"'Tis The Season To Be Jolly And Joyous"
....Even for puppets!
- Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" comes to cinematic life in a unique way through the Muppets and Michael Caine in The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)! Obviously, while the overall story is the same, The Muppet Christmas Carol is not a completely faithful retelling of Dickens' original story because of the whole Muppet factor. The story is tweaked to fit a Muppet cast and some story points have been watered down or taken out to appeal more to kids (one can imagine how "Ignorance" and "Want" might terrify a child). However, while the story is not note-for-note Dickens and most of the characters are Muppets, the atmosphere, character and themes of Dickens' masterpiece have rarely been portrayed on screen to better effect. Perhaps not the most *faithful* adaptation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol point-for-point, this film is easily one of the most enjoyable versions.
What a production! We do not even blink twice as we enter a world where human and Muppet live side-by-side in the dirty but charming streets of Victorian England: the set designing is fantastic, the special effects are very cool, the songs are fun (Paul Williams and Miles Goodman write and arrange some great numbers), the humor is wonderful and, of course, the Muppets are festive! All of the major Muppets play our favorite Christmas Carol supporting characters: Kermit as Bob Cratchit, Piggy as Emily Cratchit, Statler and Woldorf as the Marley brothers, Fozzie as Fozziwig (Fezziwig) and a whole host of Muppet cameos (I especially like Honeydew and Beaker's roles) appear throughout the film. Accompanied by Rizzo the rat, the Great Gonzo is Charles Dickens and takes us through this Christmas Carol classic.
Also cranking up the entertainment and quality levels in The Muppet Christmas Carol is Michael Caine's portrayal of Ebenezer Scrooge. Caine is starring in a Muppet production but he is hardly just hamming things up. A definite front-running contender for the best screen Ebenezer Scrooge, Michael Caine incorporates plenty of effort and invests a lot of emotion in the role, creating a well-rounded character and even manages to stay subtle in the final scenes of the film (a section of the story that has killed many a Scrooge performance).
Film fans are faced with a lot of choices when looking for a fun and festive film to watch on Christmas. However, The Muppet Christmas Carol is a unique delight; a wonderful adaptation of Dickens' classic tale and an all-around fun Christmas movie.
CBC Rating: 8/10