The classic holiday tale of how Ebenezer Scrooge became a ne
Taran Wanderer | Chicago, IL | 11/27/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A Christmas Carol, produced by Jetlag Productions in the year 1994 and released on DVD format by Goodtimes Entertainment in 2003, is based on Charles Dickens' timeless Christmas story, "A Christmas Carol". This animated re-telling of Dickens' classic masterpiece is probably the fifth or sixth of the different versions I've seen. I picked it up for under four dollars at a local convenience store and I must say it was well worth the price; just compare it to the many other poor, cheap animations you can find at such retailers. Jetlag Productions' "A Christmas Carol" cannot brag about its good animation, but it can certainly say that thought and the needed attention was put into it, far too many other animation "productions" can hardly even make that claim. "A Christmas Carol", along with Jetlag Productions' "The Nutcracker" (1994) and "The Magic Gift of the Snowman" (1995) are often found on bargain DVD shelves at Christmas time, and all three features can be bought together on a special, online semi-exclusive Goodtimes Entertainment pack. "A Christmas Carol" is directed mainly at a younger audience, rather than saying exclusively, and adults should take that into consideration upon viewing, perhaps with that in mind you'll enjoy the film more.
"A Christmas Carol" tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cruel and selfish business man who's idea of Christmas is a very poor one indeed. He believes Christmas is nothing more than an excuse for workers to take the day off, for people to be merry despite finding themselves in tough economical situations, and to spend on things that are of no use and a waste of what he values above anything else: money. Ebenezer works at a counting house and his reputation as a cold-hearted man has spread throughout London; children fear him and keep at a distance, but the one who fears him most is Bob Cratchit, his over-worked, under-paid employee. Seven years had gone by on that very Christmas Eve since Ebenezer's old partner, Jacob Marley, had passed on. Like Scrooge, Jacob Marley had wasted his days counting money and caring only for work while watching the world go by. This Christmas night, the ghost of Jacob Marley makes an appearance at Ebenezer's lonely home as he sits in his living room. Jacob explains to his former friend and business partner why he has come, how he now realizes how foolish he had been in life, and how he will forever regret and pay for his actions now after death. Jacob wishes to spare Ebenezer the same fate and tells him that on that night, he is to receive visits from three spirits. Indeed, Ebenezer is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present and is haunted by the Ghost of Christmas Yet-To-Come. Each of the spirits takes Scrooge on a journey through time and through his life, awakening awareness about the time and the opportunities lost, the ones he is losing on that very Christmas season, and the dark outcome of it all unless changes are made. Though a bit stubborn at first, Scrooge slowly becomes a new person through this remarkable experience; earning regret for a wasted past and opening his heart to those who he had considered the worthless, "surplus population".
As I've said before, I've seen several animated and live-action adaptations of Charles Dickens' story and I must confess that this was probably the one I enjoyed the least. It is certainly not bad, but as with all other Jetlag Productions films, the running time is limited to 45-50 minutes, not allowing time for deep characterization of any sort and making many of the characters have rather bland appearances. Tiny Tim, for example, is hardly a character one can really care for here, as his on-screen appearance is just so limited. The animation is good for Jetlag Productions' standard and the same goes for the chracter design, especially when compared against the disappointing character design in "Jungle Book" (1995). Songs and music are nice, however, Jetlag songs have been much, much better. The singer, who later sung the great "A Little Bit of Magic" in "Snow White" (1996) or "Follow Your Heart" in "Sleeping Beauty" (1995) seems to still be training here, and her voice gets a bit annoying. The first song, "Sleep No More" is somewhat awkward and not much like the typical song from this studio; the song plays just as Scrooge says farewell to Jacob Marley and is haunted by scary visions of lost spirits wandering the streets of London. The second song, "A Very, Wholesome Merry Christmas" is far more lively and uplifting, much more like the stuff I'm accustomed to. The song expresses the joys of Christmas as Scrooge finds himself a changed man, ready and able to enjoy and be part of them. The last song, "Keep Christmas in Your Heart" is played during the ending credits and serves as a final reminder that Christmas is the season of giving and of being kind to others, probably the best of the three songs in my opinion. As a few closing thoughts, the character of Ebenezer Scrooge is not drawn as I've come to picture him from other adaptations. This time around, instead of a crabby old man, he looks more like a crabby, well, younger man, with brown hair as opposed to white hair. Anyways, this version of "A Christmas Carol" is cute, and if you're like me who doesn't mind seeing and owning five different versions of a good story, then why should you not see this if you enjoyed Charles Dickens' story? Better versions in my opinion are definitely Burbank Films Australia's 1982 made-for-TV animated version; the 1984 made-for-TV live action version starring George C. Scott as Ebenezer Scrooge and of course, who could forget Disney's 1983 animated short, "Mickey's Christmas Carol"? All in all, an enjoyable addition to any children's Christmas film collection. Recommended."
A Christmas Carol, DVD Kids
Reinaldo Quiros | Guayanilla, Puerto Rico | 05/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A Christmas Carol is one of the most well-known and loved holiday stories, and this animated DVD brings to life the classic Dickens story for children. Ebenezer Scrooge is mean and miserly, thinking that the most important thing in life is business. He has no use for all the frivolity of the Christmas season as people bustle about London, preparing for the holiday. If he had his way, his clerk, Bob Cratchit, would work on Christmas day instead of being at home with his family and especially his sick son Tiny Tim. But this Christmas Eve is different. Visited by the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and yet to come, Scrooge is taken on a whirlwind journey through things he has done and things yet to happen. With each visit, Scrooge's heart is softened and he realizes he has a chance to change his ways. After his transformation, Scrooge becomes known for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive all year long. Make this uplifting your family's favorite film this holiday season! Running time: Approximately 49 minutes. Dolby digital, stereo and mono, English/Spanish.