“A Christmas Carol beats the dickens out of other 3-D films.”

The Halloween pumpkins are still warm from their candles and our thoughts have yet to turn to turkey and stuffing yet A Christmas Carol is already the talk of this weekends movie releases. I would have a big issue with that if not for the fact that director Robert Zemeckis has created one of the most visually stunning holiday films I have seen. Combine that with the timeless tale of Scrooge and his four phantom visitors and I am willing to get in the Christmas spirit a little early.

The story we are all familiar with and this 3-D animated version stays true to the classic novel. I felt like I could quote the dialogue right along with the characters. It takes no liberties nor does it try to modernize the message and theme. So why see it? Why go to something that you have seen and heard season after season? Because though the song remains the same the look and style of its portrayal has never been witnessed so vividly. There needs to be a better word than animated to describe this genre. The latest process of covering the actors with electrodes and allowing the computer to render each movement in expert detail creates a stunning visual that is honestly hard to describe.

The role of Scrooge young and old plus the three ghosts are left up to Jim Carrey to pull off. Now before you roll your eyes and picture an Ace Ventura or outlandish Carrey character let me tell you that had I not known it was Jim I am not sure I would have noticed. Sure there are moments when you get that classic Carrey laugh or body gesture. But for the most part it is a brilliant representation of the characters we know by heart. The animators then build off of his movements with imagery and sound that pull you through the theater and into Dicken’s world. There have been many 3-D films this year but I have yet to see one that has such depth and clarity. I literally felt like I could reach out and wrap my arms around Scrooge or plummet to the earth while riding on the hem of a spirit.

A Christmas Carol is rated PG for scary sequences and images. I will be honest. There are many moments in this film that I thought would scare the pants off of most 9 and under viewers. As I mentioned they do not stray far from the original story. So what you get are large, loud and intense spirits who are serious about their purpose. They are there to frighten Scrooge into facing his life and the point is not tamed down for a kid audience. Plus the dialogue is kept in the Victorian style and I wondered if most of it was flying right over the youngsters heads. There are very few silly moments like those in A Muppet Christmas. This is simply an animated version of the classic story. But one that is so brilliantly done that I can’t help but encourage you to take your whole family. Just be prepared and only you know what your child can and can’t handle. I give it 5 out of 5 Tom Turkeys. There are no Bah Humbugs here, just a fast, explosive ride that catapults us straight into the yuletide season. So says Matt Mungle.

Matt Mungle (matt@mungleshow.com) (11/3/09)

(5 out of 5)

Review copyright 2009 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.

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