Three Scrooges, Part 6: Santa Mouse

Three Scrooges, Part 6: Santa Mouse
               Thought of the blog: as a boy Scrooge attended an isolated boarding school in which characters in books come to life and illustrations move about independently. My god in heaven, he went to Hogwarts!
               A bit of change in format here as I discuss more than one version of “A Christmas Carol”…
               “Mickey’s A Christmas Carol”. The animated Disney movie from 1983. I have never seen it. “WHAT!?” you say. It was and remains hugely successful and airs annually, but …  Not because I do not wish to; just that it has never passed under my radar for all these years.
               Uncle Scrooge McDuck plays Scrooge, his nephew Donald plays his nephew Fred, Mickey and Minnie the Cratchets, etc. Canny and predictable? Yes. That was one of the critiques at the time – it is a straightforward telling of the story. This in and of itself is not a bad thing, but this is Disney – we expect more.  Considering how high the bar had been raised by previous animated versions, Disney played it safe.
               However, since my daughter is into all things Minnie, this will be a perfect way to introduce “Carol” to her.  My viewing of the movie is only a few Christmases away…
UNSEEN SCROOGES … until I finally saw it:
               “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” from 2009 – I can only take Jim Carrey in small doses. And this was done in the same format as “Polar Express” and “Beowulf”. It got good reviews and Carrey, if kept on a short leash, would probably make a good Scrooge.
               Since preparing this blog I have seen an hour or so of “Disney’s…” and was impressed. It was very close to the novel and even included the debate between Scrooge and Ghost of Christmas Present about closing bakeries on the Sabbath. NO version of Carol I’ve ever seem has this. Not one. Bravo.
               Jim Carry does several voices and I am again impressed – he could be a very good voice actor. The inerrant Gary Oldman plays Cratchet (what a Scrooge he would make) and Colin Firth as Fred.
               The special effects were fantastic, perhaps too much so. It detracted from the story at times. The characters looked like a cross between a marionette and claymation. Though there were times (with Belle) that they looked real.
               The Ghosts were the most impressive (I use that word a lot here…) – Past looked like a living candle, Present traveled by moving Scrooge’s house. The long chase scene with Yet-To-Come and a mouse-sized Scrooge was unnecessary and boring. Despite that niggling, it was well done! Give me a few years and it MIGHT be on a favorites list.
               Combining franchises is always a good way to boost sales. Who wouldn’t want to play Lord of the Rings Risk or Simpson’s Game of Life. There are more versions of Monopoly than there are people on earth who play it. What would “A Christmas Carol” Monopoly look like?
               I have mentioned a few TV shows that did “Christmas Carol” variations, but there have been stand-alone shows and characters that have done it too.
               Perhaps the most famous franchise to tackle the tale was “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.
               The Flintstones (I vaguely remember this – perhaps the idea of it intrigued me, but I do not remember watching it …), Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, All Dogs Go To Heaven, Beavis & Butthead (the mind reels…), Maxine, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, Alvin & the Chipmunks and Barbie. Yes, Barbie.
               I have not seen a one. Are they any good? Aside from the Barbie one of course, that one being lousy is a given.
NEXT: Animated Carols
Copyright 2012 Michael G. Curry

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