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Movie Review

Disney's A Christmas Carol a.k.a. “Disney's A Christmas Carol,” “Disney's Christmas Carol,” “A Christmas Carol: An IMAX 3D Experience,” “Bozicna pesem 3D,” “Eine Weihnachtsgeschichte,” “En julsaga,” “Karácsonyi ének,” “Le drôle de Noël de Scrooge,” “Los fantasmas de Scrooge,” “O poveste de Craciun,” “Os Fantasmas de Scrooge,” “Saiturin joulu,” “Um Conto de Natal”

MPAA Rating: PG for scary sequences and images.

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens Adults
Genre:
Animation (performance capture), Christmas, 3D, Family, Comedy, Fantasy, Drama, Adaptation
Length:
1 hr. 36 min.
Year of Release:
2009
USA Release:
November 6, 2009 (wide—3,500+ theaters)
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Money in the Bible

How can I spend my money more wisely? Answer

POVERTY—What does the Bible say about the poor? Answer

Poor in the Bible

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
What is the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Answers for skeptics. Plus, carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.
Movie reviews

A Christmas Carol (1951)

A Christmas Carol (1984)

Christmas movies
REVIEWS of other “Christmas” movies
Featuring: Jim Carrey—Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Past/Scrooge as a Young Boy/Scrooge as a Teenage Boy/Scrooge as a Young Man/Scrooge as a Middle-Aged Man/Ghost of Christmas Present/Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (voice)

Gary Oldman—Bob Cratchit/Marley/Tiny Tim

Colin Firth—Fred

Cary Elwes—Portly Gentleman #1/Dick Wilkins/Mad Fiddler/Guest #2/Business Man #1 (voice)

Robin Wright Penn—Fan/Belle (voice)

Bob Hoskins, more »
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: ImageMovers, Walt Disney Pictures, Katherine C. Concepcion, Jack Rapke, Heather Smith, Steve Starkey, Peter M. Tobyansen, Robert Zemeckis
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Scrooge in 3D motion capture animation

We all know the story. After being visited by four ghosts on Christmas eve, a miserly, bitter man, in the person of Ebenezer Scrooge (the voice of Jim Carrey), has a secular conversion to a real vibrant faith and true giving to his fellow man.

Disney’s new “A Christmas Carol” is all we’d expect from the studio that also brought us “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983) and “A Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992). Not only is this animated film a true Disney adventure, in 3D (first ever animated Disney film to be released in IMAX 3D), containing the stunning talents of Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Bob Hoskins and Robin Wright Penn, but it boldly tells this classic tale to today’s audience without restraint. In a world riddled with political correctness and religious fundamentalism, it simply states that Christmas is rooted in the basic beliefs that make men and women strong. What makes a Nation strong. Our strength will never depend on how much money we can horde, but what is in our hearts. It tells us we need our faith to survive, and that simple fact makes us powerful from within.

At a time when our nation seems to be teetering on the verge of socialism and self-indulgence, and as we watch unemployment rise because of the greed of big corporations, as we observe our Christian faith bashed to the point of censorship, it is a delight to watch this film courageously put across all of what the original story intended. It fashions it using today’s advanced animation technologies, while keeping with the original language Dickens’ used. It is apparent this film was a labor of love.

A Christmas Carol was originally written to a world where Charles Dickens saw the British government set changes in the welfare system known as the “Poor Laws,” changes which required among other things, welfare applicants to “work” on treadmills, and where there were no controls over age, and children were worked sometimes to death. Dickens asked, through his writing, for people to recognize the plight of those whom the Industrial Revolution had driven into poverty, and the obligation of his Government and society to provide for them humanely. Failure to do so, Dickens implied through the characters under the cloak of Christmas Present of ‘Ignorance’ and ‘Want’ as ghastly children, could only result in an unnamed “Doom” for those who, like Scrooge, believed their wealth and status qualified them to sit in judgment of the poor, rather than to assist them.

POVERTY—What does the Bible say about the poor? Answer

Poor in the Bible

The story redefined the spirit and importance of Christmas and initiated a rebirth of seasonal merriment after Puritan authorities in 17th century England and America suppressed pre-Christian rituals associated with the holiday (which echoes, for me at least, what is happening in our own country today). The religious and social implications of “A Christmas Carol” and its depiction of Christmas traditions have played a significant role in reinventing Christmas with an emphasis on family, goodwill, and compassion. Lessons our modern governments and societies the world over need to re-learn.

Take your entire family and be prepared to wear the always needed 3D glasses. Very young children may not sit still long enough to reap the benefits of this film’s message, but they will most certainly be entertained by the wondrous ride through Scrooge’s night of mayhem. The rating of PG is accurate—for some very realistic looking ghosts and some very scary images. There were children sitting around me as young as three, and although I never heard them cry, there were some parents who had to sit and quietly reassure them it was just a “cartoon.”

There is no profanity or uncalled for language, as the dialogue is based squarely upon the poetic language of Dickens’ original novella.

