: How can you act generously during the holidays and year round?
  • Do you think the 3-D technology enhances the movie, or would it have been as good/better without it?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: The movie educates younger viewers (in a "scared straight" kind of way) on the importance of being kind and selfless, rather than greedy and selfish like Scrooge.

  • message true4

    Messages: Dickens' classic tale is full of important, relevant messages: Even in economically difficult times, there is hope and happiness; money isn't the most necessary ingredient to live a happy, successful life; those lucky enough to have money should be generous toward those who are less fortunate; everyone should be kind and charitable, no matter how rich they are; and family and friendship are far more fulfilling than work.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Although Ebenezer Scrooge is clearly a negative role model at first, he redeems himself and becomes a positive one. By abandoning his greedy ways, he realizes the importance of generosity, selflessness, altruism, family, and the spirit of Christmas. Secondary characters like Scrooge's nephew Fred, Bob Cratchit, and Tiny Tim are all admirable for their exemplary loyalty, faith, and sincerity.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Several frightening images of skeletons, corpses, and ghosts, from the very first scene of a dead Jacob Marley lying in a coffin to an open grave in scenes from Christmas future. The ghost of Marley -- along with the three spirits of Christmas, especially the Grim Reaper-esque Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (and his stampeding, red-eyed horses) -- can be disturbing, as can the hissing, threatening figures of Ignorance and Want. Some of the 3-D scenes are also intense and startling, and there are several sad scenes, particularly one in which a family mourns a young child.

  • sex false1

    Sex: A young Ebenezer dances and exchanges longing looks with a woman, and it's later clear that they were engaged.

  • language false1

    Language: Some British slang like "bugger" and "blast." The words "hell" and "ass" are used, too, but not as curses. One character says "oh my God."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults make Christmas toasts with what is presumably wine.

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