Jim Car­rey’s Christ­mas Carol

21st-cen­tury tech­niques bring clas­sic to life ‘in way Dick­ens vi­su­alised it’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOOD WEEKEND -

T AKE a clas­sic Christ­mas tale, a dol­lop of Jim Car­rey and a sprin­kling of in­no­va­tive movie tech­nol­ogy.

Bake for 96 min­utes, Hol­ly­wood-style, and you’ve got the lat­est ver­sion of A Christ­mas Carol, which ar­rived in movie the­atres around the world on Fri­day be­fore nary a sea­sonal “Bah! Hum­bug!” has been heard.

Billed as a “mul­ti­sen­sory thrill ride”, Walt Dis­ney’s 3-D an­i­mated ver­sion of the 19th­cen­tury Charles Dick­ens ghost story fol­lows more than 20 other movie and TV treat­ments, in­clud­ing those star­ring Bar­bie, Mickey Mouse and The Mup­pets.

But di­rec­tor Robert Zemeckis be­lieves none of the pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tions has cap­tured Dick­ens’s orig­i­nal vi­sion. This time around, the For­rest

Gump Os­car win­ner thinks he has the mix.

“It has not been re­alised in the way it was ac­tu­ally imag­ined by Dick­ens as he wrote it. I thought this would be the per­fect way to

LABIA GAR­DENS tell a clas­sic story that every­one was fa­mil­iar with and re-en­vi­sion it in a new and ex­cit­ing way,” he said.

“I think it might be the great­est time-travel story writ­ten in the English lan­guage.”

Car­rey, best known for play­ing mul­ti­ple per­son­al­i­ties in movies like Me, My­self and Irene, pro­vides the voice and im­age of the miser Ebenezer Scrooge – at ev­ery age – as well as the ghosts of Christ­mas Past, Present and Yet to Come in what he says was a daunt­ing chal­lenge and an ac­tor’s dream.

“Ev­ery spirit is an as­pect of Scrooge him­self,” Car­rey said, ex­plain­ing his cast­ing. “I think Scrooge is a guy who was aban­doned and unloved… and who has slowly been dis­ap­pointed by life over and over again.

“Scrooge was also the first cor­po­rate scum­bag.” The Zemeckis ver­sion of

Christ­mas Carol sticks closely to the Dick­ens tale that sees Scrooge start­ing the hol­i­day with con­tempt, then be­ing vis­ited by spir­its who help him open his heart to undo years of ill will to­wards his fam­ily, his faith­ful clerk Bob Cratchit and sickly Tiny Tim.

The movie uses the mo­tion cap­ture tech­nol­ogy Zemeckis showed off in The Po­lar Ex­press (2004) and in Be­owulf (2007) that merges an ac­tor’s fa­cial ex­pres­sions and phys­i­cal like­ness with com­puter-gen­er­ated, an­i­mated char­ac­ters.

It al­lows Car­rey, and fel­low cast mem­bers Gary Old­man, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright to bring sev­eral roles to life and Zemeckis the free­dom to take the au­di­ence hurtling through time, space and snowy Vic­to­rian Lon­don skies while adding el­e­ments of hor­ror and slap­stick hu­mour to the mix.

“We can do things in this new form of cin­ema that you couldn’t do be­fore,” said pro­ducer Steve Starkey.

Scrooge has been played by ac­tors rang­ing from Bri­tain’s Alas­tair Sim in a 1951 black and white movie ver­sion to Bill Mur­ray in the mod­ern Scrooged (1988) and Michael Caine in

The Mup­pet Christ­mas Carol in 1992.

Car­rey said Scrooge was an en­dur­ing char­ac­ter be­cause “in some de­gree or other every­one has a lit­tle of him in them”.

“I think (Zemeckis) has cre­ated the best ver­sion so far of this story ... I am ex­tremely hon­oured to be part of it.” – Reuters

a 3-D film that al­lows the ac­tors’ like­ness to be merged with com­puter-gen­er­ated im­ages.

TAL­ENT AND TECH­NIQUE: Robin Wright, left, as Belle and Jim Car­rey as Scrooge in Dis­ney’s

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