As far as special effects, this is a beauty! There has been a most painstaking, very precise attention to every detail—from room decor to clothing and settings. The looks in the eyes, as well as facial expressions, of each character is amazing, and the close-ups are so detailed, you can see every hair in every pore on old Scrooge’s face. Snowflakes so realistic, I felt I could reach out and catch them on my palm. The scenes where Scrooge is being spirited away to different times and places in the past present and future are like being catapulted on one of the thrill rides at a Disney theme park! You will not be disappointed.

I must commend Disney studios for keeping right with the original intension and thrust of “A Christmas Carol,” not just in it’s political views of Dickens’ day, but the obvious religious implications. They did not shy away from an awe inspiring rendition of “Hark The Herald Angels Sing,” as the ghost of Christmas Present takes Scrooge to the very pinnacle of a church to hover over the cross of Jesus as he explains the beauty and depth of what the season really means. The lyrics pertaining to our Savior’s birth, and Lord Jesus as being our King are clearly in the forefront. The fact that the Cratchit family is religious is not watered down, and the expression that has become a staple in our modern folk sayings uttered by Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone,” was said with truth and vigor and not made fun of or tossed aside. It was the final breath of the film, and it was an awesome feeling to hear him utter it.

There are, of course, some who will say having ghosts in a Christmas tale is not very Christian, but one must also take into consideration the wondrous tales of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and like it note, this is a rich message for all ages about our struggles with faith and Christian values dressed in the robe of fantasy.

The soundtrack is full of beautiful Christmas standards and conducted with exquisite grace by Alan Silvestri. It definitely put me in the Christmas spirit, and the entire production is the perfect, most positive choice to start out our journey on the road to Christmas.

What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?What is the TRUE meaning of Christmas? Answers for skeptics. Plus, carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more.

The tale of “A Christmas Carol” has been viewed as an indictment of the industrial revolution and capitalism in the early nineteenth century and has been credited with returning the holiday to one of merriment and festivity in Britain and America after a period of sobriety, somberness and repression. “A Christmas Carol” remains a popular staple for all ages, has never been out of print since it first appeared on book shelves on December 19th 1843, and has been adapted to film, opera, and other varied media. May God continue to bless it’s message of faith, hope and the worth of a Christian heart in the form of giving without reservation, not only during Christmas but every day of every year.

God doesn’t promise a life that takes us from rags to riches. Life will not always be worry free or painless. What He does promise is that He will provide our needs without fail. Perhaps it is a good time for us to sit down with The Lord in a quiet place and ponder what Paul has to say in Romans 8:32.

An accurate explanation of the purpose Jesus Christ’s birth. Answers for skeptics. Plus, Christmas carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more…“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This movie is very good. It is lively, heart warming and yes a little bit scary for good reasons. There is one mild swear word in the early stages of the movie, but is has a great message and is a very good remake of a classic I’ve loved since my childhood. They are singing about Jesus and Heaven, Have a long close up of the cross in one scene and the joy on Ebenezer Scrooges face at the end of the movie, makes it a must see for all families. Some scary moments with the ghost of Christmas future, but very very good. :-) All in all, it’s still tells us that especially during the Christmas season, to remember the less fortunate, and to keep Christmas in your heart the whole year long.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rachel Peters, age 45 (USA)
Positive—I was amazed at how far we’ve come in computer animated technology, and to see all that excellent labor of love put into a wholesome story of the christian celebration of giving from the heart really encouraged me. There is so much “new age” junk going on in movies today and hollywood seems to usually camp around making fun of high standards, so to see this masterpiece presented gives hope that there may still yet be some movie makers with a moral compass. While there are spots in the movie that might scare small children, this is a family jewel of a movie destined to become a classic. I’m a minister and a movie goer who hasn’t found much of a movie to go to until now. Don’t miss this and see it in 3D or IMAX.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rick Kendall, age 58 (USA)
Positive—I love the new digital 3D, and this is a beauty. I went with my wife and 5 others, and we all thought it was great.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Howard, age 64 (USA)
Positive—I took my 7 year old granddaughter to see “A Christmas Carol” after reading the reviews of some other movies that were supposed to be for children. I originally set out to see “Where the wild things are” or “AstroBoy,” but after reading the reviews, I decided to see “A Christmas Carol”. My granddaughter was confused about who all the characters were, because he visits himself as a young boy, a young man, a middle aged man, and an old man, and couldn’t grasp the concept of him witnessing his own life from an ethereal plane. She had recently lost a classmate, so she was very concerned about whether Tiny Tim was going to die. I’m not really sure if he did or not.

The only knock I have, and I wouldn’t change a thing, is the heavy English accent. Jim Carrey does it perfectly, but I had a hard time understanding 100% of everything that he said. I expected Jim Carrey to slip in some double-entendre’s, innuendo’s, and allusion’s, but he played it straight-up. I would like to thank Disney for not injecting and sociopolitical slants, but for keeping it by-the-book. I need to comment on the 3-D effects, which were worth the price of admission. The only thing with the 3-D is that I have taken my grandchildren to many 3-D movies (“Fly me to the moon,” “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs,” etc.) and they always take the glasses off halfway through the movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Glenn, age 53 (USA)
Positive—First off, I would like to say that this movie deserved it’s PG rating for scary images and scenes (I have to admit that even I got a little scared with some of the ghosts). There was one swear word in the entire movie; I didn’t expect many swear words, because this is a classic Charles Dickens story. Apart from those two things this movie was really good.

