Monday, January 2, 2017

An All Dogs Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

TitleAn All Dogs Christmas Carol

My Rating****

Adaptation:  Featuring the voice of Ernest Borgnine as Carface

Date of ReleaseTuesday, November 17, 1998

Format:  DVD, animated feature-length live-action

Is this adaptation reverent?  Yes.  It's about angel dogs in dog heaven.

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

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  Yes, Timmy says, "God bless us everyone!"

What does my wife think of it?  She enjoyed it, and thinks it's one of the most unique versions of A Christmas Carol she has ever seen.

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation does not follow the original novel very closely.  It is based on characters in the animated, feature-length films All Dogs Go to Heaven and its sequel.

A dog named Carface (voice of Ernest Borgnine) is the equivalent of Scrooge.  Timmy (Taylor Emerson), a puppy with a splint on one of its hind legs, is the equivalent of Tiny Tim, but is not the offspring of any of Carface's employees.  Carface has a sidekick, Killer (Lidsville's Charles Nelson Reilly), but his sidekick doesn't seem to have a family, other than Carface's crime family.

Carface has a boss, a flying dog named Belladonna (Bebe Neuwirth).  Belladonna is the evil cousin of Anabelle (also Bebe Neuwirth).  Belladonna and Anabelle have bodies like greyhounds, but feminine hairstyles on their heads, and wings like Pegasus.  Anabelle is apparently an archangel in dog heaven, and Belladonna, a witch, on Earth.  Belladonna devises an evil plan to take over all the dogs in San Francisco on Christmas Eve.  This evil plan involves a gargantuan dog whistle, which will hypnotize all of the dogs in the city, and will influence them to take their masters' Christmas presents to a certain location, where Belladonna intends to let Carface take possession of them.  She's not interested in the loot, just the satisfaction of ruining Christmas.

There are also two or three guardian angels, in the form of mutts Charlie Barkin (Steven Weber) and Itchy Itchiford (Dom DeLuise) (perhaps a Basset Hound), and another greyhound with a feminine hairdo, Sasha (Sheena Easton).  They throw a Christmas charity party to raise money for the operation Timmy needs.

Carface and Killer show up, and, using a magical dog whistle, rob them of their presents, bones, and the few coins they've collected for Timmy.

Charlie, trying to impress Sasha, takes Itchy to get the stolen goods back, but Carface outsmarts them repeatedly, and, after over-confidently revealing her evil plan, Belladonna sics her firy minions on them, so, when they are trying to decide what to do next, Anabelle intervenes, giving Charlie a magic amulet, which he discovers will allow him, Itchy, and Sasha to portray the Ghosts of Christmas Future, Past, and Present, respectively, but in chronological order, in Carface's dreams, on Christmas Eve, after Carface's alarm is set to wake him up in time to play his role in Belladonna's diabolical plot to ruin Christmas in San Francisco.

Carface, after seeing visions of Timmy, is so touched by how similar Timmy is to himself, that he has a change of heart, and betrays Belladonna.  Then Anabelle steps in to save Carface from Belladonna.  Then Carface gives back the presents he stole, as well as more presents, and enough money to cover Timmy's operation. 

When and where does this adaptation take place?  Modern San Francisco.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  Yes.  It includes angels and witchcraft, as well as magical ghosts.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  Yes, this story is told to angel puppies in dog heaven by an angel named Anabelle.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  At least three original musical numbers are included:  A Christmas duet by a Chihuahua with a Hispanic accent, and, I believe, a Scotty dog; an autobiographical ballad by Carface; and a diabolical duet by Killer and Belladonna.

How attractive is the visual art?  The art is adequate.

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

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, how "far out" it is from the original novel, while still incorporating a Scrooge, a Timmy, and three Ghosts of Christmas.  There's even a Martha, in the human form of Timmy's owner.

What extras are included on the DVD?  Scene Selection, and a Sing Along section are available; audio and subtitles are available in French and English.

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