Christmas Movies: A Christmas Carol

It's not a Christmas season without a visit from the three spirits of Christmas past, present and future. I mean, how will you be able to properly appreciate your Christmas until you've learned your lesson of greed, selfishness and hum-buggery from our old friend Scrooge? Lucky for you, there are several movie versions of this classic story for you to choose from. (Unless, like me, you can watch several versions of the same story within one month. Then, by all means, enjoy them all!)

This is widely considered the best version of A Christmas Carol. It's one of the first films based on the Dickens novel and, until recently, was one of the few versions to stay true to the story without the addition of musical numbers or beloved children's characters. While you may find this version dull compared to today's movies, a little black and white is good for you. You may even get good Christmas spook from the scary ghost scenes. I swear, the shot of Marley's face appearing in Scrooge's doorknocker gave me nightmares as a child.

Disney somehow managed to take the epic story of A Christmas Carol and condense it into a half hour. How did they manage that? By skimming over the gruesome details, kid-translating it, and just hitting all the major plot points. But if you love yourself some classic Disney characters and the childish humor that comes with them, then enjoy your half hour show.

Thankfully, despite being aimed towards children (I mean, it's the Muppets, right?) they managed to stay true to the original story, including those specific details and dialogues we all know. However, to accomadate their original and beloved characters, they changed a few details of the story. Gonzo and Rizzo are the narrators and they gave Jacob Marley a brother, Robert, (Get it?) so the character could be shared by those two old guys that make cheesey jokes to each other. (Sorry, I'm not a Muppet connoisseur, I don't know all of their names.) Along with some more jokes and a few musical numbers, the Muppets deliver a real Christmas Carol.

Although it stars comedian Jim Carrey, this movie is not a bundle of laughs. It stays very close to the original story, which is not a cheery Christmas tale, but a serious, scary, dramatic journey through time. Carrey plays Scrooge (at every age) and each of the spirits. Each spirit is extreme in it's own way, which was always my favorite part of the story. Actually, my very favorite is the giant and jolly (but also strangely dark and twisted) Ghost of Christmas Present. If you have to choose only one A Christmas Carol movie to watch this Christmas season, go with this one. It's the real story without any gimmicks, but thoroughly enjoyable.