Jim Carrey was very impressive in his multiple roles. This movie went really farther than most of the Christmas Carol stories that are heard today (yes, this movie contains the same story but somehow I felt it went a little deeper than the other versions that have been produced). The movie, just like the book, ended on a good note. Having said all this I would have to recommend that all parents heed the PG rating for scary images because they are ever present. Age wise? This movie is probably for ages 10 and up, on account for the images. Good job Disney, another good movie…you set the bar for the rest of Hollywood to reach.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Alex, age 19 (USA)
Positive—I loved the movie except I did miss “Bah Humbug!” instead he says “Boulderdash” it didn’t fit. Carey seemed to model his Scrooge after Alastair Sim 1951 portrayal, which is my all time favorite. If you like this check that one out you wont be sorry. Because of this I missed them reading the Bible and praying and Scrooge seeing why he didn’t like his nephew because his sister died in childbirth and his former fiance worked in a mission for the poor. These elements would have added more emotion to the story line. Regardless I would see it again. But, I do agree it is not for small children it was quite scary in parts and when the ghost of Christmas Present dies its creepy. All in all it was really well done it did make me shed a tear when he comes to his nephews home for Christmas dinner.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Sharon M Usltad, age 49 (USA)
Positive—I agree that it is not a film for very young children. More for young adults and adults. Definitely some scary scenes and imagery. I feel like this film was technically well done, although Zemeckis' other attempt at 3D (“The Polar Express”) had the same problem with characters' eyes seeming lazy or off kilter. The music is superb and has beautiful inclusion of many christmas carol themes. The film doesn’t seem to shy away from the religious overtones of the story, and there are even flashes of brilliance in the way that the Ghost of Christmas Past says, “I am,” and “Arise and walk…” to Scrooge’s excuses to not leave his bed. Later, after the Ghost of Christmas Present goes away, it just sort of lacks strong story and personal development with Scrooge’s character. He becomes so submissive and it is hard to accept the change that has occurred. The film sort of falls flat towards the end in the way it ends abruptly. So, while it does strongly promote Christian ideals, it could have done it slightly better. But as I’ve always said, it is easy to criticize a film, and really hard to make one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Ryan, age 25 (USA)
Positive—Although it is not child-friendly like Zemeckis' previous Christmas film, “The Polar Express,” it’s still a treat to watch, especially in 3D (there is hardly anything offensive; it’s just that some kids might be scared by it). I believe Mr. Dickens would be flattered to see this latest film adaptation of his classic novel. I have only seen a few “Christmas Carol” movies that truly capture the despicable nature of Ebenezer Scrooge; this one seems to present Scrooge beyond a one dimensional character (coming from a literary standpoint).

My hats are off to Jim Carrey not just for perfecting an English accent for his role as Scrooge but lending his vocal talents to other characters such as Jacob Marley’s ghost and the three spirits. The film and the story itself presents a very strong Christian message of redemption, that people can change their ways for the better before it is time to face death.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Shannon H., age 28 (USA)
Positive—I just viewed this film with my three children ages 11, 8, and 6. While I must agree with others that this movie is quite darker than expected from the premiers I was pleasantly surprised at how closely it follows the classic story even using actual dialogue. My 8-year-old did get scared at some of the darker moments but overall she enjoyed it. I really appreciated the Christian undertones as well as the traditional church Christmas music that was chosen to accent the movie.

The animation and voice overs were wonderful. It was fun to match the voice to the characters who strongly represented their human counterparts. This is a great film and one that I hope will be enjoyed for generations. We watched it in 3-D, and I wonder if some of the beauty of it might be lost in a regular 2-D screen. Overall, I think that this is a great movie to see with families and use as a discussion starter. I would use caution with overly sensitive children as some of the darker parts may be a bit too scary for them.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Sharon, age 32 (USA)
Positive—NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN!!!… I honestly can’t believe that the original reviewer suggests to bring the whole family. It is very scary! That being said, this movie is amazing. If you have teens or are an adult who loved the book, it is fantastic. I loved it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—April, age 31 (Canada)
Positive—I went to see this movie with my mother and was very impressed by the animation and the story. I have seen many, many adaptations of A Christmas Carol from Dickens' original novel, and I was impressed by how faithful this movie was to the original material. First of all, I believe that the message of how important charity is to Christians, and the redemption of our fellow man was very strong throughout the film. Seeing the fire coming out of the coffin and the black horses SCARED ME! I knew it was representing the devil, and the scariest part was seeing the red eyes of the black horses. I think it is good to have a reminder that greed and avarice, not following charity and being humble can help pave the road to hell. I really like that the movie did not shy away from the themes of there being consequences for living a life of greed and being self-centered. This message is contradicted so much in most media today, where it uses the whole “greed is good” message.

