This version of Charles Dickens' immortal classic may be the most scary version ever released. Starting with Jacob Marley, the ghosts inspire fear for mortals who are not prepared for eternity. Perhaps this is the reason why Disney Marketing decided to release this motion picture closer to Halloween than Christmas? As the shakey box office revenue has revealed, it was the wrong decision.
Not all is doom and gloom for a movie that confronts poverty, illness and greed. There is Currier & Ives inspired scenery and sweet humor that supports the conversion of Ebeneezer Scrooge. As he has done with **Forest Gump,** **Contact,** **The Polar Express,** Director Robert Zemeckis sticks to Charles Dickens' prose and lifts direct quotes from the source. With his knowledge of his technical craft, a Bob Zemeckis movie manages to provide an intellectual odyssey.
The fact that this IMAX special effects extravanza poses these questions is pure literary cinema. With exception of some outrageous IMAX action sequences during the visit from the ghost of Christmas future, **Disney's A Christmas Carol** stays close to the words and intent of Charles Dickens.
For example, Scrooge (Jim Carrey) is visited by 3 ghosts, all played by Jim Carrey. While this might be construed as giving Carrey too much enough to do, the gimmick supports the narrative. Were the ghosts supernatural entities or a projection of Scrooge's subconcious? Besides Carrey playing multiple roles, Gary Oldman portrays 3 roles, Jacob Marley, Bob Cratchit and his son, Tiny Tim. As the main supporting actor, Oldman is called upon to express emotions ranging from doomed horror, forced optimisim and respectful pity.
Ensemble acting has always been a part of **A Christmas Carol** revivals since the novella was written in the 19th century. Recently Cinema Paradiso presented **Scrooge in Rogue,** a theatrical piece in which the entire ensembple is portrayed by 3 castmates. **Scrooge in Rogue** developes a comedic sidetrack when the actors become stricken with food poisoning midway through the presentation.
James Cameron's long awaited **Avatar** opens in two weeks, bumping **Disney's A Christmas Carol** from the the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery IMAX screen. For pure family entertainment, don't miss this **Christmas Carol,** it will put you in good cheer.