Well, It’s december and you better believe that i’m all about that warm feeling I get through good old fashion christmas themed storys. One of the most celebrated and most often retold holliday story is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
If you are alive chances are you have seen 6492 different versions the story in movie form. Some take the story as it was originally conceived with it’s 1800’s setting and characters, some attempt to update the story by putting it in modern day, and some retell the story by thorwing in popular characters into the rolls putting a new often comical spin on proceedings.
I will be focusing on two completely different retellings of the story. Let’s start with a great sci-fi retelling based on the popular brittish hero DOCTOR WHO simply titled A Christmas Carol.
For those of you who need an introduction to the Doctor, my only advise is: look it up. I was never a fan because the show looked cheap as all hell and cheasey to boot. But my interest peaked with the introduction of the latest Doctor played by Matt Smith. I saw clips online and short reviews and relised that this seemed pretty cool. I watched every episode of the Matt Smith Doctor and I have pretty much loved it. So sorry in advance to those who are unintiated.
The story starts off as most sci-fi stories do with a spaceship entering an alien atmosphere, but unfortunetly the strange clouds are interfering with the ship threatening to crash it along with all the innocent bystanders onboard. Amung them are the Doctor’s two companions Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams. The two inform the crew that they know of someone who can help.
The Doctor makes his first appearence stumbling down a chimney and proceeds to playfully figure out the situation. That being a greedy old man has control of this worlds atmosphere and can allow the ship a safe landing if he so pleases. But he doesn’t want to. ‘Cause he’s an asshole. The Doctor then realises that with the help fo his time machine he can reenact the classic Dickens tale casting himself as the three ghosts of christmas past, present, and future. What follows is a rather unique adventure, that’s funny, poingant and features a sleighride in the sky by a flying shark! Plus a beatiful song to end it all that i wouldn’t mind adding to my christmas playlist. This is the first time I was genuinely supprised by a twist ending in such a classic tale. It was great!
We’re boys, and you know what boys say when they’re scared? …Mommy.
Bill Murray is perfect as Frank Cross the stand in for Ebeneezer Scrooge and even though the film was released in ’88 it feels like a deicent mordernisation of the story. He’s a rich, selfish tv executive in New York. Bob Cratchet is instead a african-american woman working for practically nothing as his long suffering assistant played by Alfre Woodard. The Tiny Tim is of course her son isn’t dying but suffering from a psychological issue and hasn’t spoken in years. The story plays out bassically as it should but with some added stuff for fun. The ghosts aren’t what you’d expect they all get a makeover even the ghost of Christmas future has a great twist in style and execution. The film’s got great creepy moments, gross out scenes, lots of laughs and of course heart. Sitting through the movie it does feel a bit long but it’s all worth it for the great emotional speech Murray delivers as a climax. I tear up everytime I watch it! Another great thing is the music. Danny Elfman’s score makes this a great flick to watch next to Nightmare Before Christmas and sets the zany/eerie tone for the movie.
Frank: Who is this?
Grace: It’s my son!
Frank: Yeah, well you beat him!
One interesting thing that can be said about these two specials is that both film’s characters are aware of the source material the film is based on. In Scrooged he is producing a live tv event which happens to be Dickens story, a rather lame one too simply entitled Scrooge which as a kid lead me to believe this was the correct titel of the story. In Doctor Who’s special he happens to be a fan of Dickens work and that story is what gives him the idea to attempt to rewrite the history of the old curmudgen in hopes he’s do the right thing just in time for christmas. I really enjoyed these and if you have trouble finding a movie to watch this year or wondered which version of A Christmas Carol is worth your time look no further!