“Love thy neighbor as thyself” was a message communicated very clearly, and I believe it was good to show that what we do in this life has the biggest impact in the afterlife. I also liked that there were several Christ-like elements in the ghost of Christmas Present. Many times the Christian name has been used for selfish ends, and many “Godly” people such as Jimmy Swaggert and the Bakers have used God’s word for personal gain. These words by the Ghost of Christmas Present reminded me God’s Word should only be used for real concern and love, not for gain. This film also pointed out how often we forget that humankind has caused the problem of ignorance and apathy. I liked how it focused on the poor being those in need. “The meek shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

That being said, I agree that very young children or sensitive children should not see this film. The black horses or hell horses were very scary and scared me out of my skin. I knew this was a symbol for the devil. Also, the doorknocker turning into Jacob Marley made me jump. The Ghost of Christmas Present’s death and the two children of ignorance and want may also scare young children.

I was deeply impressed by the 3-D effects. I felt I could reach out and touch the snow on the screen, nearly wanted to stick out my tongue to catch a snowflake! I also liked the flying scenes because I felt like I was actually flying through London. I felt the horses might leap out of the screen and get me, so I had some goosebumps! I thought Scrooge was very well-animated and Jim Carrey did a great performance. I was happy to hear traditional Christmas Carols such as God Bless Ye Merry Gentleman and Silent Night. Christ was mentioned several times, which made me pleased as He is too often edited out in today’s politically correct world.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—LJ Richardson, age 23 (USA)
Positive—I liked this movie more than I expected to. I generally dislike Jim Carrey; he’s too hammy and over-the-top with his roles, but, here, he tones it down a bit and isn’t too distracting, even though he comes off as a young American guy pretending to be an old British guy.

That said, this version isn’t too Americanized, or even Americanized at all—much of the dialogue is lifted straight from the book, and the little that’s made up for the film still seems like something Charles Dickens would write. Of course, this means that this isn’t much more than yet another movie of A Christmas Carol, and if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Robert Zemeckis adds some great new images, but if you’re like me, and you’ve seen hundreds of versions of this, there won’t be many surprises.

My main gripe is with some of the sequences that were clearly added just because the movie was being released in 3-D, such as an utterly pointless and inane chase scene. But ultimately, like I said, it’s a faithful adaptation, and movies of A Christmas Carol don’t change much from one to the next, so if you or your kids are unfamiliar with the story, this is as good a way as any to fix that. It’s still got all the old morals intact.

The only content concern would be the scariness. The story’s always been a bit creepy, but here, they take it to the max. There are numerous jump moments, and some images are just plain frightening—Jacob Marley’s introduction, the way The Ghost of Christmas Present makes his grand exit, and especially The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. But, I ought to mention, the scariness of these images is fantastic for adults. I loved the style, and I certainly think Charles Dickens would approve. But think before you take the more impressionable of your youngsters, because the images alone are plenty unsettling. And if your child is likely to be upset for more than just a second following the jump moments, you may want to avoid this for them as well. It might be more tolerable on the small screen.

But, honestly, this is a story all kids should hear, so even if you think this movie might be too scary, please at least read them the book.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Matt Triponey, age 18 (USA)
Positive—WWWOOOWWW!!!… This movie was amazing! I just saw it and I would have to say its not for children because there is so much of a DEEP message about life in this movie, your past, present and future life and how it relates to how you treat people. It really was AMAZING, I am so impressed! I especially impressed as a Christian how much spiritual, Christianity it reflected. They mentioned God a lot and Christ as the King in the carols, it was awesome! WOW! What an awesome flick, I WILL see again in the theater. I don’t think its for kids like under the age of 12 or so. See it, you will be amazed!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha Taylor, age 35 (USA)
Positive—My overall review is that I rate the movie as Excellent. I do note one suspicious flaw with the movie, in that the script strays from the Charles Dickens original words during a conversation between Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present. The movie refers to “the thousands of supposed men of the cloth are responsible for this…” regarding the closing of shops and stores on Christmas Day and Sundays; but the original text reads as “There are some upon this Earth of yours, who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived.”
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Marx, age 43 (USA)
Positive—My wife, two children (ages 11 and 6) as well as a niece (also 6) and father and mother-in-law went to see this file together. We were all entranced by the quality of the film as well as the realistic qualities of the 3D. Had I seen the movie without the 3D and then to see the moving in 3D would have made me upset that I wasted the money on the first round. The movement and the special effects (such as seeing the furniture move over the view of the visions of Christmas present) were innovative and held your attention and never ceased to keep you in awe. I love the fact that the story line kept in tact all the Christian principles (the carols, view of the cross, etc). While some of the scenes were a bit frightening to my son and niece, they still came out of the theatre wanting to see it again, of which, we will be doing tonight. Stay to enjoy the boisterous rendition of “God Bless Us” sung by Andrea Bochelli during the credits. I was so taken with the song I went out and bought the soundtrack.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tim, age 38 (USA)
Positive—Disney’s A Christmas Carol was a very good experience that shows the benefits of loving others and the consequences of greed. Though there were a few graphic moments with the movie (Marley’s jaw breaking, the evil children’s punishments) a lot of it shows the evils of sin in a negative light and it is certainly not shown to be desirable in any way. I am glad Scrooge repents of his avarice and learns to love the family he has left (his nephew Fred). I was slightly bothered by the use of spirits as Scrooge’s discipline, but I prefer to think of them as being sent by God in a way, just as He sent angels to His children in both Testaments.

