A Christmas Carol

A Christmas CarolHow many times can one story be told? If it’s “A Christmas Carol” I’ve lost count. But now Jim Carrey stars in yet another version, this one released by The Walt Disney company. What makes this one different? First off is the fact that this one is computer animated. If you saw “The Polar Express” a couple of years ago then you have an idea of the technology used and now you can see how far it has progressed. Quite far, as it turns out. And I think the technology advanced even during the making of this film. It actually gets better as the movie goes along. In “The Polar Express” the animation was a bit creepy; almost real looking, but not quite. We’re still not to the place where you think you’re looking at living, breathing humans, but we’re much closer.

Second, though this version  is animated, it certainly is not a children’s version; this isn’t “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” This seems to be more in line with Dickens’ original; scary and intended to make an impression. And it does.

I did not see it in 3-D but it was quite obvious that the director, (Robert Zemeckis), was having a field day with 3-D. Even though things didn’t jump out of the screen at me I know they would have if I’d seen it in 3-D. I don’t enjoy 3-D movies. Maybe I will someday, but for now it still seems quite gimmicky and it distracts from my overall enjoyment of a movie. I go to the movies for a great story and a story can be told in 2-D just fine, thank you. In fact, a good story can be told in 1-D; that’s audio! I still love old-time radio. And nothing can beat a good book. But I digress. Zemeckis also used the virtual camera to great effect regardless on how many dimesions. This is one advantage the medium affords an imaginative director; cameras in the computer can go places and do things that no “real” camera can. Whether it’s flying in, through, or around things at break-neck speed, or simply fitting the “virtual” camera into places where a bigger, real camera couldn’t fit such as looking out from behind the edge of a door knob, computer animation opens up endless new cinema-graphic possibilities.

So, yes, the film is visually wonderful. But haven’t I been saying that a lot lately? I’m sure that just as stereo was to mono, and color was to black and white, so computer graphics will be to “real” film. We’ll get used to it and movie makers won’t be able to rely on wowing folks with the look of films.

Was it a good movie? Yeah, I think so. But then, I was wowed by the visuals… Oh yeah, I see I get caught up in it, too. I can say that the story had some subtleties to it that I haven’t seen in any other film version of the story. Things that added to the story for me. Of all the versions I’ve seen this would be the one I’d add to my library if I could only have one.

3 nad a half Monkeys


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