- Genre: Drama
- Format: VHS
Standing out in the crowded field of screen adaptations of the classic Dickens novel A Christmas Carol is hard to do, but this version pulls it off. When a transparent Jacob Marley walks through Ebenezer Scrooge’s apartment door, you know you’re seeing something both timeless and contemporary. Other strategically placed special effects–a funnel cloud that transports Scrooge and the ghost of Christmas present, the hollow specter of Christmas future–keep you riveted without slipping into anachronism.
But, as good as the technology is, the performances are what really power this 93-minute TNT interpretation. Patrick Stewart brings a depth to Scrooge that allows the character to go beyond the cartoonish qualities that have made him a Christmas mainstay. That doesn’t mean he’s any less heartless with his hapless employee Bob Cratchit (Richard E. Grant) or any less dismissive of his well-meaning nephew. A frail-looking Joel Grey makes an excellent ghost of Christmas past, and a superb British cast ably fill the remaining roles.
Director David Jones, shooting on location in England and at London’s Ealing Studios, has achieved a balance of science and sentiment that will help this version hold up for many years to come.