Dickens Fans Rejoice!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I picked up this little gem last week and it is a winner. The animation and voicing are first-rate, but I was most impressed with how the translation from Dickens book to an animated feature was pulled off. While Dickens has never been pre-school territory, this title is great for higher elementary school kids through middle or junior high into high school.
The DVD features include 5.1 Dolby Digital, great-looking moving menus, extra Christmas songs and english, spanish and french language. My 13 year old, who is about as cynical as you can get, sat through the entire DVD, a very rare compliment to the producers of this DVD. We then had a real conversation about how the attitudes of the characters in the feature shaped the character's reality; meaningful stuff indeed.
A very strong recommend on this DVD."
May Actually Be the Most True To Dickens's Book!
Bradley Headstone | New York | 07/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being that there is no image presented here on amazon, you should know that the original release date is 1982. The dvd itself was released in 2001. There is a photo of Scrooge, Bob, Jacob Marley, and Tiny Tim on the front cover. That said, this review is dedicated to Father John Warfel who has dedicated so much of his life to the church and the well being of others. Some of you probably know that Dickens's "Martin Chuzzlewitt" did not sell so well. In fact, it almost ruined his reputation. When Charles Dickens wrote "A Christmas Carol," he was trying to save his reputation, and he more than succeeded. This is by far Dickens's most popular book. (I suspect one reason is because it is short.) With all the versions of "A Christmas Carol" out there, believe it or not, this animated one is the one that actually follows the book the most. Surprising, but true! Well, moving on we meet Scrooge. He is not very social, and he pays his clerk Bob Cratchit about 1/2 of what one needs to survive. But despite his hardships, Bob manages and is still a loving husband and father. With some resentment, Scrooge does give Bob Christmas off. (But still, he does do it.) Scrooge goes home and is haunted by his former partner Jacob Marley. Jacob explains that his life of greed and heartlessness has caused him to be doomed to wander the earth in sorrow. Before he leaves, he tells Scrooge that he will be visited by 3 more ghosts. The ghost of Christmas Past makes his visit, and Scrooge is shown his past and what changed him for the worse. One thing people often fail to realize is that Scrooge DOES have a conscience. We could easily picture someone like Bill Sikes or Uriah Heep sitting through these images without even flinching. It is important for us to realize that Scrooge is NOT that sort of person. Furthermore, if we are familiar with the harsh conditions Dickens usually portrays, we can understand that the evils of society made Scrooge what he was. Charles Dickens would be the first to admit that Scrooge is 100 % right when he says: "There is nothing the world is so hard upon as poverty." But in making his fortune and defeating the world, Scrooge gave up other things that were important. While we may sympathize with him, he became obsessed with gain. (And we're only fooling ourselves if we think that obsession with gain is a thing of the past. We probably even have it to some extent ourselves. Thanks for that sermon Father Warfel!) In spite of Scrooge's errors, he is VERY realistic, even today! Moving on, the ghost of Christmas Present comes and Scrooge is allowed to see the joy of others on Christmas. We can infer that if Scrooge had not been so frightened (despite the justification of the fear) that he too could have been happier. But is Scrooge alone to blame? Other works of Dickens that suggest the harshness and brutality of the times would suggest not. Scrooge then sees Cratchit's family, and realizes that Tiny Tim may be terminal. If Scrooge had been a Bill Sikes or a Uriah Heep, would he have been moved by this? People often think that the ghosts forced the change of Scrooge. The fact is even in Scrooge's worst time, he still had a conscience, but it got lost trying to fight the brutality of the times. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come appears and Scrooge is not only shown Tiny Tim's death, but his own unmourned death. Scrooge becomes a changed man, and while some cynics may argue that Scrooge is just trying to avoid the consequences he has just seen, that becomes impossible to believe if we consider the whole picture. The ghosts did not make Scrooge a different person. They merely reawakened his good side that was lost trying to fight a society that was harsh on the poor. The dvd has some nice extras including some Christmas songs played to the scenery of the movie. The animation is done with a beautiful style of water colors, and while the harsh conditions of Victorian England are portrayed, they are not overdone. The background music only flatters the beautiful animation and story. This is in fact an exquisite masterpiece that holds to Charles Dickens's book very well."