As for someone who made a comment about Christmas not being a Christian holiday, I disagree with that as much as “William of Normandy was the first president of the United States”. Whether or not Jesus was born on December 25, we set aside a day to celebrate His birth. How is celebrating His birth anti-Christian in any way? If people want or do not want to celebrate Christmas, that is between that person and God. I honestly tire of these unChristian arguments. Furthermore, certain things in the Mosaic Covenant (temples, animal sacrifice, priests) were around before Moses and done by pagans, yet God used them to glorify Himself.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Peter, age 22 (USA)
Positive—For a person who has seen a hundred different versions of this story, this film stood out beyond the rest. It was refreshing to see a true rendition of the book that doesn’t try and sidestep issues or be politically correct or smooth over details which people may not like. Graphically it is stunning film. It has 3D CGI graphics that I have only seen before in the best of games. Like the reviewer said, you can see every texture detail. However, some of the ghosts/spirits could use some work. The ghost of Christmas past is a bit silly. The ghost of Christmas future is too dark and morbid. The ghost of Christmas present is fine and very merry, except for the part where he laughs as he is dying and disintegrating. Marley’s ghost was intriguing, but disturbing, as half his jaw broke off.

The story and plot are very well executed, and it is very close the original book, both in message and execution. The acting is mostly good, with a few exceptions. If I had to lay a criticism, it is that tiny Tim’s situation wasn’t portrayed emotionally enough (as least not as much as some other versions of the story), and I was not moved to tears by the atmosphere. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Chris Van Der Merwe, age 27 (South Africa)
Neutral
Neutral—I came out of the theater thinking “that was a weird experience.” The environments/settings were amazing, I would have watched the show just for those. The characters were not so well done, being very hit and miss, although Jim Carry acted Scrooge very well. The ghost of Future was very well done cinematically, but those scenes were far too frightening for young children, even I found them tense. I never once got misty eyed or felt true connection with the story—yet I usually feel a bit involved even with the most low-budget play I’ve gone to see. Scrooge’s motivations were so convoluted and unclear, the scenes he saw haphazard rather than compelling, and it felt like he changed in the end simply because he was supposed to change by the book.

The few moments in his past or present that I would have liked to stay or explore were moved on from before I could feel for Scrooge in order to reach another sweeping CG movement scene or have a talk with a spirit. I might give “A Christmas Carol” great points in graphics, but I would say it missed the whole point of the story—or even of making a movie. If you can’t get your point across, if the audience can’t—feel—the story, then it’s a waste of money on a pretty package. (I would probably watch the “making of” several times if it came out though.)

Morally—“A Christmas Carol” was pretty clean, at least for a mature christian. The spirits were not trying to bring Scrooge to Christ but simply trying to make him a better person—and we know that people are not justified by works. While there was a good moment with showing the dangers of want and ignorance (very creepy, but good), the show was very much a morality-without-Christ. (Despite the pretty songs in the background, Christ never seemed to make His way into an actual character’s motives or reasoning) The dead people were all punished for the way they had lived their lives—kind of the “karma” principle.

While much of the plot is as Dickens intended, it still is not the best message for those who might be persuaded that being a good person or being giving is what keeps you from becoming a ghost trapped to wander eternally wrapped in the chains of your life. (We are justified in Christ, His work on the cross is what God looks at when he declares us innocent—not our own works. And because Jesus is our Lord and Master, we treat our neighbors as ourselves in love and are giving.) Sometimes, it is the movies that are morally empty or misleading, rather than in obvious opposition—that are the most dangerous. (There is also the obvious inaccuracies in the spirits themselves and the ghosts—but that can become a good discussion point in families on angels, demons, death and judgment, etc.)
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Jenai, age 25 (USA)
Neutral—If I had gone to see this movie with my husband I would have thought it was a great movie. I saw it with my 8 year old daughter, however, and found it to be too overwhelming and scary for a child of that age. The multiple scary images of ghosts and spirits was overwhelming and will probably keep her up for many nights to come. If you have a sensitive child or one not exposed to lots and lots of movies, this movie might be too much for them to take.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Melissa, age 31 (USA)
Neutral—I would rate this Better than Average and Positive, if there weren’t scary or frightning scenes, LOTS of cleavage, 1 “oh my G**”, and 1 use of the word “bugger” (which is known as the “F” word in England).

