Ho or No? – “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol”

WOOF.”

Genre: Holiday Musicals You Put On In The Background For The Kids
New Holiday Spirit or Ghost of Christmas Past?: Based on the Dickens story, and the usual holiday musical tropes. Hit streaming in 2022.
Bonus Content?: DOGGO
Where I Watched: Netflix

Synopsis: You know the drill; Scrooge is a rich jerk that treats everyone like garbage. But four ghosts (YES FOUR FIGHT ME) aim to change that. Cue the flash backs, forwards, and arounds. This time though, there’s a doggo!

Worth the Eggnog?: A Netflix animated version of this ol’ chestnut? Do we need another one? If this is any indication, the answer is absolutely not. This lifeless version has great voices, but gives them nothing interesting or substantial to do beyond go through the motions. In this adaptation, Scrooge nurses all the heartbreaks he had growing up, “I’m not happy, why should they be?” It’s different from the hard shell fans of the tale have come to expect. This guy is one hiccup away from a full emotional breakdown, so treats the world like something that’s broken his heart again and again, rather than something that’s simply pre-occupied with pointless jolliness during the last month of the year. It’s jarring, but just one of the many WTF things this Carol switches up in order try to seem fresh. It does not succeed.

This is a rather a heavy handed version of a Christmas Carol, with cutaways Scrooge’s past intercut with something that happened earlier in the film’s present, and vice versa. Yes, we get it, there are correlations between the choices he made, the way he was treated, and who he is now. No need to spoon-feed us a story that’s been a part of the holidays since 1843. The plot is heavily padded, with lots of scenes and entrances that are drawn out a bit too long just to pad the time. Or at least that’s what it felt like. And when things were wrapping up and I checked the timer to see that there was fifteen minutes still to go? I actually shouted “Oh come ON!” (Don’t worry, the end credits are over thirteen minutes, bringing the actual run time to a neat but draggy hour and a half-ish.)

Good bits? Sure, there’s one or two. I do like that Marley’s glowing yellow eyes are actually the coins they used to place on the eyes of the dead. It’s something I haven’t seen in any other adaptation, and I’ve seen just about all of them. In fact, Marley’s entrance is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and blends the cold reach of death with his ghostly punishment very well. The way the whole room freezes, even the candle’s light? Chef’s kiss. Plus, Luke Evans gets another chance to flex his considerable musical chops as Scrooge, which is always a joy to hear. In fact, there’s several stars shining in this story; Olivia Coleman, Jonathan Pryce, and Jesse Buckley, plus several theater faves thrown in. Which reminds me…

There’s tons that this Carol ripped off of other, better, films. The introduction of Christmas Present, for example. The spirit has an Aladdin’s Genie vibe to him, which I guess makes sense as his voice actor Trevor Dion Nicholas played Genie on Broadway. It feels like director Stephen Donnelly simply said “Yeah, just do the Genie thing. We’re on a deadline here, and don’t have time for you to actually come up with something unique.” I hope Nicholas’ check cleared. Earlier in the film – hey, they time jump so I can too – leaving Christmas Past feels very Doctor Strange the Mountains of Madness. Somebody watch their Marvel movies. And just took away the idea that shiny and wobbly equals exciting. It does not.

And whoa; did they use songs from the live action musical Scrooge in horrible, overblown, silly covers? How absolute dare! *checks IMDb* Ah. They’ve used many of the same songs written by Leslie Bricusse for the 1970 film, with a lyrical tweak here and a score twang there. It feels like an abomination, and made me want to reach for the brain bleach so I’d forget they existed. BTW, do they actually know what “a bit of how’s your father” actually means in the UK? Or were the performers so bored they decided to have a little fun at the producer’s expense during “Thank You Very Much”? Ah, who cares.

Here’s one good thing for the kids (and folks like me who are pet-crazy); Scrooge has a doggo named Prudence – originally Marley’s pup before Marley passed – that isn’t exactly keen on his grouchy new(ish) human. Prudence lightens up a lot of the spookier parts of this tale, ostensibly soothing little ones fears. She also travels with Scrooge the past present folks and future. A Carol story that focuses on Pruence, and her view of things? Now that’d be an interesting take. This? This is coal. Not the fun foil wrapped lumps of chocolate masquerading as a yummy gag gift. But a big ol’ chunk of disappointment. The only reason I continued to watch this sad excuse for a Carol “re-imagining” was that I wanted to be able to fully warn all y’all. So you’re welcome.

Just watch the original live-action 1970 musical, rather than this waste of time. I’m off to do just that, to take the taste of this failure out of my brainpan.

Score: 2 out of 5 Hos. One Ho each for Evans’ glorious voice, and one for that doggo.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
This entry was posted in Ho or No?, Movie Reviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ho or No? – “Scrooge: A Christmas Carol”

  1. Tammy Bright says:

    HO yes!

    Liked by 1 person

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