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A Christmas Carol World Premiere Review!

by Dave Elliott

It was a cold dark night in ye olde London town, and thanks to the lovely people at Sky Movies HD, fellow Geektown reviewer Sam and I were about to enter a winter wonderland created for the World Premiere of Disney’s A Christmas Carol.

The Premiere

The set up for this premiere was so much bigger than anything I’d encountered before. The event had taken over the whole of Leicester Square, creating a long red carpet that led people through a winter wonderland (complete with falling snow and christmas trees) around the centre of the square, through to one of the 3 cinemas showing the film. Stages were set at either end filled with groups of carolers in full period costumes.

A couple of records were also broken in the course of the premiere. Not only was this the worlds largest premiere for a 3D movie, they also broke the world record for the largest number of people carol singing at one time. The singing was led by none other than Andrea Bocelli, who also gave a brilliant performance of a song from the movie (‘God Bless Us Everyone’) – see the performance at the end of the post. Don’t think i’ve ever felt so Christmasy in November before!

We spent a bit more time celeb spotting as Jim Carrey, Bob Hoskins, and Colin Firth worked the crowd. We also lent a helping hand (literally) to a couple of lovely people from Hat Trick, by waving some banners for Chartjackers (some great guys who have created a Christmas single from scratch using the internet to raise money for Children in Need). Finally we made our way over to the Odeon (tripping over some of the X-Factor finalists on the way), to watch Disney’s A Christmas Carol.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol Review


Jim Carrey's Scrooge

One thing i would like to point out at the start, the ‘Disney’s‘ part of the movie title is a bit of misnomer. I love Disney movies and Robert Zemeckis movies, but don’t go to this movie expecting to see a cutesy Disneyesque take on A Christmas Carol. This is far more a Robert Zemeckis production of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. I admit, it’s been a while since i’ve read the original novel, but i’m fairly sure most of the dialogue used in the film is the original Dickens.

The film stars Jim Carrey playing not only Ebenezer Scrooge, but Marley’s ghost, and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. There’s also a rather superb supporting cast of Gary Oldman, Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth and Robin Wright Penn. As with Tom Hanks in Zemeckis’s previous digital animation movie The Polar Express,  the main characters are modelled on the actual actors voicing them, creating truly stunning digital caricatures of the person in question.

Jim Carrey turns in a wonderfully pitched performance as Scrooge. I rather got the feel this was ‘actor’ Jim Carrey than the ‘wacky’ Jim Carrey you’d probably expect from him in an animated feature. The whole film feels very much like Zemeckis chose to make it as an animated feature as it was the most appropriate way of displaying his vision of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, not because he wanted to make a animated film.


Marley's Ghost

This does bring me to a word of warning to parents. Sections of the movie, particularly Marley’s ghost and Christmas Past, i suspect would be quite scary for young children. Couple that with the fact most cinemas will be showng it with the added depth of 3D (although i think it would probably work just as well in 2D), and you could have some frightened young offspring to deal with. There were 2 small kids in the rows in front of us who I noticed on a few occasions clinging onto their parents!

Given that A Christmas Carol is a tale that’s been told time and time again, Zemeckis does a stunning job of creating a unique and interesting retelling of the story, without straying to far from the original narrative. Visually stunning, with wonderful performances from both Carrey and the A list supporting cast, the Zemeckis version could very easily become a Christmas favourite.

Update: To see the casts introduction to the movie, hop over to our friends at HeyUGuys!

Disney’s A Christmas Carol opens 6th November 2009


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