The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

DVD Cover (Walt Disney Studios Special Edition)
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Overall Rating 77%
Overall Rating
Ranked #1,668
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A retelling of the classic Dickens tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, miser extraordinaire. He is held accountable for his dastardly ways during night-time visitations by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and future. --IMDb
Michael Caine
Michael Caine
Dave Goelz
Dave Goelz
The Great Gonzo
The Great Gonzo
Steve Whitmire
Steve Whitmire
Jerry Nelson
Jerry Nelson
Review by Crispy
Added: December 25, 2008
My not so festive feelings toward Christmas is well known throughout my family and friends, and "Bah! Humbug" is heard quite frequently throughout the month. Obviously, it goes without saying that the phrase's origin would be a quintessential part of my holiday experience. And because I never grew up, The Muppets' take on the classic story has always been my favorite.

I'm sure I could skip the plot synopsis, but I'll include it anyway for completion's sake. Set in December in 19th century London, many of the local population are just barely scraping by. Among them is a fruit salesman named Charles Dickens (played by The Great Gonzo), who begins to tell a tale of a local man to his pal, Rizzo the Rat. This man is Ebenezer Scrooge, a miserly money lender who has shaped his wealth by overpricing his run down houses. He is well known throughout the city as a miserable man who hates Christmas and would never do anything to help someone besides himself. However, this is all about to change. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the spirits of his old business partners, Robert and Jacob Marley, who in life were even worse than he was. They reveal to them that their afterlife is a horrible nightmare; their misdeeds have manifested themselves as heavy chains, and that the brothers are condemned to endure the weigh of the wicked lives for all eternity. Warning Scrooge that he has his own chain waiting for him if he does not change his ways, they inform him that he will be visited by three ghosts. These ghosts, The Spirit of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet to Come, appear throughout take Scrooge on a journey to see the world, and Christmas, in a whole new light.

Like most Muppets movies, this is a musical. Personally, I don't have much of an opinion of musicals in general; there are good ones and there are bad ones. Fortunately, this one falls in amongst the former. All the songs found here are upbeat and catchy, and I've found "Scrooge" and "Marley & Marley" stuck in my head more times than I can count. What usually kills a musical for me is the obligatory slow ballads that just tend to drag. We're spared from that here; the powers that be actually cut a song out for this very reason, and made it optional on the DVD. Fanservice indeed. That's not to say there's not slower, more emotional songs to be found here, but they're far from ballads, and engaging enough to still be enjoyable.

Now, even though this is the Muppets, and hence a children's movie, that doesn't mean that subpar acting would be completely forgiven here. After all, it would still ruin the magic of the film. Not to worry, as Michael Caine was brought in to play Scrooge. This is a man who has been nominated for an Academy Award at least once every decade since the 60's, and he sure as hell didn't disappoint here either. As Scrooge, Caine runs the gauntlet from one side of the emotional spectrum to the other, never so much as stumbling. Starting off cold and ruthless, and making his way through fear, dispair, and finally, joy, he nailed this one out of the park, and is a huge reason why I love this movie as much as I do. And as if his performance wasn't enough, they tack on even more with a great introduction. As the people (and animals and vegetables) of London are singing about what an asshole Scrooge is, we see close ups of him walking through the streets, never seeing his face. Finally, as he reaches his door, he whirls around and confronts the crowd, revealing himself for the first time. It's just a great scene in every sense of the word. Now, of course, rounding out the rest of the cast is Muppets, my favorite of which, Statler and Waldorf, appearing as the Marley Brothers. Kermit and Ms. Piggy take the role of the Cratchits, with Robin as their son, Tiny Tim. However, truly stealing the show are our narrators, Gonzo and Rizzo. Their bantering gets me laughing quite a few times throughout the running time, to say nothing of Rizzo's slapstick antics.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of this film is that it's the first Muppet movie made after the death of Jim Henson. It's nice to see that the crew never missed a beat, and were still able to put out memorable films. Now, I fully admit that I love a lot of things that at the ripe ol' age of twenty two that I should have "grown out of." So keeping that in mind, personally, I think the movie is downright hilarious regardless of age; especially those of us who grew up with the Muppets. 9/10.
Ginose #1: Ginose - added 12/25/2008, 11:56 PM
Fantastic movie and easily one of my top 10 Christmas films. Glad you got to it, so I didn't have to... ot was starting to feel naked, this site without a Muppet movie.

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