A few weeks ago, I talked about the box office draw of Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey. I’m happy to report that it has grown some legs and still sits in the top 5 after 6 weeks. However, the film has only grossed 124 million. Add to that 118 million the film has made internationally you have a profitable film but you don’t have a runaway hit the studios were expecting. The movie definitely won’t be counted amongst the all time classics or even the biggest hits of 2009. Why?
I saw the movie last night and I think I can answer that question. The movie had no life, no surprises and definitely lacked laughs. Going in I figured with Jim Carrey on board, they would inject some humor into the story. Nope. False alarm. It’s pretty much a straight adaptation of the story which can be a good thing except we already know what’s going to happen.
I’m a big fan of the story and I always will be. I was literally sitting in the theater predicting lines of dialogue before they happened. It’s safe to say I’ve seen a few movies based on Dickens’ book. The filmmakers tried to change things up here and there with a couple different interpretations but not enough for me or anyone else in the theater to really care.
I honestly think A Christmas Carol depends on how much we love Bob Cratchit. It’s vital to Scrooge’s transformation that we care about Cratchit and Tiny Tim. I’m attached to Mickey and Kermit in the role because they had an impact in those movies. This new version of Cratchit isn’t given much to do and barely makes an appearance in the first hour or so. Truthfully, he’s actually pretty creepy looking so I was glad we didn’t see him often.
The whole subplot with Tiny Tim is told but it almost seems glazed over to focus more on Scrooge. Once Scrooge learns the meaning of Christmas, he has a small scene with Cratchit and it’s not really a big moment at all. While I definitely loved how the movie looked in 3D, it lacked the Christmas magic you would expect. It was even a little scary at certain points. There’s no way I’m showing this movie to a little kid when I could put on Muppets or Disney instead.
I think that’s the true test of a Christmas film. If small children enjoy it you’ve succeeded. (Grown ups who act like children also count.) There were a number of children in the theater last night and I didn’t hear any of them laugh or react to the movie. Neither did I. Too bad really…