Review: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’

This adaptation of Charles Dickens' Christmas classic is not as enchanting or amusing as the previous entries in the Muppet series. But nothing can really diminish the late Jim Henson's irresistibly appealing characters.

This adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic is not as enchanting or amusing as the previous entries in the Muppet series. But nothing can really diminish the late Jim Henson’s irresistibly appealing characters.

Closely following the Dickens story, The Muppet Christmas Carol is structured around Scrooge’s encounters with the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Michael Caine is perfectly cast as the nasty Scrooge, though his role is too dominant. Muppets take the other roles: Kermit the Frog (Steve Whitmire) becomes abused bookkeeper Bob Cratchit, Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) is his wife Emily, and the Great Gonzo (Dave Goelz) is transformed into Dickens himself. The latter’s narration is often obtrusive, creating unnecessary distance between the viewer and the tale.

Production values are high as ever. Brian Henson does a fluid, if not spectacular, job of direction. Paul Williams’ pedestrian songs are repetitious.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

Production

Walt Disney/Henson. Director Brian Henson; Producer Brian Henson; Screenplay Jerry Juhl; Camera John Fenner; Editor Michael Jablow; Music Miles Goodman; Art Director Val Strazovec

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Michael Caine Dave Goelz Steve Whitmire Jerry Nelson Frank Oz David Rudman

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