Friday, December 10, 2021

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


Title(s)A Christmas Carol

AdaptationFeaturing the voice of Tim Curry as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Whoopi Goldberg as The Spirit of Christmas Present

Dates and Places of Earliest Release:  
SAT, 20 DEC 1997 U.S.A.
My Rating**(Substandard)

Format Reviewed
animated film, on DVD
Runtime:  1 hours 12 minutes 
As of December 10, 2021, copies of this film, on DVD and VHS, are available, online, for approximately $10 U.S. Dollars.

Does this adaptation include the phrase "God bless us...?" 
Yes. Scrooge and Tiny Tim say, in unison, "God bless us, everyone!"

Is this adaptation reverent? 

Does this adaptation mention "God" or "Christ"?
Yes (see above).

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

Where and when does this adaptation take place?
Victorian England
What language and/or dialects are used?  
Plain English

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.

Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel?  

Is this adaptation supernatural? 
Yes, this film features ghosts and time travel.

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

Is this adaptation a musical?  
What songs and/or dances are included?  
Music by John Campbell... 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 and effective is the visual art?  
The art and animation are adequate.

How creative and intense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
(The transitions are adequate.
What aerial and/or nap-of-the-earth footage is included?  
What use is made of background extras?  

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

What bonus material is included on the tape or 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.

Test your knowledge of this adaptation by taking these quizzes:

Quiz  1 of T.B.D.

Quiz  2 of T.B.D.
Quiz  3 of T.B.D.
Quiz  4 of T.B.D.
Review and quizzes by William Mortensen Vaughan