Some of the acting by Jim Carrey was annoying, especially the Ghost of Christmas Past. Some of the characters, including Robin Wright and Colin Firth and Gary Oldman were fine actors. Some scenes, especially of the “beware” children of agnorance and want, were disturbing and frightning. I’d rather watch the Simon Callow and Kate Winslet Christmas Carol (2000 or 2001) or Magoo’s Christmas Carol or any other. This movie should be only watched by 11 and up, in my opinion.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Stacy, age 19 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Those tying together a great book by Dickens, great actors, a top comedic star like Jim Carey, and in a Disney film thinking it’ll be good entertainment for children are going to be severely disappointed. This is simply too dreary of a retelling of this classic tale. It is so good to see a film that acknowledges Christmas, and this one did. There was one scene that dwelled on the cross on top of a church steeple. The joy of Christmas was in the air at the end of the film. There were lovely Christmas Carols sung as background music. These things I greatly appreciated and was so glad to see come out of an otherwise decadent Hollywood.

However, the film itself was dark and slow to get moving. Despite a wonderful cast of great actors, the characters, especially the three ghosts,—though technically interesting as computer generated characters—were not compelling emotionally or especially “spiritually.” They all came across the screen as one dimensional and “robotic.” Too bad. What a waste.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 2
—L.J. Capobianco, age 67 (USA)
Negative—I have always loved the Christmas Carol Story and do agree with what it stands for. I merely want to warn parents that this film is not for small children. I went to see it with my 12 year old autistic child and quite frankly it frightened her. The story was very well done and held pretty true to the original. It just seemed a little dark for a Disney film. I just wish I had known before I let my child view it. I don’t believe in exposing my children to things that cause them to fear. I know we live in a world where Harry Potter and Goosebumps are nothing to some children, and if that is true for your child, they could probably handle it.

As for my children, they are not allowed to view those types of movies, so it was scary to them. I had to explain a lot to my daughter who buried her head in my shirt through a lot of the movie. Also the word “ass” was used twice in the movie. It was used to describe a donkey, but it brought many giggles from the children in the theater.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Melanie Tilton, age 31 (USA)
Negative—While I truly appreciate the amazing movie making quality of this film as well as it’s portrayal of the original Dicken’s story, this version is not for young children. The trailer makes the movie appear light and even comedic, which it was not. It’s special effects are along the lines of those in a Pirates of the Caribbean movie, with bodies disintegrating and the main character being in great peril. One intense scene comes toward the end when Scrooge is being sucked down into the Earth in a graveyard and is begging the “spirit” to allow him to live.

Also, the scene with the “ghost of Christmas Present” (who is in the form of Santa Clause) ends with “Santa” aging and turning to dust, which would upset younger movie goers. This story teaches the valuable lessons of living your life helping others, finding joy in your friends and family instead of in monetary gain, and that a person can change even after making mistakes in life. However, the intensity of the movie warrants that parents be cautious in taking children under 10 years old.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—pam, age 43 (USA)
Negative—This movie is based on the original book and movie versions of the story. It is about the 3-D effects and little more. The plot is lacking and I felt emotionless throughout. There is a scene in which Scrooge is flying over the city with the ghost of Christmas present (that looks like a Norse God), and exclaims: there is not place for them to go, or cook their food (referring to the poor and homeless)…the ghost of Christmas present replies: the thousands of supposed men of the cloth are responsible for this (this scene is referring to times in the not so distant past when stores and shops were closed on Christmas and Sunday’s). I felt empty when leaving and morally spent. The movie was awful, but, I guess it reflects the religious attitudes of the times.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Steven, age 50 (USA)
Negative—I would agree that the over morale of the story (by Dickens) beckons reason to feel positive, but, and here comes the the but, and it is a big but! The movie is blasphemous. The spirits are more than spirits, they are alluded to as GOD(s), one spirit even identifies himself as “I AM” and Scrooge falls back, just as did the Roman Guards in the garden. The simple fact of the matter is that the movie defies the deity of Christ and ponders a post modern theology that can lead people astray and even leans towards the occult. If you take your children to this movie, you are inviting something into their lives that you will be certain to regret, not to mention the nightmares that will haunt them. My one praise for this movie, I did not take my kids, thank the Lord for that!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Joshua Taylor, age 30 (USA)
Negative—Not for young children! Scary, dark, intense. Children were crying from fear in the audience. Views of death and afterlife not biblical.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Charlie Hart, age 55 (USA)
Negative—This film lacks emotion. I have seen other more touching versions. I expected to be moved by Bob Cratchet and Tiny Tim, but their characters seemed underdeveloped. The beginning was also dark and uninteresting. It did nothing for my Christmas mood, and, at 13 dollars a pop, you leave quite disappointed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Lynn, age 48 (USA)
Negative—After seeing the very positive review here, I very enthusiastically took my two sons, ages 8 and 10, to see “A Christmas Carol.” This is a fine movie for adults. The 3D experience is very impressive and enjoyable to behold.

