For many people, the Christmas period is filled with annual traditions. Finding a special film that you make time to watch each and every year is a wonderful thing, and for me, it’s The Muppet Christmas Carol. It takes a Charles Dickens classic and turns it into a wonderful festive affair that’s fun for all the family whilst still sticking to the important messages of the novel.
I’m not a massive fan of musicals in general but it’s impossible to hate such a wholesome and fun film, with musical numbers that will make you want to sing along. It embodies so many great things about Christmas, whilst telling such an iconic story in a unique way. Who would have thought that Gonzo the Great playing Charles Dickens would actually work? Somehow, it does, with Brian Henson directing his father’s beloved puppets in a beautiful and entertaining way. It’s the kind of film that exists to make people happy and carry on the legacy of Dickens’ famous story, and that is a wonderful thing.
Michael Caine is a fantastic Scrooge, embodying a cynical, grumpy old money-lender who can’t stand the celebrations. He turns down dinner invitations and even intends to work on Christmas day, seeing it as just another day to him. Scrooge’s character has been adapted into many different forms, but there’s something about Caine’s version that I adore. Seeing him alongside all the Muppets is such fun, and I never tire of it. I also love the way his emotional journey is portrayed throughout, as he meets the different ghosts and is shown flashbacks and visions of his own life. His emotional range is excellent in this film, showing all the different sides of Scrooge’s personality.
Overall, the film is incredibly vibrant and full of life. Much of this is helped by the presence of various Muppets characters making an appearance, and trying to spread some festive cheer along the way. However, I did love the eeriness of the scene featuring The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come as this is the real turning point for Scrooge when he realises how awful he’s been. I liked that they didn’t try to sugarcoat it, yet kept it family friendly at the same time. It’s a difficult thing to pull off, but somehow, it really works. Scrooge is supposed to feel unsettled by the vision of his own grave, and I feel that this really resonates with the audience even in a fun, silly adaptation like this one.
I really hope that The Muppet Christmas Carol continues to delight audiences throughout the years, because for me, it’s timeless. It’s good, clean fun with an important message about being kind and understanding what the Christmas spirit is all about. I firmly believe that this film could charm all the real life Scrooges out there, and just maybe make them love Christmas after all! This is a must-see Christmas film that you can enjoy with pretty much anyone, so you should definitely consider watching it this season.
Directed by: Brian Henson
Starring: Michael Caine, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire