Trying to talk about this film is like trying to decide which packet from a box of Options to have first. It’s all so good! Ok… The music. I’ll start with the music. From the opening number (Scrooge) we’re treated to hearty, well written tunes that you can join in with by the second chorus. It’s genuinely difficult to highlight a stand out number as they are all utterly charming. From Statler and Waldorf as Jacob and Robert Marley, to Scrooge regaling us with ‘Thankful Heart’ via the Ghost of Christmas Present singing ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ every song is fantastic. Disclaimer: That’s not actually true. In the original cinematic release and the VHS version there is a song sung by young Scrooge and Belle called ‘When Love is Gone’. While it still exists on the closing credits – in a inferior version sung by Martina McBride – it has been cut from the widescreen DVD release. Ok, the song wasn’t great, but I don’t agree with the cut, mostly because now the scene is rather jarring, with Belle rather softly accusing Scrooge of no longer loving her and then suddenly departing, leaving Rizzo in tears. It feels like the hack job it is.
Golly I hate finding flaws in this film, so lets move onto the acting. Pleasingly it’s mostly the Muppets here, but with them is Michael Caine as the man himself: Scrooge. Now it might be easy to forget that, back in 1992, Sir Michaels career hadn’t exactly been shining for the past decade. In fact he had been in some tosh and hadn’t really done himself any favours with his performances. However this movie was, far and away, his best in ten years. He is stupendous! Something else great that this movie does is make Tiny Tim likable. I don’t know about you but in most versions of a Christmas Carol I just want to punch the kid. They are normally either not that tiny, or to young to give a convincing performance and, no matter what, I almost always feel sorry for the other Cratchet children as they are forgotten in favour of their saintly brother. But because in this version Tim is a Muppet well… it’s ok! It actually works! Though I do get frustrated when I see the Cratchets living in a nicer house than I have…
This movie is a crafted piece of Christmas merriment. With so much going on in each shot you do not get board with repeated viewing, a ‘must’ for an annual favourite, it stays fairly true to the book, which again is good as, in my opinion, if you’re going to start messing around with a work of genius you want to be *really* sure you can improve on it. And finally, like a favourite Christmas jumper, this film will warm and comfort you and is guaranteed to put you in that Yule spirit. Watch it.
Year of Release: 1992
Country of Origin: US
Studio: Jim Henson Productions
Running Time: 86 min
Director: Brian Henson
Producers: Brian Henson, Martin G. Baker
Screenplay: Jerry Juhl Based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Photography: John Fenner
Music: Miles Goodman, Paul Williams
Cast: Michael Caine, Steven Mackintosh, The Muppets
Tomorrow I'm going to talk about Deck the Halls and then the next day George C Scotts Christmas Carol. The day after that I think it’ll be the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.