Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Christmas Carol, Featuring the Voice of Tim Curry: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleA Christmas Carol

My Rating**

Adaptation:  Featuring voices of Tim Curry, Whoopi Goldberg, Michael York, and Ed Asner

Year of Release:  1997

Format:  DVD, animated, feature-length film

Is this adaptation reverant?  Yes.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"  Yes.

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  Scrooge and Tiny Tim say, in unison, "God bless us, everyone!"

What does my wife think of it?  She doesn't think it's very memorable.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation follows the original novel fairly well, but gives old Scrooge a dog, named Debit.
A child begs at the door of Scrooge's counting house before Fred arrives, without singing "God Rest You Merry Gentleman" as described by Dickens.  Instead of threatening the child with a ruler, as Dickens describes, Scrooge throws coal at him, then sends Cratchit to retrieve the coal, which Cratchit hands him after Fred has left, while the gentlemen collecting donations are still in the counting house.  Scrooge places the lumps of coal in the bucket, and locks the bucket in a safe.

This adaptation includes the scene at a place Dickens describes as Scrooge's "usual, melancholy tavern," which some versions exclude.  Although Dickens mentions Scrooge having dinner at his "usual melancholy tavern," reading "all the newspapers" and "[beguiling] the rest of the evening with his banker's-book,"
Dickens does not mention anyone else being at the tavern.  Dickens leaves it to the reader's imagination to create a waiter or waitress, and/or any other customers.  This adaptation shows a tavern full of people, with a redheaded waitress who performs a song and dance routine.

Young Scrooge has a cat in this version.  He sees Robinson Crusoe, as mentioned in the novel, but, instead of Ali Baba and the other characters Dickens mentions, Scrooge, in this adaptation, sees himself as a matador, and as King Arthur, removing the sword from the stone.

In this adaptation, in the scene where young Scrooge is older, but still in the boarding school, his sister comes and removes him from the school without their father's permission, unlike in Dickens' original novel, in which Fan tells Scrooge that their father sent her to bring him home in a carriage.

Although many film adaptations show Scrooge with Belle at Fezziwig's Christmas Ball, Dickens makes no mention of Belle until he describes the scene in which she breaks off her engagement to marry Scrooge.  In this adaptation, Belle does not appear at Fezziwig's Christmas Ball, but only appears later, when she releases Scrooge from his promise to marry her.

The Ghost of Christmas Present in this version is a black woman, who refers to her sisters, instead of her brothers, unlike Dickens' white, male Ghost of Christmas Present, who refers to more than eighteen hundred of his brothers.

On Christmas morning, the new Scrooge has Fred and his wife meet him at Cratchit's for dinner, to which he unexpectedly invites himself, instead of waiting for the day after Christmas to tell Cratchit about raising his salary.  This is unlike the original novel, in which Dickens has Scrooge anonymously send the Cratchits a turkey on Christmas Day, going later to Fred's for Christmas Dinner, and not seeing Bob Cratchit again until the day after Christmas, when Bob arrives late, and Scrooge rewards his tardiness with a pay raise. 

What dialect is used?  Plain English.

What dialogue is added?  Opening narration about Marley being dead has been replaced by narration about different types of songs.

When and where does this adaptation take place? Victorian England.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  Yes.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  Yes, this adaptation is framed by a narrator.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  Several musical numbers are included, such as the song and dance routine in the tavern, which does not seem the least bit melancholy, contrary to Dickens' description.

How attractive is the visual art?  The art and animation is acceptable.

How creative and instense are the transitions?  The transitions are acceptable.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adpatation?  The addition of Debit the dog is perhaps, the most remarkable thing about this adaptation.

What extras are included on the DVD?  There are no extras on this DVD.  This film plays automatically, and I can't even find a menu or splash screen for it.

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