But, overall, my sense is that the film is too intense for the average young child. Compared to other Christmas Carol renditions, this movie is gratuitously morbid and dark. As an example, when Marley’s ghost is talking with Scrooge, his cheeks spontaneously rip apart, leaving his jaw dangling loosely in a grotesque fashion. The ghost seems startled and flustered, but regains his composure and continues talking by manually moving his jaw with his hands. Even as an adult, I found it a very uncomfortable sight. I have looked it up, and Dickens' book DOES contain a single sentence that describes the ghost’s “lower jaw [dropping] down upon its breast.” But graphically depicting this in a movie marketed to children under the “Disney” brand, to me, represents a real lack of judgment. (Poor Walt must be turning in his grave.) Finding the movie frightening, my eight year old began (and continued) asking to go home about 2/3 of the way through the film. Material like this is going to disturb children (or at least should, if they haven’t already been desensitized).

As an alternative to this film, I would recommend another Disney film, “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol.” It’s one of the best depictions of the story I’ve seen, and very enjoyable for both children and adults.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Mike Brown, age 45 (USA)
Negative—I decided to take my friend who is also my mentee, (she is 46 years old and has been through literal hell in her life) to this movie for her Christmas treat, even though we both are very aware that Christmas is NOT a Christian or Biblical Holiday. We were not expecting the movie to be Biblical, but rather just for an enjoyable time together celebrating the holiday. She, an avid fan of 3-D, comes from a serious background of abuse and has been through deliverance which she feels she needs again after the movie. She can tolerate horror movies and we have together watched many Pereti movies, of which she is a fan. She is a strong Christian and has worked through much of her past. Both of our enjoyment ended at liking the 3-D.

I think my hand was broken several times from her having to hold on to it, not to mention the times I told her to look away, which is NOT common for her. I was thankful that I had sent her out for several scenes. At the point of Christmas present she leaned over to me and whispered that is a Pagan wreath on the head and the scene was a mockery of Jesus.

During Christmas future, we prayed into each other’s ears for protection from the demonic spirits present. We both agreed that this movie is a step away from a horror flick in that the demons (Marley,the three ghosts, and the the boy and girl—want and hunger—were simply put—demons. There was no reason for the fire to be shown under the grave (indicating hell) in Christmas future. The over-sized rat was simply terrifying and not necessary to the story. To me the story of “A Christmas Carol” was lost.

On the positive side, the music relating to the birth of Jesus and the cross was a nice touch but far overshadowed by the demonic aspects, thus negating the effects and message of the music. The 3-D effects also became overshadowed by the demonic presences. I would not recommend this movie to anyone and am appalled that Disney/Pixar put out the movie as well as that people are saying it’s a good Christian movie. If it’s a Christian movie, I would have to put it in a class with Frank Pereti’s “House” which was far better than this one. I would think SERIOUSLY before taking any children to this feature and/or going myself.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Very Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Grace Riedinger, age 55 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—The best thing about this movie was the animation, which was AWESOME! But sometimes I got the feeling that the creators worked so hard on the animation that they didn’t spend as much time on the story (mainly on Scrooge’s redemption), so they just added a lot of scary parts. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this movie, but the Muppet version of “A Christmas Carol” will always be my favorite. And let me warn you, DO NOT TAKE YOUNG CHILDREN TO THIS MOVIE! It had several parts that made me shudder (the main part being when Marley’s lower jaw breaks and almost falls off), and I’m almost 18! I think most adult fans of the Christmas Carol story will like this movie, especially if they like scary stuff.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Katie, age 17 (USA)
Neutral—I went to this movie with high hopes. I knew it was going to be a little creepy, and it was. I can tell you I liked it a little bit, but I wished I would have saved my money and waited till video. This movie is geared for ages 10 and up in my perspective. But I know some people may enjoy it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tucker L. H., age 12 (USA)
Positive—I saw this movie with one of my good friends; we loved it. There are some weird scene that might scare little kids, but other than that it had awesome actors, had a very good message, and loved the graphics.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Richard, age 17 (USA)
Neutral—I liked the movie when Scrooge turned nice, but I also have to admit that there were scary parts—like when Christmas Present pulled his robe back and showed the scary looking faces. Also, I did not like seeing the reaper near the end when he tries to kill Scrooge. I know it was based on biblical themes, but it was just to scary. But, I also have to admit that parts of it were very good.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Hope, age 9 (USA)
Positive—This was a wonderful film. I saw it with my dad on opening night.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Joseph, age 12 (USA)
Positive—Amazing!… biblical message is amazing, CG is beautiful-voice acting is well done… wonderful film!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Megan, age 13 (USA)
Positive—…a very well made film, although the only reason I rated the movie 4½ is because of a scene were the ghost of Christmas present was getting older by the second and dying while he was laughing; it wasn’t all bad, but I would recommend that you cover your children’s eyes for some scenes for the movie is fast paced and somewhat scary to children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Joseph Rivera, age 13 (USA)

Positive—This movie was not what I expected. It followed both the book and original film. …Considering that this was a film from a industry that supports gay marriage, I’m quite impressed and would recommend it to anybody.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Tristan Cowley, age 15 (USA)

Negative—The movie had amazing animation and graphics, the storyline was by the book, and it was fairly clean. However, there were some four letter words, and it would be scary for little children. I would not recommend this movie to the Christian; its teachings were far from Godly. Scrooge, the main character, was frightened when he realized that because of his “works,” he would be wearing a long chain of selfishness, which he would carry around as a spirit after his death. In the end, he changes from being selfish, so that he will not have to wear the chain, and so that people will like him.

