The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Rating U

Length 1hr 25

Release 18.12.1992

Director Brian Henson


Naughty

  • It’s Michael Caine’s performance alone that saves this film from being an outright camp pantomime. As much as I love some aspects of Gonzo and Risso, some of it strays a little too far for me.
  • There’s some odd dialogue choices along the way. There’s the headmaster who declares ‘it’s the American way’ before being corrected. Much in the same way as the film’s narrators, it takes you out of the film.
  • Not too sure how I feel about Michael Caine’s singing prowess. It’s very much the voice equivalent of dad dancing. I know the film seemed aware of it by keeping his musical additions to a minimum, but it’s really weird and jarring to not have your protagonist have at least his own song in what is essentially a musical.
  • There seemed to be a significant shift in quality when it came to the creation of the secondary and background puppetry.

Nice

  • Gonzo makes for a brilliant narrator and it’s something I’ve not seen in many other versions. It brings, when it works, some of the original text to the screen and some humour.
  • On the most part, all of the Muppets are well cast in their Dickensian roles. I completely adore Kermit as Cratchett and Statler and Waldorf as the Marley brothers.
  • Both the Swedish Chef and Animal make cameos that don’t quite fit, but are both so awesome you won’t care.
  • Michael Caine, musical elements aside, is a wonderful Scrooge. He is almost in a completely different movie to his puppet counterparts, but that strangely works in this case. As a Scrooge, he’s able to show the development of character and a will to change.

Final Thoughts

It’s a fair adaptation and while Caine lacks the flair for singing, he’s now too iconic in the role to even dare to mentally recast.

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