Book Review: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I wasnt sure that I would be doing one more Christmas review this year but after recently diving back into the Charles Dickens library I thought I may as well do a quick book review in celebration of the holidays.

A Christmas Carol was written by Charles Dickens in 1843, it is a short story otherwise known as a novella, but regardless of the books length it has been adapted to screen many times and is Christmas classic known by all.

The story is about an angry elderly man who has a cold heart and not a drop of love within himself, he is cruel to his employee Bob Cratchet who he underpays and has little sympathy for, he refuses to donate to charities and says that he would rather the poor die instead of help them and generally is a very unlikable character.

Throughout the story Scrooge is visited by ghosts one is his old partner Jacob Marley and the others represent the past, present and future who take him through time to see his life flash before his eyes and showing him the error of his ways.

If you cut apart all of the film adaptations and stitched parts together you would get a page for page perfect adaptation of the book and there not a is single part of the book that hasn’t included in any of the on screen tellings of the story.

there are few things in the book that are not often shown, one is the spirits in the air after Marley visits, in the books this shows ghosts all sorts of people who have done wrong and now carry the chains of their sins.

The other is Ebenezer’s sister Fanny who is very rarely put to screen and in the book it is told that she dies young and is the mother of Ebenezer’s nephew Fred.

Funnily enough one of the only adaptations to correctly depict the Ghost of Christmas Past was the muppet version as in the story and that version the spirit is said to be a glowing light.

What really surprised me was that in the original Charles Dickens story there is no part where Scrooge goes to Hell, in fact the story seems a lot more straight to the point than any version that came after it and I think it works better that way, so many of the re-tellings added this part and now I see that it really wasn’t needed as Dickens wrote the story so well without it.

It’s not easy to review this because while the book is really well written and very educational the later adaptations are definitely more memorable, in fact there are so many adaptations of the story that it is quite insane, if that doesn’t go to show that this is one of the most important stories every written I don’t know what does.

A wikipedia link which lists all adaptions of the original story

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_A_Christmas_Carol

I think I want to end this review by saying that I really enjoyed this book, I didn’t think that I would because I didn’t enjoy Oliver Twist another popular story from Dickens, back then I put it down to his writing style but I have to take that back because this story was wonderful. Perhaps I should check out his other stories in the future but for now I am very happy to say I will be reading this one every single year.

Merry Christmas and God Bless us Everyone !

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The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992) Review

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a musical fantasy film starring everyone’s favourite puppet characters, Originally created by the late Jim Henson the Muppets were a huge success on Television and eventually starring in movies until Jim’s death in 1990.

This is a really good video playlist about Jim Hensons career it was made by Youtube Channel called Defunctland and is one of the best documentary series on Jim and his creations, I would highly recommend checking it out

After Jim’s passing his son Brian took the Muppets franchise under his wing and began work on the first movie that would be made after Jim Henson and this film just so happens to be a take on the Chales Dickens story A Christmas Carol.

The story is one of the most well known tales of all time but for those who may be living under a rock, A Christmas Carol is the story of a very angry and unkind man who is shown the error of his ways on one Christmas eve where three different ghosts show him his past, present and future in hopes of giving him a chance to redeem himself and avoid an eternity in Hell.

In this version of the classic story, Ebenezer Scrooge is played by academy award winner and cinema legend Micheal Cain, his performance in this is really good, in fact its my favourite performance of Scrooge in any media. The film is relatively silly as it should be, it is the Muppets after all.

The silliest moments come from Gonzo and Rizzo who are narrating the story while the movie is playing.

Another Great example of Muppet humour is the christmas party scene, it has Animal on the drums, Rolf on the Piano, Bad Jokes from Fozzy Bear and is genuinly one the most memorable parts of the film.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jLRLwI6OdU

What makes Cain stand out so well is that he plays such a serious role when the rest of the movie is a Muppets film, his performance in this is so convincing that by the end of the film you even start to feel a little sorry for him, I really do think this is one of his best roles, the only slight issue is that he struggles to carry a tune during his song at the end of the movie and it would have been better if his singing was dubbed.

The rest of the cast is great, I felt the muppets chosen for the characters were really good, Kermit being Bob Cratchett is an obvious choice and Miss Piggy playing his wife Emily also makes sense, but we need to take time to appreciate the smaller roles, Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker play the charity collectors which is seems an odd choice but it works surprisingly well but the best casting which was ingenious in my opinion was the role of Jacob Marley going to

Waldorf and Statler, I dont think anyone expected these guys to play such a large role in the film as they were mainly used for the odd funny remark in the TV show and the previous movies, they are great as Jacob Marley (now split into two brothers) and even sing a catchy musical number.

The music for the film was written and composed by Paul Williams and Miles Goodman, I have very mixed feelings on this I would argue that half of the music is phenomenal and some of the best Christmas themed music put to screen but the other half feels a little lackluster. Some highlights for me were “Scrooge”, “Marley and Marley”, It Feels Like Christmas” and even the “finale Song” was memorable but the rest is so forgettable, I couldn’t recall “One More Sleep til Christmas” or “Bless us All”, the movie had a lot of songs cut from it including songs by Beaker and Dr Honeydew, another by Sam the Eagle, these were not very good so I’m glad they weren’t kept in the film but the track “When Love is Gone” was cut from the film in releases after the theatre since it was deemed to sad and this is a shame because its a really beautiful lyrical piece that helps give more depth to Scrooge and his long lost love Belle’s character.

My favourite track is It Feels Like Christmas sang by the Ghost of Christmas Present, its a really bouncy and fun song about the meaning of Christmas but what makes it most impressive is the Puppet used for the Ghost, he was a life size Puppet made for the movie, a human actor controlled the puppet from the inside while a Puppeteer used robotics to control the eyes and mouth and did the voice acting in sync with the actors dancing and movements.

A Muppet Christmas Carol is a magical movie that is a yearly tradition for many especially Muppet fans like myself, It has a lot going for it with its impressive puppetry, charm that only these characters can bring the the screen and of course you cannot forget about Michael Cain who is just wonderful in this, this is one of the best telling’s of the classic Dickens tale but it’s not my favourite, it falls short is some places I found the commentary from Gonzo and Rizzo a little distracting at times and a few of the songs were forgettable but overall this is a still a really amazing film and it is one of the best in the Muppets library, a lot of love went into it and I have a lot of love for it and I’m sure you will too if you give it a try this Christmas.

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Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com