…I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.
Who says you can’t use a non sequitur to start a blog post? Here we are again, one less day between us and Dec 25th. In exactly one week I sincerely hope you, your family, and your closest friends will all find yourselves sitting around a lit up Christmas tree laughing in each other’s company. This is the time for nostalgia or creating those moments you’ll remember the next Christmas. And a big part of my Christmas revolves around those movies expressing a heartfelt message. Sounds corny, I know. But it just wouldn’t be the same without them.
Charles Dickens today is known for writing a wonderful book that probably holds the record for most film adaptations. And Disney themselves can count for 3 of them. Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and The Muppet Christmas Carol. And the Muppet version is by far my favorite of any. Just think about it for a second. It’s the 19th Century in a very dingy and cold London atmosphere. The setting itself is too dark for a family movie. Enter the Christian Christmas season and the very lovable and unforgettable Muppet crew….and KABLAMO! Instant classic. Major props to Brian Henson for creating such a wonderful movie, being that it was the first movie since his father’s death. (Psst! His father was Jim Henson!) In a way, Brian Henson and The Muppets are siblings. And he treated them as such.
Two big ingredients were stirred for this wonderful movie. 1) The legendarily epic Michael Caine played a character who is just as legendarily epic: Ebenezer Scrooge. Granted, I haven’t seen every single adaptation…but my extreme bias is going to stick with Michael Caine being the all-time best Scrooge. No contest. 2) A very knowledgable and experienced Muppet crew banned together for this movie. You may not realize it, but there are a million technical hurdles to jump with puppets in a not-so-high-budget movie pre-dating the ease of computer graphics. The human actors were walking on pavement 4ft from the ground. Depending on the scene, one Muppet could have up to 10 people working their infectiously jolly lives. It’s nothing short of amazing.
As far as the story telling aspect, another reason I’m quite biased is because they chose to have a narrator! I’ve seen A Christmas Carol many many many times. Whether it be animated, CGI, puppets, a dramatic film, or a stage play. There’s something about a narrator stringing out lines from Dicken’s own mouth to give one more level of awesome. And then since these are The Muppets, they sing songs. Each song, while keeping the wee kids (and myself) interested, provides a deep enough back story so you know how to react and treat each character in your head! You’re supposed to watch a movie and develop your own opinion about a character through what’s visible on screen, but this is A Christmas Carol. Some filmmakers take advantage of that and don’t portray Scrooge’s wickedness well enough to make you really hate him so you can love him by the end. It’s cheap. So in avoiding that, The Muppets pay up every penny to the audience and give one charming movie. I love every second.