Christmas Carol: The Movie (review)
The voice cast of this animated British kid flick is an Anglophile’s dream: Kate Winslet (Finding Neverland), Michael Gambon (Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow), Juliet Stevenson (Being Julia), Rhys Ifans (Vanity Fair), Jane Horrocks (Chicken Run). Pity that not a one of them distinguishes him- or herself — the voice performances are so peculiarly bland that even the usually distinctive voice of Nicolas Cage (National Treasure), whom we’re told contributed something here, is un-pick-out-able in the mess. Add in the flat, dull animation, and one wonders what the rationale was behind this unnecessary remake. Surely, the addition of a pair of nosy, anthropomorphic mice to Dickens’s classic story isn’t enough to justify it, particularly when one considers that Scrooge (the voice of Simon Callow: No Man’s Land) seems rather betrayed as a character by their inclusion — why would such a miserable man be mean to human beings and kind to vermin, offering them porridge and a warm pocket in which to sleep? One is tempted to wonder, cynically and contrarily to the Christmas spirit, whether the film isn’t merely a giant advertisement for mega-phenomenon Charlotte Church’s song “It’s the Heart that Matters” and for “What If,” the huge holiday hit tune performed by none other than, yes, Kate Winslet. DVD extras include a making-of featurette, the live-action opening and ending that appeared in the theatrical version, which add precisely nothing to the film, and, yes, Kate Winslet’s “What If” music video.
rated PG for momentary language
viewed at home on a small screen