The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992)

Rating

There is one Christmas story that just keeps giving and giving, that would be A Christmas Carol. You will have already seen the review of both Doctor Who’s take on the story and a review on the story itself.

So how comes there is a third instalment?

You can’t have Christmas without The Muppets.

I grew up with The Muppets Christmas Carol and honestly think its one of the best adaptations there is. I love the amount of joy they bring to it and how they’ve made it so much more enjoyable then other adaptations for children. Now I loved the book when I was a kid (still do) but like with most of Dickens work I HATE it when it gets put on TV. It always feels so long winded and like the whole spirit of the story is missing.

As a kid though the Muppets version was a joy to watch.

Scrooge is played by the wonderful Michael Caine who became Scrooge for me as a kid. He humbugs his way through his past, present and future to become a better person. All our favourite Muppet characters are here in one form or the other taking part in one of the most loved stories they’ll ever make.

But for me it was always the music, the songs, the score…. The small moments when it goes completely quiet before the bells ring in Scrooge’s bed chambers…. All these tiny bits of music (or lack thereof) were what made it so… So… Memorable… So…. Loving and fully of all things -olly.

Whether it was fun songs like “Scrooge” or the hear breaking “When Love is Gone” which is totally cut from my version of the movie (not my old VHS edition though) and leaves a bleak hole that they never bothered to fill.

It is what the Muppets have always done best. You go from singing along to the Ghost of Christmas Present (It’s in the singing of a street corner choir, It’s going home and getting warm by the fire, It’s true, where ever you find love, it feels like Christmas) to listening to the chilling tones of “Ghost of Christmas Future”. It all feels so natural (other then the cut out of When Love is Gone) and flows so well. It makes the sad times even sadder, the scary times even scarier and feels like a real slogfest between dark and light.

The actual Christmas Carol story is still there, nearly perfect from beginning to end. It loses none of the story in being a Muppet film. You still have the same characters, the same story and the same outcome. Scrooge finds the good in the world and becomes a better person, everyone celebrates Christmas and everyone is happy.

If anything though the motivations, the back story and the redemption of Scrooge is missing. After all Scrooge (as Amanda talked about) was overcome by Greed. He wasn’t at heart a nasty man, he wasn’t at heart a bad man. But Greed does things to people. Scrooge went through the same story as he does in the book but you come to believe he was just a miserable old man whereas the book Scrooge is so much more.

Probably a bit too heavy for a kids film and maybe why other adaptations just failed for me.

The ghosts were pretty much as I expected them to look, the journey they took Scrooge on pretty much perfect. This has been one of my favourite Muppet films my whole life and I always watch it before Christmas (my other favourite is Treasure Island!)

So if you have young ones and want to get them interested in good stories show them this film then read them the book. It’ll open their little worlds up a treat!

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