A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Charles Dickens himself, played by the chicken-crazy Great Gonzo (Dave Goelz), narrates this tale of Ebenezer Scrooge's (Michael Caine) spoiled life. Scrooge is hated by all. Even the (puppet) mice in the street know he's no good. Scrooge runs a mortgage company and relishes debtors' misfortune and sneers at his nephew and solicitors. When he is visited by the ghosts of Richard and Jacob Marley and then the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, Scrooge has to decide whether to live out the fate he sees or thaw his heart for a better, more loving life.
Is it any good?
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL may be your child's first introduction to the classic story, and in that capacity this fuzzy version does its job well. It's gentle and includes classic characters your children will love, as well as a few danceable songs. Unlike the grim live-action films of the tale, there's just enough Muppet madness and kindness here to keep kids feeling safe and entertained. There are some great touches: the businessmen soliciting for charity are Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beeker. Robert and Jacob Marley are played by Statler and Waldorf, the two critics from The Muppet Show -- and they continue to heckle, even in death.
But best of all, the Great Gonzo is accompanied by Rizzo the Rat (Steve Whitmire), who has a way of saying what kids are thinking. When the Ghost of Christmas Future shows up in his Grim Reaper garb, for example, Rizzo says, "This is too scary. I don't think I want to see any more." He and Gonzo then disappear until the next scene. This is a good time to either fast-forward through the scary part for particularly sensitive children or to warn and cuddle up with them for the potentially frightening parts. Overall, The Muppet Christmas Carol deserves a place on the shelf with A Charlie Brown Christmas and the animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas as heartwarming, kid-friendly holiday fare.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: December 11, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: October 8, 2002
- Cast: Dave Goelz, Michael Caine, Steve Whitmire
- Director: Brian Henson
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Book Characters, Holidays, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Music and Sing-Along, Puppets
- Run time: 120 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
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