Before I even begin let me state this is just for fun. I am not a filmmaker or a writer, and not suggesting I know better than the peoplewho created these wonderful films.
Like everyone else. I love A Christmas Carol. And why not? It’s a great story with a strong character and powerful themes. Also like everyone, I have my own favorite versions. However, even with the versions I like there will be things I like more in one than another. So I thought I would take all the Christmas Carol versions I like, and pick the moments from each which are superior. Not every version is perfect, even the George C. Scott one which I have adored since I was ten. So here are the movies I am including:
A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol
The Muppet Christmas Carol
Before I begin, for the record I hated the Patrick Stewart version, that annoying Albert Finney musical, and don’t even get me started on that god awful 2009 Disney version starring Jim Carey! I know Mr. Magoo’s is considered a classic but I was never a fan of that cartoon. I was also going to include Scrooged, but decided to just stick with the more traditional versions. I am not comparing characters as much as the overall scene.
This is such a tough one! While George C. Scott nails down the character instantly, the fact they made him go to an exchange is the one change from the book I never understood. Mickey’s has a strong opening to, possibly the best part of the film as we really get a taste of Scrooge McDuck in that few minutes, but it can’t match the Muppets. So why does Muppet win whe they changed things to? To be honest, that opening song is just awesome! Plus Michael Cain is definitely a bad guy and he really did a good job at the start.And I know this may sound odd, but I liked Robin as tiny Tim and the song he sings with Cratchit is really sweet. Plus, Gonzo and Rizzo are comic gold.
MARLEY’S GHOST-George C. Scott version
I always liked the way they did Marley in this version. It seems like most versions overdo it. They forget that Marley is the primer; he’s not supposed to terrify Scrooge so much as prepare him for the other three. And that is what we get here. The performance is low key and I think it works. And the actor did a great job, you really feel the anguish Marley feels. The Marley Brothers song in “Muppet” is cute, but that’s all. And while I like having Goofy play the role in “Mickey’s” it was obvious stunt casting which is hard to ignore. In other words they needed Goofy in there so they threw him even if it didn’t make sense. He did a decent job being scary and lovable.
This is the tough one. The past is always the most boring part of the story for me. The George C.Scott is strong in the stuff with his father, but it loses me by showing us what Belle is up to now. Who cares? It just seemed so unnecessary to drive the point in. The Muppet one loses me with that awful love song. The scene in the school is pretty good. but what happened to Fran? Mickey is done real well. The scene is brief but we get everything we need. Scrooge was a shy kid who fell in love, until greed turned him bitter. Ok, got it. It has that great tune and Disney cameos, and Jiminy Cricket was perfect casting. “Remember Scrooge, you fashioned these memories yourself”…PERFECT!
The Muppet version has this won by having elements from the book which most versions usually miss. Most notably, having the ghost age. It also has that great song Kermit (er, Cratchit) and his family sings. I like that one. The ghost is really lovable which is great. Also Michael Cain’s acting is great when his family insults him, perfect reaction of pain where George C. Scott is more annoyed. The George C Scott versions also drags on a bit too much, though the actor playing the ghost did a fantastic job being so likable at first and terrifying by the end. The Mickey one is way too fast. Of course the whole thing is to short, but they really rushed the present and totally ignored Fred.
CHRISTMAS FUTURE-Mickey’s Christmas Carol
This is where I am going to lose a lot of people. First I want to say I loved the future scene in Mickey’s version. It was short, of course, but had no less of an impact. I mean, who doesn’t cry seeing Mickey tear up in front of his son’s grave? Then the reveal of Pete and throwing Scrooge down the grave is a great moment. So why not the other versions? Well, while George C. Scott nails the cemetery scene, the denial of his character gets annoying. “Spirit, who is that dead man on a bed just like mine in a house like mine?” Really? I know that is accurate to the book but still annoying. As for “Muppet”, I may be alone here but Michael Cain does not sell the cemetery scene the way George C.Scott does. Maybe Cain was holding back to keep it from being too scary, but I never really felt he was feeling what he was supposed to be feeling. The window scene is even worst when he gets the boy to buy the turkey for him.
CONCLUSION-George C.Scott version
I loved how George C. Scott plays the end of the film. At first he is giddy, but then he calms down and is happy but reserved. I hate it when they have Scrooge dancing down the street like an idiot. “Muppet”‘s final scene actually has my favorite song “Thankful Heart” and I do believe Michael Cain’s acting here. He is a little giddier but does not get too carried away. Why not make it my favorite? Because after doing a great job of introducing Fred in the start, they just brush him off in the final scene. The George C. Scott version is one of the few that does it right. Scrooge is supposed to visit his nephew, and then deal with Cratchit the next morning. WHY DO SO MANY VERSIONS CHANGE THIS?? One of the many reasons I love that version and always will. Mickey’s also has Scrooge going directly to Cratchet’s house. It is a tender scene, especially when that closing song comes in. I love that song! But at the same time they rush by Fred and the silliness in that scene is a little to jarring after the seriousness of the previous scens. The George C.Scott version is just stronger, and it always brings a smile to my face.
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without this story. If you disagree please let me know, as I said this was all for fun.