Review by Todd Hertz
Despite being PG, Disney’s A Christmas Carol is not a film for young children, probably those 8 and under. The movie is very dark and should be viewed as a ghost story—with more emphasis on the horror angle than most adaptations.
In the long string of adaptations of Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic, possibly the greatest contribution of this movie is that it reminds us that this is a dark and scary ghost story. Screenwriter and director Robert Zemeckis focuses on the personal horror of a miserable man, literally haunted by the prospect of living eternally in despair for his selfish choices.
This version made me most clearly see connections to faith life of any other version I’ve seen. For instance, I’d never seen The Ghost of Christmas Present as a representation of Christ, but here, he had a mix of joy, truth-telling, charisma, teaching, love, and justified anger that I associate with Jesus.
Disney’s A Christmas Carol also surprisingly contains some tough but important aspects of the book that most feel-good, family-friendly adaptations leave out. Zemeckis doesn’t soften the terror of eternal damnation. The Ghost of Christmas Present tells Scrooge that many who claim Christmas actually know nothing of its real meaning. And then, Scrooge discovers two impoverished and creepy children, Ignorance and Want, living under the ghost’s robes. The spirit tells him they belong to Man but are foolishly associated with Christmas. Zemeckis’ loyalty to these Dickensian ideas is worthy of respect; these ideas need to be heard.
For complete review, read here.