The story of the old miser Scrooge is retold in perfunctory fashion in this mundanely animated version of Dickens' Christmas fable. British kidpic boasts a fine lineup of vocal thesps, but even their energy can't overcome the bland character drawing and cutesy mouse-capades that make this umpteenth rendition slow going for any viewer over 12.

The instructive story of the old miser Scrooge is retold in perfunctory fashion in this mundanely animated version of Dickens’ familiar Christmas fable. British kidpic boasts a fine lineup of vocal thesps, but even their energy can’t overcome the bland character drawing and cutesy mouse-capades that make this umpteenth rendition slow going for any viewer over 12. Due for U.K. release Nov. 30, pic is marketable to family auds, but theatrical results look to be unremarkable, with a bigger upside in store on video and home screens.

Framed by live-action material of Dickens (Simon Callow) reading his 1843 classic in a packed Boston theater, pic takes a slightly more psychological approach than usual to Scrooge’s bitterness, tending to the reasons he became so hardened to human suffering and filling in the backstory of his long-ago engagement to Belle. But character animation is dully inexpressive, and two obnoxious mute mice do more scampering and gesticulating than Harpo Marx did in his entire career. Production was truly a global affair, with various pieces having been animated in Germany, South Korea, the Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and Estonia, among other spots.

Christmas Carol: The Movie

U.K.

Production

A Pathe (in U.K.) release of a Film Consortium, Scala and MBP presentation in association with the Film Council and FilmFour of an Illuminated Films and MBP production. (International sales: Winchester Films, London.) Produced by Iain Harvey. Executive producers, Nik Powell, Rainer Mockert. Directed by Jimmy T. Murakami. Screenplay, Piet Kroon, Robert Llewellyn, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.

Crew

Editor, Taylor Grant; music, Julian Nott; art director, Errol Bryant; sound (Dolby Digital), Pete Gaudio; supervising sound editor, Danny Hambrook; line producer, Michael Algar. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Special Presentation), Sept. 12, 2001. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Voices: Simon Callow, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Michael Gambon, Jane Horrocks, Rhys Ifans, Juliet Stevenson.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more
Post A Comment 0