Film Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

One of the finest Christmas movies of all time gets a re-release in time for the festive season.

Charles Dickens, as played by Gonzo, relates the story of A Christmas Carol. Miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts, who attempt to teach him the error of his ways before it is too late…

The Muppet Christmas Carol is in many ways the perfect Christmas film. It combines comedy, emotion and drama in a way that appeals to viewers of all ages. Moreover, the musical numbers are very catchy.

Charles Dickens’ infamous Christmas fable is one that has been adapted numerous times. In a sense this version adds little to it except Muppets and songs. However, the reason the film works as well as it does is because the characters are endearing and the Muppet style of humour is in abundance.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is surprisingly faithful to its source material, despite most of the characters being played by Muppets. Much of the dialogue is lifted directly from Dickens’ story; the only break from this is the original songs. Furthermore, unlike many adaptations that have given the story a contemporary setting, Brian Henson’s film retains the Victorian London setting and the atmosphere that this provides.

Michael Caine makes a great Scrooge, bringing to the role the required exaggerated meanness. The Muppets are well cast in their respective roles, particularly Kermit as Bob Cratchitt and Rizzo the Rat as Charles Dickens’ sidekick. The Muppet Christmas Carol also features the cutest Tiny Tim.

Given that the film is twenty years old, it may be expected that special effects now appear dated. While this is true of the older DVD edition, on the big screen print special effects look fine.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a festive classic for good reason. The cinematic re-release will allow a new audience to engage with it.