Thursday, December 20, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Movies 2012 - Day 20: Picard Does Dickens

Another day, another Christmas Carol adaptation. I think if I really put my mind to it, I could do a 25 days of Christmas movies that subsists entirely of Christmas Carol adaptations (some would argue that last year I nearly did).  Today I'm cutting to the chase quickly, since it was the last day with students and it really wore me out (making me less anxious to work on a blog tonight) and the point to reach is really very simple...I watched another film last night and I need to talk about it to fill my quota.  So here we go...once upon a time about 13 years ago, TNT aired a new version of a classic story starring Patrick Stewart, fresh off his success as Captain Jean Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the subsequent film adaptations, as Ebenezer Scrooge.  It was a highly anticipated event as Stewart seemed taylor made for the role.  Would he nail it or would he flop?  Let's find out as we watch A Christmas Carol.

In the Victorian period, Ebenezer Scrooge is a skinflint businessman who loathes the Christmas season and begrudges having to give time off to his best employee, Bob Cratchit. On Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his late friend and business partner, Jacob Marley, who in the afterlife has come to see the errors of his ways. Marley arranges for Scrooge to be visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come in hopes of teaching Scrooge of the importance of embracing the joy of the holiday season. Scrooge reforms, learning to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in his heart, ultimately becoming a well-loved and respected man.

I feel like my synopsis there was largely a waste of time because, seriously, do any of us not know this story?  That redundancy aside, this "Carol" is a rather mediocre and unmemorable adaptations.  There's nothing special at all about it...it's shot rather routinely and acted in a fairly obvious way.  Only Stewart really tries to make something unique in this film by performing Scrooge in a slightly different way.  He seems almost amused by the ghosts at first, rather than frightened, even though he obviously is afraid and is covering for it.  It's a unique decision that goes against most of them being immediately afraid of Marley and his cohort.  Also, the scene between young Scrooge and Belle is played differently.  Rather than Belle being ticked at Scrooge or sobbing uncontrollably, she seems almost relieved to be having this discussion with Scrooge.  Other than those moments, this one is fairly routine...which probably explains the middling reviews it got when it first aired.  It's certainly not going to become one of my go-tos in the future, but at least I finally watched Patrick Stewart as Scrooge.


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