Monday, December 3, 2012

25 Days of Christmas Movies 2012 - Day 3: There Goes Mr. Humbug

Ok, we all know based on my posting history that I LOVE the Muppets.  I grew up with them and enjoyed their humor through all of my ages so it should come as no surprise that one of the first "archive posts" of this year would be for a Muppet film.  This film in particular always puts me in a Christmasy mood when I watch it.  It also shows that the Muppets...when the script is good...can do anything.This film was so popular and successful that it inspired a slew of Muppet adaptations from Muppet Treasure Island to The Muppets Wizard of Oz. I'm still holding out for The Rocky Horror Muppet Show with the token humans playing Brad and Janet and Kermit the Frog as the Sweet Transvestite from Transsexual, Transylvania...but that has nothing to do with Christmas.  Let's now dial back the clock to the inoffensive early 90s and enjoy a different take of Charles Dickens' classic story...The Muppet Christmas Carol.
 
It is Christmastime again in London and everyone is excited, well everyone except Ebeneezer Scrooge (Michael Caine).  He gets unusually unpleasent around this time...and that's saying something because Scrooge excels at unpleasentness.  Still, his assistant Bob Cratchet (Kermit the Frog) doesn't let it get him down and even has the gall to ask for a day off on Christmas Day, which just happens to be tomorrow.  Scrooge relents and heads home (did I mention all of this is narrated so far by Gonzo the Great as Charles Dickens?  I didn't?  Well there you go) and suffers a frightening vision.  His old (and very dead) business partners, Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf), appear to him as ghosts and warn him that if he doesn't change his ways he will be doomed for all time.  When the frightened Scrooge asks what he can do to change his fate, they reply that he will be visited by three ghosts who will show him what he must do.  This begins Scrooge on a journey through past, present, and future Christmasses where he is forced to remember what made him a greedy and stingy man and what he can do to change it.

One of the things I love about this version of Carol is it's score and songs. The Muppets sing and dance to several very well written tunes that range from "Scrooge" to "Marley and Marley" that set up character...to production numbers like "It Feels Like Christmas" and "With a Thankful Heart". I also enjoy how close an adaptation this version is...of course there are deviations from the source novel (it is the Muppets for crying out loud) but these are few...and it manages to be a much more entertaining experience than other adaptations, though it isn't my personal favorite (that one we will cover later). In any case, this is another classic of Christmas film that should not be missed if you're looking for something heartwarming and traditional (with a little wit thrown in for good measure).
 
 

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