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Reel Deal: "A Christmas Carol" didn't brighten my spirits
Other than asking your doctor for a prescription for antidepressants, what better way is there to get into the holiday spirit than by watching a Christmas themed movie?
But what if said movie is a 3-D motion capture animation, which previous viewings of this type of filmmaking gave you the creeps? Eh, you go for it anyway and hope for that infusion of cheer. Too bad that didn't happen while watching the latest adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic tale, "A Christmas Carol."
Playing the lead, and just about every other character, is Jim Carrey, whose motion captured Ebenezer Scrooge looks like a cross between the child killer Der Kindestod and the voice and heart snatching Gentlemen from season two and four of 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'
Like every Scrooge before him, he loathes Christmas, and pretty much every single day on the calendar year, but especially December 25. The gift giving, the merriment, the expression "Merry Christmas," and the caroling all drive him to even more crankiness.
One gloomy London evening, after turning away charities and sniping at his loyal employee Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman), Scrooge begins seeing things at his lonely mansion. First, the door knocker glows and springs at him, then the bells above his door start ringing, then he hears noises coming from downstairs, and eventually, heavy footsteps on his staircase. Cowering on a chair in front of the small fireplace, he encounters his first paranormal visitor, deceased co-owner of his shop, Jacob Marley (also Gary Oldman).
After snapping his jaw back into place, Marley tells Scrooge he will be visited by three spirits (the ghost of Christmas past, the ghost of Christmas present, and the ghost of Christmas yet to come) to help change Scrooge's cantankerous ways before he winds up like him, chained by the decisions he made while alive, restless in the afterlife.
Visually, I liked Scrooge's trip to the future the best, as it's full of dazzling visuals that are slightly creepifying like black mechanical horses with red eyes that chase Ebenezer across the Victorian-era London and undulating spirits that pop onto the screen and then melt into the shadows. Least favorite was definitely trip to Christmas Past, mainly because of the ghost. Picture a lit wax candlestick with a blurry Jim Carrey's face where the flame would be. That just looked so very dumb.
Acting and special effects-wise, "A Christmas Carol" is solid, but motion capture animated movies just leave me feeling a bit cold, even ones infused with the spirit of the holiday. C
Dedra Cordle is a Messenger staff writer.
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