The Muppet Christmas Carol
Made in 1992, the American musical ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ book, ‘A Christmas Carol’. It is a fantasy/comedy film narrated by Charles Dickens (Gonzo the Great, voice by Dave Goelz) about a miserly financier called Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine), and how he changes to be good. After leaving his poor clerk, who has just had to beg for the day off on Christmas Day, Scrooge is visited in the night by his old partners, Jacob and Robert Marley (Waldorf and Statler, voices by Dave Goelz and Jerry Nelson) who tell him that three spirits will come to see him. Jacob and Robert have been chained up as a punishment for the deeds they committed in life, and Scrooge will share this sentence if he does not change his ways. The three spirits who visit Scrooge show Scrooge scenes from his past, his present, and his future. After seeing how cruel he is and has been, Scrooge breaks down when he sees his tombstone and sees that nobody cares that he is dead. He promises the third spirit that he will become a better man, and he becomes so.
Although the film is a musical, and the actors are Muppets, the film sticks to the original story very well. It may be a child’s first introduction to this story, and in this respect it does its job well. Also, the fact that it is narrated by Gonzo the Great and Rizzo the Rat adds humour and more interest for younger children. The age rating should probably be 5 and up, since there is not much scariness.
The only parts that may not be good for young children are the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (the Grim Reaper) and possibly some of the other ghosts. Furthermore, Scrooge continues his heartless and unkind ways right to the end, which could be upsetting for children, although older children might see him beginning to change earlier.
Overall, the film is true to the story while still being accessible for a younger audience. I would recommend it as a good family film, fine to watch with children five and over.