Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1992. Walt Disney Pictures, Jim Henson Productions. Screenplay by Jerry Juhl, based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Cinematography by John Fenner. Produced by Martin G. Baker, Brian Henson. Music by Miles Goodman. Production Design by Val Strazovec. Costume Design by Ann Hollowood, Polly Smith. Film Editing by Michael Jablow.
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.