Wednesday, December 14, 2022

'Tis the Season - Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (2022)

Streaming Service: Netflix
Movie Name/Year: Scrooge: A Christmas Carol (2022)
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Musical
Length:  1h 36min
Rating: TV-Y7
Production/Distribution: Timeless Films, Netflix
Director: Stephen Donnelly
Writer: Leslie Bricusse, Stephen Donnelly, Charles Dickens
Actors: Luke Evans, Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley, Johnny Flynn, Fra Fee, Giles Terera, Trevor Dion Nicholas, James Cosmo, Jonathan Pryce, Oliver Jenkins, Rupert Turnbull, Devon Pomeroy, Zaris-Angel Hator, Jemima Lucy Newman, Jeremiah Daley, Rebecca Gethings, Sheena Bhattessa, Homer Todiwala, Ayesha Antoine, Ewan Bailey, Graham Silcock, Stephen Donnelly
IMDb Blurb: A supernatural, time-travelling, musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's cult Christmas story

Cat’s Point of View:
There have been so many retellings of Charles Dickens’s classic novella of A Christmas Carol. We’ve seen versions tackled by Disney, The Muppets, and countless other adaptations for both the large and small screens. It’s a timeless tale of holiday cheer, the resilience of the human spirit, and a journey of personal redemption. There are likely going to be many more interpretations of this Dickensian masterpiece for years to come.
Though, with that being said, it makes it harder for new versions to stand out when compared to everything that has come before. One would think there are only so many ways you can tell the same story, right?

You wouldn’t even be too far off thinking you’ve seen this particular movie before, if you’ve watched the live action musical Scrooge (1970). Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is actually an animated remake of that very movie. The dedication in the credits to the lauded British composer Leslie Bricusse (1931-2021) harkens back to the original 1970 production, which he wrote the music, lyrics, and screenplay for (as well as the 1992 stage play). Bricusse also wrote the screenplay for this Netflix adaptation, including 6 of the original songs. Sadly, this was his final film project and he passed in 2021, unable to see its release.
When I first saw the trailer for Scrooge: A Christmas Carol, I was thinking it might be cute but basic – because I was getting that ‘been there, done that’ feeling. I was worried that it wouldn’t hold my attention. This time of year, I’m burning the proverbial candle at both ends and sometimes it’s really easy for me to drift off if I’m not well-engaged with what I’m watching.
I didn’t have any problems staying tuned in at all.

The music was gorgeous and didn’t feel recycled. The animation was smooth and well integrated the old 2-D style with the more updated computer enhanced cinematics. I really enjoyed the direction they took Scrooge’s redemption arc through the animations shown at each ghost-led journey. The way the thoughts played out as he connected emotions with his actions and their consequences was very well done, and in a freshly innovative way. Then there was the cast…
I can’t get over this cast, really. The production team made some phenomenal decisions here. Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast, The Alienist, Pinocchio) voiced the titular character, and let me tell you, this man has a gorgeous singing voice on top of his great acting ability. Olivia Colman’s (The Lost Daughter, Empire of Light, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish) portrayal of Past was both funny and touching. Jessie Buckley (Beast, Chernobyl, Women Talking) had me misty when she sang in her role as Isabel Fizziwig. Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes, Save the Cinema, The Crown) was hauntingly wonderful as the embodiment of Jacob Marley – and his ghost. I could go on, but I’ll rest there.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol was absolutely everything I expected it to be – and then some. I was surprised by how engrossed I became with the story and the music. Yes, some parts were a little silly – but aren’t most musicals at one point or another? This film would be a great selection to watch with family, especially if you have children that haven’t really experienced this story before. I would caution, however, showing this to very young children. There might be some scary imagery and concepts that could disturb them when Scrooge visits the future.
All told, I’d say I enjoy this version more than the old fashioned period piece it was adapted from, and I might just watch this again before the end of this Holiday Season.  

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 40%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 73%
Metascore – 46%
Metacritic User Score – 6.3/10
IMDB Score – 6.2/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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