Disney’s A Christmas Carol (Blu-ray)
I just want to start out by saying that I don’t get the point of motion capture. To me it’s all just one long cut scene from a video game. However, I really do love a good Christmas story and A CHRISTMAS CAROL certainly has to be the best of the bunch. If you wanted to re-invent a tale, this is the one that you could do it with. So Disney and Robert Zemeckis decided to re-vamp Scrooge’s road to redemption by making the story motion capture and making every other character have the face of Jim Carrey. How would Charles Dickens feel about all this?
Honestly, he would probably pee himself from experiencing how far technology has come along. “MOVING PICTURES? WHAT?” Then the poor guy would have a heart attack and pass away all over again. I couldn’t bear to be the person that brought Charles Dickens back from the dead just to watch DISNEY’S A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It’s not bad at all, but there are so many more cool things I’d want to share. Good thing I didn’t get the 3D release of this.
We should all know the plot of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The story focuses on the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge who is only concerned with pinching every penny. He knows nothing of charity, kindness, or even caring. He’s the human version of the Grinch (also played by Jim Carrey). After the death of his partner in business, Jacob Marley (Gary Oldman), Scrooge receives visits from three different spirits. The ghost of Christmas past, present, and future all show Scrooge how his actions could possibly impact his life. This miserable man is then forced to focus and reflect on the important things that could be passing him by.
Carrey is the dominant face in this film taking on close to ten characters. One thing I noticed while listening to his portrayal of Scrooge was how Carrey is severely underappreciated as a serious actor. Okay, so maybe the guy has been in too many comedies, but that shouldn’t limit him. Just because he talked out of his butt in the early nineties doesn’t mean that he isn’t capable of more ambitious roles. Take THE TRUMAN SHOW for example, Carrey shines and emotes in a series of ways that put him on par with several actors of a higher caliber. I don’t think that people look past his previous work to really appreciate him. I will always rally behind Carrey no matter what he decides to work on. Am I partial? Maybe, but I think everyone has an actor that they are partial to.
Aside from Carrey, the main focus of the film is obviously the motion capture. The technology has been noticeably finely tuned since THE POLAR EXPRESS. I can see why it might be used. It transforms actors and stretches the normal bounds of what a human can do or be. At one point, Carrey becomes a candle with his head as a burning flame. So maybe motion capture isn’t for me, but it seems better than trying to use CGI on everything. I’d also like to point out that at times it’s down right creepy.
Overall the film really isn’t that bad. In fact, it might be something that adults might be able to enjoy. Towards the end there are some rather eerie sequences that could possibly scare your kids a bit. The motion capture certainly puts a new spin on things but it doesn’t re-invent anything. If I’m looking for that I’ll go watch SCROOGED with Bill Murray.
Video (2.40:1 Widescreen): Wow. Disney can do no wrong. Everything is clear and crisp so much so that you can see every little detail this film has to offer.
Audio (5.1 DTS-HD): It’s all very nice and clear. Even if you don’t have the pleasure of surround sound, you will certainly be able to enjoy the audio.
Countdown to Christmas Interactive Calendar: I would have loved this feature when I was little. All you do is pick a number and each day you get a present. Yay!
Behind the Carol: The Full Motion Capture Experience: This is the best feature from this film and might be one of the best I’ve seen on Blu-ray. While the movie plays you actually get to see the actors compared to their animated counterparts. You can also watch only the actors if you wish with their mo-cap doubles in the smaller part of the screen. What was really exciting to me was the fact that director Robert Zemeckis gives commentary within this feature. This man made BACK TO THE FUTURE, I will listen to anything he has to say. Definitely check this out.
Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling (15:00) Here is a look behind the scenes. This feature shows the ins and outs of motion capture. It’s always cool to watch Jim Carrey at work, especially on something like this. If you are interested in the technology behind the movie then you will really like this.
On Set with Sammi (2:00): This is the perspective of the process through the eyes of Sammi Hanratty. The camera follows the 14-year old actress getting her mo-cap on.
Deleted Scenes (9:00): Six deleted scenes that managed to scare me more than the actual creepy faces seen in the film. Talking, no heads…
Discover Blu-ray 3D with Timon and Pumbaa (4:00): First off, not in 3D. I’m sure someone will get confused. It’s nice to see Timon and Pumbaa from THE LION KING. However this did not interest me. I could care less about 3D. If you are interested, then it will bring you up to speed on all your 3D needs as well as movies that will feature the technology.