Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dr. Who: A Christmas Carol: Review by William Mortensen Vaughan

Title"Dr. Who":  
           "A Christmas Carol"

My Rating*****

Adaptation:  Starring Michael Gambon as Kazran Sardick

Date of Release:  Saturday, December 25, 2010

Format:  DVD, feature-length, live-action, Science-Fiction television episode

Is this adaptation reverent?  This adaptation is somewhat reverent, in that it seems to focus on the importance of human lives, and even the life of a potentially man-woman-and-child-eating shark.

Does it include the phrase "God bless us...?"  [TBC]

Does it mention "God" or "Christ"?  [TBC]

How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?  This adaptation does not follow the original novel very closely.  Kazran Sardick is "the Scrooge."  A spaceship from Earth enters the angry fish filled cloud cover he maintains over the planet he rules.  The spaceship is about to crash, and several people beg for his assistance, but he insists on letting the Earthlings crash and die.  Dr. Who (Matt Smith) arrives and, in addition to begging for the Earthlings' lives, plays the role of the Ghost of Christmas Past, showing Kazran why he became the way he is.  By traveling through time, he meets Kazran as a boy (Laurence Belcher), and, returning every Christmas Eve for years, cultivates a friendship, and a romance between a young, adult Kazran (Danny Horn) and one of the people, Abigail (Katherine Jenkins) he kept frozen as collateral against her family's debt.  Dr. Who and Kazran unfreeze Abigail each Christmas Eve, and party together, then refreeze her. 

Eventually, Kazran discovers that Abigail has a set number of days to live, and the next day Abigail is released, she will die.  This makes him a bitter man again, and he refuses to release Abigail again, and takes his frustration out on everyone else on his planet.

But Dr. Who needs Kazran to release Abigail to sing, soothe the angry sky fish, and save the Earthlings' spaceship.  Somehow, he persuades Kazran to release Abigail, let her sing, and enjoy her last Christmas Eve with him as best she can.

What dialect is used?  Plain English.

When and where does this adaptation take place?  On a futuristic  planet, owned and operated by a Scrooge-like despot named Kazran Sardick, who is capable of freezing family members as collateral for debts, and reviving them years later.  He is also unimpressed by (and unconcerned with) Earthling spaceships entering his planet's atmosphere, and crashing and burning on its surface.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  No.

Is this adaptation supernatural?  No, it's more science fictional than supernatural.

Is this adaptation "framed"?  No.

How many original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?  Abigail sings what sounds like opera music, which soothes the angry sky fish.

How attractive is the visual art?  The sets, wardrobe, and special effects are good.

How creative and instense are the transitions?  The transitions are creative, startling, and intense.  Dr. Who turns up in startling places. It's easy to understand why Kazran becomes frustrated with him after ordering his henchmen to remove him from his home office, only to discover removing him is virtually impossible.

What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?  This is perhaps the most complicated adaptation of A Christmas Carol I've ever seen.  It requires its viewers to pay close attention in order to follow what's going on.  I've seen it several times, and still have my doubts about certain aspects of the story line. 

What extras are included on the DVD?  Scene selection and English subtitles are available.  Two featurettes are included:  "Dr. Who Confidential Christmas Special 2010" and "Dr. Who at the Proms 2010."

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