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Parents' Guide to

A Christmas Carol (1997)

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

A painful spin on the classic.

Movie NR 1997 72 minutes
A Christmas Carol (1997) Poster Image

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Somebody thought he could actually improve on Dickens' story; sadly, he couldn't, and poor character designs, low-quality animation, and dreary songs further cripple the production. Take a dumbed-down script, add lackluster character designs and crude animation, sprinkle in a handful of dreadful songs (like "Santa's Sooty Suit"), and half-bake the whole thing for 72 minutes. There's your recipe for disaster. Yes, this version of A CHRISTMAS CHAROL is a bad one, maybe the worst thing that's yet been done to Dickens' classic tale. Why is Scrooge obsessed with the novel Robinson Crusoe? Whose idea was it to give him a bulldog named Debit? How can Dickens' eloquent language have been so degraded? (Example: "I'm not gonna take it anymore! You hear me, spirits? No more!") These questions simply have no answers.

One can barely recognize the voice talents of Whoopi Goldberg, Michael York, and Ed Asner; it's as if they were trying to disguise their involvement. Only when Scrooge breaks into song does Tim Curry occasionally shine through, reminding us of his most famous role, that of transvestite mad scientist Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. And if you think the ghosts might in some way redeem the production, think again. Christmas Past is a little blonde boy with a sprig of holly and an excruciating cockney accent. Jacob Marley is just a floating fat guy with a moustache, no more threatening than a green balloon. What's really needed here is the addition of a fifth spirit, that of Charles Dickens himself, who would appear to the responsible parties and tearfully moan, "Oh, the unbearable anguish! Butchers, all of you!"

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