Released 12/11/92 Rated: G
This movie is my quintessential version of A Christmas Carol, and probably also my quintessential Christmas movie. This film has become a staple every year. I find it hard to find another version, or even another movie, that beats the magic of this one. My husband doesn’t care for most musicals, (I technically wouldn’t label this movie a musical but that’s an argument for another day) but he loves this film. We quote it all the time!
First off, you can’t beat Michael Caine. This is most likely the first role I ever saw him in, and I just fell in love with him; he did an amazing job portraying Scrooge, topped only by a local theatrical actor, we also see every year, who’s been starring as Scrooge for years. Caine is the perfect grouchy miser who turns into the biggest sweetheart. And you can really see his character develop from one spectrum to the other; he has concern for Tiny Tim, he’s hurt by his nephew’s game, and there are memories he doesn’t want to visit because they are painful. I have yet to find a version that does it better.
Secondly, it’s the Muppets. I haven’t really cared for their newer movies, but I love the old-timey feel with this one. I love Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat as our forth-wall breakers and narrators. Not only do they narrate the story to us, the viewers, but they also provide a commentary, as well as comic relief, so they don’t just tell us the story, they live it. Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Fozzie as Fozziewig, and even Statler and Waldorf (the grumpy old guys) are there! I love their humor, it’s what makes this movie so enjoyable.
One complaint many people have about this film is with one musical number where Belle breaks off her engagement with Ebeneezer; they feel it brings the movie to a screeching halt. Granted, it is just her standing there singing, so I understand, but I feel if you’re familiar with musicals it won’t seem so bad. And that’s coming from someone who used to fast forward through slow/boring songs in movies! But enough people have complained about it that when they released the film on DVD only one version still includes that song (I think it’s the full screen as opposed to the widescreen).
As far as I’m concerned this movie is a classic.