Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

  • Review Date: October 31, 2009
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 48 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Respectful Magoo treatment of Dickens is fun for kids.
  • Review Date: October 31, 2009
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 48 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
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14
15
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

The cartoon short-feature connects to kids who are just a little too young to read Charles Dickens' novel.

Positive messages

Dickens' messages about the emptiness of greedy materialism and the redemption of Christmas and kindness are preserved. References are made (without dropping names) to Jesus and the religious basis for Christmas in both Dickens-derived dialogue and in song lyrics.

Positive role models

If you like the Dickens characters you'll find nothing to argue with here. Some activists claim Mr. Magoo is an insult to the handicapped because of his near-blind bumbling.

Violence & scariness

A stage-set collapse conks a supporting character (but Magoo escapes unscathed). 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A jubilant Scrooge announces "I'm giddy as a drunken man," and that's about it.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a faithful rendering of the Dickens novel, with Scrooge/Magoo getting a glimpse of the bleak future in which both he and Tiny Tim have died. References are made to Jesus and the religious basis for Christmas. Certain pressure groups have complained that the Mr. Magoo concept mocks the disabled because much of the humor involves Magoo's poor eyesight.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

MR. MAGOO'S CHRISTMAS CAROL bowed as a 1960s prime-time NBC-TV cartoon special. In the 1980s Sir Alastair Cooke surprised many with a commentary calling the cartoon one of the best of the many A Christmas Carol adaptations he'd seen. In the cartoon the premise is that Mr. Magoo has somehow become a Broadway star in a new musical "Christmas Carol," which we see in its entirety, after Magoo arrives at the last minute backstage. Magoo plays the London miser Ebeneezer Scrooge, of course, who learns the meaning of Christmas thanks to a ghostly series of interventions, in a narrative that is almost entirely faithful to the Charles Dickens novel.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The Jule Styne songs aren't terribly catchy, the line-art animation is coloring-book simplistic, and Bob Crachit looks like George Jetson. Still, for the younger set this is an appropriate Christmas Carol that does indeed preserve much of Dickens' pathos and quotes his dialogue directly, not rewriting or dumbing down. It's indeed compelling to see Magoo, even with a few bad-eyesight-gags mixed in, playing the storybook miser straight, right down to tearful regret.

Following this, more Magoo cartoons came out as mini-editions of classic literature -- casting Magoo as Don Quixote, Long John Silver, Dr. Frankenstein, and the Count of Monte Cristo, among others -- that (not unlike PBS-TV's Wishbone) treated the stories seriously and made the themes accessible to child viewers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol so effective -- and so easily adaptable. Ask kids which is their favorite retelling and why.

  • Study up with animation-savvy kids on the history of the Mr. Magoo character and some of the real-life models for him, like legendary comic W.C. Fields. Mention that the original Magoo of the late 1940s/early 1950s was conceived as nastier, more adult-oriented and mean-spirited than the harmlessly silly gent he became on TV.

Movie details

DVD release date:September 14, 2004
Cast:Jack Cassidy, Morey Amsterdam, Paul Frees
Director:Abe Levitow
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Holidays
Run time:48 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byLowe's man October 26, 2014
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Artistic quality is poor.

The animation is disorienting, dull and simplistic (in fact, the whole show is disorienting), the songs aren't memorable, and the children's voices aren't very good, especially when they sing. Harmless for preschoolers who have nothing better to watch (or nothing better to do), but those who are at least 6 should instead be introduced to a different version. I'm surprised that Sir Alistair Cooke thinks differently, but I have my opinion, just as he has his. If most of you agree with Cooke and not me, I rest my case.

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