A Christmas Carol is a hauntingly good tale

A Christmas Carol

Photo Credit: Photo via flickr.com under Creative Common License.

A Christmas Carol is a wonderful Christmas special that will entertain people of all times.

By: DeAndre Oglesby, Senior Editor

Whenever Christmas comes to town, we often watch our favorite holiday specials such as The Grinch, A Charlie Bown Christmas, and Rudolph. However, there’s one story that’s timeless, and never ceases to amaze me; A Christmas Carol.

What is A Christmas Carol?

Written in 1843 by legendary Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol follows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy old businessman who hates Christmas. One Christmas Eve, Scrooge gets a visit from the ghost of his business partner, Jacob Marley.

Marley tells Scrooge that he has to change his ways or else he’ll suffer the same fate as hin. Furthermore, he tells Scrooge he will receive a visit from three ghosts that will help him reform. These three ghosts are the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

Although there’ve been many adaptations of this classic story, my all time favorite has to be the 2009 version starring Jim Carey as the voice of Scrooge.

The Mocap

The biggest reason the 2009 version is my favorite is because of the use of motion capture animation (mocap for short). For those of you who don’t know what mocap is, it’s basically the use of suits with sensors on them in order to capture the movements of the actor(s); and using those movements for the animation. Other notable mocap films include The Polar Express, TinTin, and Monster House.

The use of mocap and computer-generated images (CGI) allow for A Christmas Carol to look visually stunning. However, there is a downside to using mocap. Too much of it can make the movie look like a poorly rendered Playstation Game. And there are several points in the movie this really stands out. For instance, when Marley first visits Scrooge, it looks likes a cut scene from a video game.

But on the other hand, for the most part, the quality the CGI stays consistent throughout the movie’s runtime. Some of my favorite scenes are when Scrooge and one of the ghosts are flying over London. During these shots, it feels like you’re flying with them. It’s just absolutely magical.

The Emotion

Although 2009’s A Christmas Carol was advertised as a family film, there are some pretty dark and pretty emotional scenes. Probably one of the darkest scenes in the whole movie is when the ghost of Christmas Present dies. The lighting is dark and somber, and the underlying meaning of it all will stick with you ages. I don’t want to describe it any further because that would just spoil it for you. Watch the scene yourself and make of it what you will.

Another very emotional scene, and frankly my favorite in the entire movie, is when the ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge what Bob Cratchit’s home life is like. Cratchit is a very poor man, who struggles to take care of his family. Furthermore, his son, Tiny Tim, has an illness, and later dies because of it. Cratchit is in tears because it, and while he’s walking up the stairs, he stops and he pauses. During that pause, it looks like he’s looking directly at Scrooge, even though he can’t see him. You get to see a full close up of Cratchit’s face, and you can’t help but shed a tear too when you see how shattered he is.

Jim Carey

Jim Carey does a tremendous job at voicing not just Scrooge, but all three of the ghosts! In all three roles, you can hardly tell it’s Jim Carey at all. You’d think that Disney just hired three separate voice actors. But that’s far from the truth. I especially love his voice for the ghost of Christmas Present. Often times the ghost of Christmas Present is compared to Santa Claus. And in my opinion, Jim Carey got the Santaesque voice down perfectly. This movie is a great testament to how amazing of a voice actor Jim Carey can be.

The Dialogue

The only problem with 2009’s A Christmas Carol has to be the dialogue. The dialogue in the movie feels like it was ripped right from the book. Usually, this would be a good thing. However, in this case, not necessarily. A Christmas Carol was written back in the 1800s, and back then they were using very formal and sophisticated English. So for a modern viewer, they might not be able to comprehend every single word that the characters are saying. It’s like being back in English class and reading a Shakespearean play, you don’t understand it completely, but you get the gist of it.