(out of 5)
The great stars of big and small screens reimagine the classic tale through their own brand of humour and sweetness in this delightful children’s film. Charles Dickens’ most popular story has been faithfully rendered by the Jim Henson team with a wonderful Michael Caine playing the hard-bitten Ebenezer Scrooge, he who rejects all Christmas feeling and spreads his miserly bitterness all around him. On the night that he is visited by his old business partners (Marley is now two brothers to allow Waldorf and Stadler to play them), he is informed that he will be haunted by three spirits who will show him things that will change his views on life. Being reminded of his past, his present (including Kermit as his employee Bob Cratchit and Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchit) and his future, Scrooge eventually acquires Christmas spirit and finds enough love in his heart for the whole world (even for Tiny tadpole Tim!). Of course it’s not as good as the definitive Alastair Sim version (nothing ever will be), and there isn’t quite enough menace in the darker parts of the story owing to its intended audience, but what is surprising is how much of Dickens’ original narrative text is featured in this version. The filmmakers choose to have Gonzo narrate the tale in the figure of Dickens himself and allow for his gorgeous prose to appear on screen alongside the singing fuzzy stars.
Directed by Brian Henson
Cinematography by John Fenner
Music by Miles Goodman
Production Design by Val Strazovec
Film Editing by Michael Jablow
Cast Tags: Angie Passmore, Anthony Hamblin, Anthony Lymboura, Christopher Leith, Craig Crane, Dave Goelz, David Alan Barclay, David Bulbeck, David Rudman, David Shaw Parker,David Showler, Don Austen, Edward Sanders, Fergus Brazier, Frank Oz, Geoff Felix, Ian Allen, Ian Thom, Ian Tregonning, James Barton, Jerry Nelson, Jessica Fox, Joan Barton, John Eccleston, John Thirtle, Judy Preece, Kaefan Shaw, Karen Prell, Kate Frost, Ken Haines,Kristopher Milnes, Marcus Clarke, Mark Alexander Todd, Meredith Braun, Michael Caine, Mike Quinn, Nigel Plaskitt, Peter Passmore, Peter Robbins, Phill Woodfine, Raymond Coulthard, Rebecca Nagan, Robbie Barnett, Robert Tygner, Robin Weaver, Ronnie Le Drew, Russell Martin, Sally Preisig, Simon Buckley, Simon J. Williamson, Steve Whitmire, Steven Mackintosh, Sue Dacre, Taylor David, Theo Sanders, Tim Rose, Victoria Willing,William Todd-Jones