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Monday, November 16, 2009

Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL


Ok, so here's the thing. This is easily my favorite version of the story I've ever seen. It's really, really good.

But I'm just so sick of this story!



I realized this about halfway through the movie. After a really great opening scene, I couldn't help but think that I now knew every single thing that was going to happen for the rest of the movie. And I was right. I spent the rest of the movie curious as to how exactly director Robert Zemeckis would present this tale.

Do I really even need to talk about the story? If you don't know anything about Charles Dickens' classic story, it's about time you decided to become a functioning member of society. If you do, then there is no need to explain it here.

Here's what I can talk about: the visuals. First off, let me make this clear. THE TRAILERS DO NOT DO THE VISUALS IN THIS MOVIE JUSTICE. For some reason every single trailer shows this movie with the most god-awful rendering I have ever seen. This is totally not the case in the movie. This is some of the most amazing animation and rendering I have EVER seen. Absolutely fantastic. Of course, it's Motion Capture, but it still blew me away. The thing I liked the most was that, unlike Zemeckis' last two films in which he basically rotoscoped the actors 100%, they actually took the time to make these characters into characters. As a result this feels a lot more like an animated movie, and you feel like you are watching people rather than actors. Of course in all of Carrey's characters you can see him, but as for the rest - it's more difficult. Cary Elwes is absolutely unrecognizable. This whole effect allowed me to become more invested in the characters, and actually feel for them.

I didn't see this in 3D, and I actually wish I did. That's something I thought I would never say, but it's true. The visuals were so incredible it seems a shame I missed an even richer experience. And I happen to know that, for the most part, Disney doesn't really use their 3D as a gimmick, but rather as a way to enhance the story. At least, that's what I've heard.

And speaking of Disney, this is a dark adaptation! As the film progresses, I can only imagine little kids would be a little freaked. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is downright scary. I especially love what Zemeckis did with that character.

This more than makes up for Beowulf. Zemeckis is truly a visionary director. As I left the theater, I remembered why he is still my absolute favorite director. And even though I really liked the movie, there's one thought I just couldn't get out of my mind. The movie was great, the acting was great, the visuals were great, BUT:

I've seen this story ten zillion times. There was no sense of wonder as movies should have. I almost felt like I was waiting for it to end. Movies shouldn't be like that. A seriously valiant attempt everyone, but give me something new.

Bah humbug.

3 stars

2 comments:

Patrick Lundberg said...

Saying that this movie is suffering because the story isn't fresh is like saying orange juice is no longer good because I've had it with breakfast every day since I was born - just ridiculous.

What did you want them to give you? A NEW Christmas Carol? How are they going to do that? Change one of the most beloved stories of all time from its usual format? Outrageous.

Wilder Shaw said...

No - I want to see Zemeckis use his vision on something worthwhile. Not Beowulf, and not THE MOST WELL KNOWN STORY EVER.

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