A CHRISTMAS CAROL, 2009
An animated retelling of Charles Dickens classic novel about a Victorian-era miser taken on a journey of self-redemption, courtesy of several mysterious Christmas apparitions.
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This is a story that almost everyone on this planet has heard about, read or seen a movie or theater adaptation of and knows what's going to happen. So we watch to see how they are going to execute this story. And the first thing I can say about Robert Zemeckis' version of A Christmas Carol is that it looks great.
This is a beautiful looking film. It's spectacular actually. But after that there really isn't much happening.
For some reason we never get emotionally engaged into the story. We never really feel for Scrooge in a positive or negative way. So while we watch this beautiful looking story, we are left feeling artificial throughout. We want to feel so much because we like what we see, but there's nothing to really feel for.
2009s Disney's Animation of A Christmas Carol reminded me of those stylized beauties I liked to pick up in my day. You know those girls I'm talking about! I seeked them out because they looked so good and were always dressed to the nines, but the more time I spent with them the uglier they became. There just wasn't much more going after digging into the soul. So it was hard to truly begin to have feelings for them. The outward beauty can get you to pay attention, but it's not going to make you care and feel. In fact it makes you feel even worse about yourself after you've invested your time with them because you were suckered by the vanity. You're left feeling empty.
But damn did this movie look good. It's hard to learn the lesson the first time because you keep attempting to try it once again. A 20th century marketing trick that translated into man's daily actions. One day we'll hopefully learn.
In many ways the animation drawings on top of the actors is actually masking away all of the emotion from the characters. In order for us to feel we must be emotionally engaged to a character in the story. But when they have so much makeup and animation on their face, it's very hard to really see what they are feeling.
If you can, take a look at the short animation film on this site called INHERITANCE. We immediately feel and care for this main character even though his eyes and mouth is just a button that of course can't move. But we are able to see his face and his reactions to the events that are occuring. And it's that simple.
In this film director Robert Zemeckis zooms the camera all over the village and shows us things that we've never seen before in a movie. But his shots don't come from a context. They happen because he can do it. They aren't seen through the eyes of a character or given to us for a thematic angle. He gives us beauty but no heart attached to the beauty. So it therefore his film doesn't become what it really can be.
So we do see a different version of the telling of A Christmas Carol. And I can guarantee that more money than all of the other adaptations combined was thrown into it. But like the TinMan, the creators forgot to give it a heart. Which is funny because it gave it everything else.