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Christmas Movie Review – A Christmas Carol (2020)

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It’s no secret that I love the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. I know it is the same story, pretty much, every time but, I think, that just shows what a great story it is. It’s also no real surprise that I am a bit of a completist and, to that end, I would love to see every available film or TV show based on the story. I know I’ll never manage it but my old form teacher was very keen on us being ambitious! The upshot of that is, whenever I see a version on offer that I haven’t seen then I tend to snap it up. 

Such was the case when I saw the 2020 version on offer in the Apple film shop! It was described as “A radical animated retelling of the holiday classic that starts with a Victorian performance of the Charles Dickens tale before diving into the imagination of one of the children in the audience, taking the story to a darker fantasy realm.” So I decided to jump in feet first and buy it. Was it what I expected? Well, honestly, no. Not from the description given at least. 

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January 4, 2019

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Marley Was Dead To Begin With

Was it a waste of money? Being honest, it was only a couple of quid and there’s more than that lost down the back of the sofa. Did I enjoy it? Oh yes indeed! I have to say though, that it wasn’t what I expected. It describes itself as “a radical animated retelling”. As you go through it through, there are animated bits but they are more like segues between scenes. They look like Victorian newspaper illustrations which have been colourised but then the camera moves rather than the images. The camera then pulls out and the line drawings become the background for the performers. 

And it is with the performers that the biggest surprise came about. The cast includes some pretty big names; Siän Phillips, Martin Freeman, Simon Russell Beale, Daniel Kaluuya, and Andy Serkis are all listed. Apart from Siän Phillips, none of them appear on screen but, given it is described as an animation, it’s not surprising that the big names are voice parts. I was expecting the familiar voices to be coming from illustrations or puppets. 

Gawd Bless Us Every One

What I wasn’t expecting was that the on screen characters would actually be live action dancers. But they were very good dancers!  When the dancing actually starts it is with the various characters coming to life from a prone position. But they do it so skilfully and artistically that I was looking to see if they were tilting the set or using wires but, no, it was just excellent choreography There is little point in going on about the story. 

It’s not like in this version Scrooge  sends for a priest, gets the spirits exorcised, and carries on in the same miserly way that he was in the beginning. I mean, the story was first published 180 years ago today (19th December 1843) and it is one of the most adapted stories out there. So if you don’t know the gist of it then you must have been trying desperately hard to avoid it! Either that or you have never been inside a cinema, watched a TV, or read a book!

Movie Grade: A-

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