After the last review for my 12 Films of Christmas series (you can read all of these reviews in the archives), I hope you all don’t think I’m determined to be a Grinch. Honestly, I didn’t know The Polar Express would be so disappointing. I’ll make you a solemn Christmas promise right now: all of the rest of the films in this series are good—even great! Take this one, for example. What do you get when you combine a classic Charles Dickens tale with Jim Henson’s hilarious and adorable puppet characters? Movie magic. So, for the ninth film of Christmas my local library gave to me…The Muppet Christmas Carol!
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Synopsis: “The Muppet characters tell their version of the classic tale of an old and bitter miser’s redemption on Christmas Eve.” –www.imdb.com
The Holly Jolly:
- The Muppets. They’re established, much-loved characters who are also surprisingly emotive. I mean, they’re puppets—you wouldn’t expect them to express a range of feelings. But through superb craftsmanship and absolutely brilliant voice actors, they absolutely do.
- The Muppet “casting.” Of course, everyone expects Kermit and Miss Piggy to be wonderful in the roles of Bob and Emily Cratchit, and they are, but everyone else is pretty perfect, too. The hecklers as the Marley brothers, for instance. Also, Sam the Eagle as Scrooge’s former Headmaster, Fozzie Bear as Scrooge’s former boss, and especially the Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens, who narrates for us.
- Michael Caine as Scrooge. He had me at his very first “bah humbug,” which also happens to be his very first line. Honestly, this man could’ve been cast as the silent Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come and I’d still think he was brilliant. He can do no wrong.
- Every narration scene. While Gonzo narrates, his little buddy Rizzo the Rat sticks by his side, and their banter is simply glorious. I loved every moment they were onscreen.
- The songs at the beginning and end. They are catchy, cute, and set just the right tones to open and close the film.
- The story. It’s a classic Christmas tale for a reason. Honestly, watching this made me want to read the book.
The Lumps of Coal:
- Though the songs at the beginning and end of the film are nice, all the other ones are very…meh. The action during these tunes is enough to keep you mildly engaged, but you may zone out and/or wish it would just end already halfway into the number. Not only are these songs bland, but the Muppets are (understandably) not the best singers.
- The Ghost of Christmas Past. Oh. My. God. OMIGOD. I’d forgotten how terrifying that thing is! It’s like the wraith child waiting to drag you into hell! Seriously, this is what nightmares are made of. I’m sure the creepiness is at least partially due to the poor special effects of the early ‘90s, but sweet Jesus I hope this isn’t the last thing I think about before I fall asleep…
- The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is also pretty scary—akin to a dementor from Harry Potter. While this didn’t really bother me, if you have little ones, this guy may scare them a bit.
In a Nutcracker’s Nutshell: This is a silly, fun, hilarious, and heart-warming adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The Muppets are charming and goofy, as always, and Caine, who could very easily play second fiddle to these big and beloved personalities, provides a spot-on interpretation of everybody’s favorite miser, Ebenezer Scrooge. If you can get past the generally boring songs and the bone-chilling Ghost of Christmas Past, you’ll probably agree that this is a great film and a wonderful way to introduce the kiddies to a classic Christmas tale.
My Glad Tidings: A-
That’s right—I’m back on track with GOOD Christmas films! Anway, I’m going to do my very best to finish out this series in the midst of some last-minute shopping, wrapping, and baking. I hope, lovely readers, that in the midst of all the craziness of this last busy weekend, you manage to find time for a little holiday cheer. Watch a cheesy Christmas special, drink a mug of cocoa, gobble up a fresh-baked cookie, yadda yadda. Just enjoy the season. Because it’s only four days until Christmas! Eeeee!