There is another part, in which Scrooge is seeing his future, and he is falling into a casket set deep in the ground, beneath the casket is a fiery, orange glow (hmmmm…). I would say that, aside from all the strange spirits, who were definitely not sent from God, the movie, like the book, pushes the belief of salvation by works. God says, in Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Also, God says, in 1 Thessalonians 5:22, Abstain from all appearance of evil. That too should help us discern whether or not we should place this movie before our eyes or the eyes of our children.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Katherine Rife, age 16 (USA)
Comments from non-viewers
I went to see this movie with my family and a friend. At first, I was really into the scenery and the scenario that they had set up and the way the film was made …filmmaking was excellent; the graphics were great—it was also in 3-D which was really neat. After about twenty minutes in, it got to the part with the ghosts appearing and haunting Scrooge. I then walked out and stayed out for the rest of the movie.

I have seen or know the story from the previous make of this story. The movie then became extremely dark spiritually and frightening. The biggest problem with the story that I have of “A Christmas Carol” is that it seems that the way that Scrooge is changed is by forces of darkness and of evil and fright. The only One who can truly make a heart change and bring about good fruit is the Lord through Christ. His ways are good and pure and holy. He doesn’t work by spirits of darkness or demonic or ghostly powers or beings. So the story totally twists the way things truly happen.

Dark spiritual beings and demonic powers are real and the “A Christmas Carol” story plays around with that and twists the result of goodness and generosity to be as a product of them when in reality the devil will draw people into his dark and sick ways in order to lead them astray and to look to sorcery or ways of darkness in their lives and make it seem good. In reality the power of Jesus Christ overcomes these things and by His name from any follower of Christ they are cast away.

Yet at least in the old “A Christmas Carol” story I don’t remember that happening at all. In the end my advice is to not expose yourself to dark spiritual things or even play around with letting the media try to influence you by making you think this is harmless and saying what’s bad is good or causes good. If you do see it, just be ready to walk out if you feel it’s damaging to your soul and spiritually harmful. I wanted nothing to do with some of the very things that Christ brought me out of. Some verses that may be good to read that may relate to the content of the movie and to the “A Christmas Carol” story are Deuteronomy 18:9-22, Ephesians 5:1-21, Ephesians 6:10-13, 1 Peter 2:9, 1 John 1:5, and James 1:17.
—Skylar, age 22 (USA)
Bizarre though it may be to submit a review of a film that I have never seen, I just wanted to throw in a theological consideration that Christian parents should consider when talking about this with their children—we had a profitable discussion of this with my kids when we saw the Muppet’s Christmas Carol. The question is this—is A Christmas Carol about GRACE? How does Scrooge get “saved”? Answer—by turning over a new leaf. Is that the gospel? Discuss…
—Allan Robert Huxtable, age 38 (United Kingdom)
I must begin by stating that I have not yet seen this movie, though I do plan to. However, while reading the reviews on this site, I also read summaries of the movie and other reviews on other sites. I base my opinion on what I read here, and there. I disagree with those viewers who state that this movie was either too scary, or too mystical, or whatever it is you say. So far, all reviews I have read (including this one) seemed to portray the story as being EXTREMELY close to Dicken’s novel. I found this very refreshing to hear. Many film directors now are attempting to make movies based off of books (Where the Wild Things Are, Narnia, etc.) and are failing miserably. They seem to only care about the dollars and cents each brings in, rather than getting the author’s story across. If this movie so closely follows the book, then how can you criticize it for being “too scary” or “too dark”? Dicken’s books were never light-hearted. If you are going to criticize anyone, you ought to criticize him.

Also, how on Earth can you complain about the word “ass” (especially when its in reference to a donkey, which is what an ass is) when the movie completely, and quite nicely, throws precaution to the wind, where political correctness is concerned, and loudly proclaims what Christmas is about! One person commented, “one spirit even identifies himself as “I AM” and Scrooge falls back, just as did the Roman Guards in the garden.” How many times have you been asked, Are you _________?” and you responded, “I am.”? Are you denying the deity of Christ? In this same way (at least in the book) the ghost was asked, “Are you the ghost of christmas past?” and responded “I am.” Scrooge fell back because he was frightened. Wouldn’t you be if you saw a ghost? Your children aren’t made of glass. I agree, we must use precaution in movie watching, but not to the point where we state a decent movie with VERY little crude moments (according to many sites), is offensive. This is a classic. I must see this for myself, but if all the sites are right, it will be worth seeing.
—Emily Alsmeyer, age 16 (USA)