Jim Carrey’s Christmas Carol
21st-century techniques bring classic to life ‘in way Dickens visualised it’
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