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.