So you guys have waited a week for That Movie Guy’s Number One Christmas Film. It’s my pleasure to reveal that it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol, one of the very first movies I watched in the cinema and has always given me fond Christmas memories. It’s always a Christmas film you always watch this time of year.
Cert: U Runtime: 85 mins Director: Brian Henson Cast: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson and Frank Oz
It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve and Scrooge was conscious of a thousand odors, each one connected with a thousand thoughts and hopes and joys and cares long, long forgotten
There are many celluloid versions of “A Christmas Carol”, the famous story written by popular 19th century author Charles Dickens, but this one features the Muppets in the story. Gonzo plays Dickens himself and is the one who tells the story here, with Rizzo the Rat as his sidekick. The story is about greedy, selfish, mean-spirited businessman Ebenezer Scrooge in 19th century London, England who has a bad reputation in this city! It’s Christmas Eve, and Scrooge does not believe in this holiday season, so one of his employees, Bob Cratchit (in the form of Kermit the Frog), has to tell him that the place won’t get any business on Christmas Day in order to get the day off. After Scrooge arrives back home that night, before he goes to bed, he is soon haunted by the ghosts of Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf), his late former business partners who were a lot like him and are now shackled in the afterlife because of it! They tell him that he will suffer the same fate unless he changes his ways, and also tell him of three spirits who will come into Scrooge’s bedroom late that night!
This 1992 theatrical Muppet film is visually impressive with its cinematography, filming locations/sets, and special effects. Some of this shows right from the beginning, with overhead camera shots of what is supposed to be 19th century London here. Since it’s the Muppets, one would likely expect a lot of laughs in this movie, and there certainly are those. A lot of them come from the Gonzo and Rizzo scenes. I think these two characters usually are funny, and there’s no exception here, with their usual antics and many things that happen to them during the telling of the story. It was also a great idea to have Statler and Waldorf as the Marley Brothers. Even though Jim Henson wasn’t around to take part in this film, and several Muppet voices had to be replaced after his death, the famous puppets still stand out as their lovable, funny selves here. They help carry the film, as usual. While Muppets are used for many of the characters in the story, some of the characters are played by on screen actors, including Scrooge, played by acting veteran Michael Caine. His performance as one of the many actors to portray the character in film history is definitely another highlight of “The Muppet Christmas Carol”. As well as being funny, the movie also eventually becomes touching, and not all the scenes are for laughs.
This Muppet version of “A Christmas Carol” says at the beginning that it’s dedicated to the memory of Henson and Richard Hunt, another puppeteer who worked as a Muppet performer and whose life had also sadly come to a premature end by the time this movie was filmed and released. Henson had been deceased for over 2 ½ years by the time “The Muppet Christmas Carol” came into theatres during the Christmas season of 1992, but they still managed to make another good film with the characters, and watching it this month made me feel like it honoured Henson, unlike the third theatrical Muppet movie made after his sad passing, the very disappointingly dreary “Muppets From Space”. Some of the songs in this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ book might be a LITTLE weak (though they’re mostly pretty good, even if they’re generally not classic), I didn’t really care much for the version of the Spirit of Christmas Past here, and there may be other minor flaws, but all the positive aspects of the film make up for this, and make this holiday film an entertaining one for probably all ages.8.4/10
MERRY CHRISTMAS TOO ALL ME READERS, HOPE YOU WATCH SOME GOOD MOVIES THIS FESTIVE SEASON