The Muppet Christmas Carol – Review

25 Dec

Ever since I was a wee lad, The Muppet Christmas Carol has been played every Christmas Eve in my house without fail. It’s a longstanding tradition, and one that I look forward to every year, so how could I not talk about this movie? This may sound corny, but this is almost more than a movie to me. It’s a reminder of how joyous this season actually is and gets me more than ready for Christmas Day. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favorite Christmas movie.

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Ebeneezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is a nasty and cold business man who has no appreciation for anything besides money. That being said, Christmas is not a cheery time for him, but rather a time of foreclosures and spikes in business. One Christmas Eve night, his old partners, Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf) pay him a visit and warn him that if he doesn’t change his ways he will be punished with unbearably heavy chains in the afterlife. Three spirits visit Scrooge over the course of the night, representing the past, present, and future, with the mission to change Scrooge’s life for the better and save Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) and his family.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a great way for kids to really appreciate Charles Dickens’ story of the brighter side of the human spirit. A lot of children wouldn’t want to read the book, but they shouldn’t have to miss out on the story. The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat are our narrators and both do a great job at providing a clear direction of the story and also excellent comedic relief after the more heavy scenes.

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And when I say heavy, I mean heavy. This one will tug at your heartstrings harder than you may think. When Tiny Tim sings “Bless Us All,” a small little tear always seems to form in my eye. Then I have to pretend I’m itching my face so my family doesn’t notice, and the whole thing just becomes a project, but I digress. What I’m saying is that this is a very emotional movie with one scene being fun and light hearted and the next stepping into a depressing realm of truthful sadness. In order to perfect your soul and appreciate what you have, you must first realize what you don’t have and Scrooge learns that the hard way.

Michael Caine’s performance as Scrooge is great. I’ve seen other adaptations of Dickens’ novel, but since I grew up with Caine’s version, he will always be my favorite. Scrooge’s character arc may be one of the most famous in the history of storytelling, and Michael Caine plays it very well. It’s easy to hate him in the beginning, feel sorry for him in the middle, and in the end you want to be his best friend.

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Finally, I’d just like to comment on the remarkable sets. The streets are both cold but inviting and you automatically feel right at home with your surroundings. There’s also some instances, especially on Cratchit’s street, where the buildings look like they come out of some old German Expressionist film. The houses are crooked and the door ways are tilted in some obscene angles. It’s a minor way of really making this movie look different in its own special way. There’s also excellent uses of miniatures in the beginning when the credits roll. The viewer is treated to an aerial view of the city, complete with snowy rooftops and worn chimneys.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a beautiful movie and will forever be my favorite Christmas film. It teaches its viewer, no matter what age, to appreciate your life and the lives of everyone around you not just during Christmas, but the whole year round. The music is excellent and will have you humming the songs for days to come, the jokes are always funny, and the performances by Caine and the muppets (and their puppeteers) are memorable. I love this movie so very much and can’t wait to watch it again next year.

Happy Holidays, everybody!

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