Rewatching CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE MOVIE with my critical eye was an experience. Every other time I’ve seen it my nieces have been with me, and I don’t know that I’ve paid close attention. This time I was alone, and because of this blog I was focussed.
First, this is an animated version with an unbelievable vocal cast. Simon Callow is Scrooge, Kate Winslet is Belle, Michael Gambon is the Ghost of Christmas Present, Juliet Stevenson is Mrs. Cratchit, Nicholas Cage is Marley. It is directed by Jimmy Murakami. Some reviews I read called out the animation, but I think it is wonderful. Simple but beautiful. And some of the scenes (like the travels with the Ghost of Christmas Present spreading cheer) are really wonderful.
There are liberties with the story. There are mice (they actually play a role). Old Joe is basically Scrooge’s repo man. We see debtors going to prison, including a doctor who runs the hospital where Belle works. Scrooge throws a bucket of water on a caroling Tiny Tim (which ultimately causes his death). Everything is familiar, but different. We get a real sense that Belle leaving Scrooge is what undid him.
If you watch this version on DVD, go to the special features and watch the theatrical beginning, then start the movie. And then at the end go and watch the theatrical ending.
An interesting rethinking of the story, worth watching.