Extras on "A Christmas Carol" lack surprise, but film still impresses

Thursday, November 18, 2010

When Disney's "A Christmas Carol" hit theaters, I went to catch it on the big screen with every intent to blast it out of the water. To my surprise, the film not only exceeded my expectations, but actually impressed me.

Again, when the DVD/Blu-ray combo pack showed up on my door, I again prepared myself to be under whelmed because I assumed the experience wouldn't match what occurred in the theater. But once again, the boys and gals at Disney came through.

"A Christmas Carol" doesn't suffer too much from the lack of 3-D (that's the version I saw in theaters) and what I expected to be less that pristine special effects actually jump from the screen without the aid of the 3-D technology.

Pretty much everyone knows the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. The crotchety old curmudgeon whose greed outweighs everything until a fateful night when three spirits pay him a visit on Christmas Eve. The mission of the trio is to show Scrooge the errors of his ways and the end that awaits him if some much need changes aren't made.

One of the lives affected is his clerk Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman) and his family, including Tiny Tim, which is also voiced by Oldman. The reality of his actions come full force when the specter of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come points his finger at the Cratchit family table at Christmas dinner and the chair Tiny Tim once occupied is empty.

As he awakes the next morning, his eyes see things anew and the dawn of his new life is upon him.

There are still some things I don't like about the movie, mainly the icicle ride, but overall the film is a good representation of the book. When watching the behind the scenes extras, you can see that attention to detail was taken in consideration at almost every turn.

Carrey is great at Scrooge and for the most part the film is very kid friendly. The element of the film that might not be appropriate for young viewers is the ghost of Jacob Marley. It can be a little intense for youngsters, but it's not enough to keep them away from the screen.

The special features are OK, with the best feature being a 14-minute "Capturing Dickens." The disc contains unfinished deleted scenes, which is something I don't really like being included in any disc. Typically I don't rage against special features, but if you're not going to put in the time to finish the animation, don't clog up space on my disc.

Final Cut: While it might not take the top spot on your list of favorite "A Christmas Carol" films, it definitely belongs on the shelf along side them. Carrey's spot-on performance at Scrooge is well worth the watch.

Movie: 4 out of 5 stars

Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

A Christmas Carol

Starring: Jim Carrey, Bob Hoskins, Robin Wright, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman

Director: Robert Zemeckis

MPAA Rating: PG for scary sequences and images

Running Time: 1hr., 36 min.