Thursday, December 13, 2012

Stewart's Carol

Few actors have become as attached to A Christmas Carol as Patrick Stewart. Having done a one-man version for about a decade on stage, as well as recording an unabridged audio book, it was inevitable that he would eventually take the role of Scrooge on film.

Funded by TNT and produced by Hallmark Entertainment, Stewart also took the role of executive producer.

Due to the production's familiarity with Dickens' story, this is perhaps one of the truest to Dickens. Exceptionally little is omitted, and fleshing out is restrained. Scrooge is shown signing Marley's death certificate, and many scenes are nicely extended. One favorite little flourish is Scrooge in church faking his way into singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

Stewart, though bald (a look I don't normally think of for the character), makes an effective Scrooge, carrying him from villain to sensitive to outright joyous on Christmas morning. The three ghosts are done excellently, and in my own opinion, I rather like these Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present more than their incarnations in 1951 and 1984. The First Ghost has the snuffer cap and light is used effectively in his presentation. The Second Ghost is much more open and willing to speak with Scrooge than his 1984 counterpart, who often sounded like he was angry with Scrooge.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows a change from past interpretations by emphasizing its unclear nature rather than playing up a creepy factor. This works better, in my opinion. as the story has been retold so often that the viewer already knows that the Ghosts are not trying to do Scrooge harm but good.

The rest of the cast—including Richard E. Grant as Bob Cratchit and Ian McNiece as Fezziwig—round out an excellent adaptation.

Definitely check this one out.

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