A Christmas Carol (2009) – Film Review

Carrey voices Scrooge and co. in Robert Zemeckis's animated adaptation of the Dickens classic...

There have been countless adaptations of Charles Dickens’s novel A Christmas Carol. With countless film renditions, theatre productions, radio plays and television adaptations (as well as the obligatory spoofs) the popularity of the novel is unquestionable. The latest addition to this list sees Jim Carrey take on a hefty amount of roles.

A Christmas Carol is one of those stories that everyone grew up with. There is no change to the plot in Robert Zemeckis’s version, focusing, as its predeceasing adaptations did, on Scrooge – a man vehemently opposed to Christmas… until he is visited by four spirits.

There was no doubt that this film was going to impress with its visual effects but there was slight concern as to whether it would be able to combine the effects with any substance. Thankfully it manages to mix the two to create a film that delivers delectable visual effects with a credible punch whilst including a refreshing amount of tension to an otherwise too well-known story.

The bleak and melodramatic tone of the Dickens’s original is captured by Zemeckis perfectly. The atmosphere created is chilling and, though in places it may look bright and cheerful, it manages to mimic the essence of the novel.

The small cast all perform well and will be easily recognised by movie buffs. The dialogue is practically lifted word-for-word from the novel. Dickens’s precious words have rarely been delivered this well whilst his social critique is left intact and hasn’t been sacrificed for the animation. This could well be the most quintessential adaptation of A Christmas Carol to ever grace cinema. It is a particularly strong contender for this title especially if some of the adaptations that have been made over the years are considered – Barbie’s Christmas Carol anyone?

Be warned – don’t be fooled by the film’s animation. This is not a children’s story – bear in mind even Muppet’s Christmas Carol was a little frightening. If you want to watch this with the family make sure you know if your children can handle the subject matter before popping it into your DVD player.

Visually arresting and faithful to Dickens’ original novel, this proves to be a 3D animated movie that manages to distance itself from a lot of failures that have come to pass over the years.


Best character: Scrooge.
Best line: ‘Bah humbug!’
Watch this if you liked:Muppet’s Christmas Carol, Scrooge, the original novel

In the Cratchit home, there is a portrait of the story’s author, Charles Dickens, hanging by the fireplace.

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