William Mortensen Vaughan
|As of: 8:00 a.m. E.S.T., Friday, February 21, 2020|
Title: A Christmas Carol (2019)
Adaptation: Starring Guy Pearce as Ebenezer Scrooge
Date Released: Thursday, December 19, 2019
Format Reviewed: live-action, feature-length, video adaptation streamed online
My Rating: *** [Viewer Discretion Advised]
Dove Foundation Rating: [not rated]
M.P.A.A. Rating: TV-MA
What does my wife think of it? She doesn't like it.
Is this adaptation reverent?: Not particularly.
Does it include the phrase, "God bless us..."? No.
When and where does this adaptation take place? This adaptation takes places in London, in 1843.
How closely does this adaptation follow the original novel, by Charles Dickens?
Although it takes place in London, in 1843, this adaptation is drastically altered. To start with, Bob Cratchit's wife is black, but no one in this film's Victorian England bats an eye about it. This is very unlikely, because, although the British abolished slavery in their empire in 1834, interracial marriage was still frowned upon, or at least considered remarkable, as recently as 2018, when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle. According to British Census data gathered in 2011, mixed-race people only represented 2.3% of Britain's population. Few photos of mixed-race couples, taken circa 1870, the year Charles Dickens died, are extant. One such rare photo is of Charles Meehan, an Irishman from Detroit and his wife, Hester, who were both born in 1856; they were married in Canada, where interracial marriage was legal, though "frowned upon."
Another drastic alteration, in this adaptation, is the absence of Mr. Fezziwig.
Belle is reduced to a character in a film about Scrooge's life as it could have been. Although film cameras were not invented until the 1880's, this is somewhat believable, because the Ghost of Christmas Past shows Scrooge the film, and using a device that hasn't been invented yet doesn't seem, somehow, out of character for a ghost who travels through time.
Perhaps the most significant difference between this adaptation and any other, is that Mrs. Cratchit, whose first name is Mary, in this adaptation - she summons the spirits, as if she were some sort of voodoo priestess, and she refuses to forgive Ebenezer for his misdeeds, which include hiring her to do anything he wants, unbeknownst to her husband, for thirty Pounds, which she uses to pay for three operations on Tim, without ever explaining to her husband where she obtained the money. For years, she lets Bob think she received it from a wealthy relative in the United States, but finally she changes her story to another lie, in which she alleges she asked a senile women for jewelry, who, being senile, and not knowing its value, let her have it, so Mary, according to her falsehood, sold it for enough money to pay for the operations. This whole film seems to be a slap in the face of Christianity.
There are numerous other, odd alterations. For example, the scene opens on the cemetery where Marley lies in his grave, on December 23, 1843, having died, according to his tombstone, on December 23, 1842, at age 47. That same day, Bob Cratchit is seen attending church with his wife and two of their children, Belinda and Tim. A woman named Martha later appears in one of Scrooge's visions, as a midwife, to help deliver Tim, but she is never identified as one of Bob's children.
Ali Baba takes Scrooge for a camel ride to the school, where young Scrooge was apparently sold as a school boy for the headmaster's homosexual pleasure.
Scrooge's sister, Fan, is replaced by a sister named Lottie, who removes Scrooge from his boarding school at gunpoint. She later appears to Ebenezer as the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Scrooge later, courtesy of a Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come with his lips sewn shut, sees Tim die when he falls through the ice on a pond, while trying to ice skate like his sister, Belinda, so, when Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning, he spreads gravel on the pond, then calls upon the Cratchits to inform them that the pond has been made unfit for ice skating. He also tells them that he knows Bob is quitting, and he gives him his blessing, says he is quitting, as well, and promises to send Bob 500 Pounds.
What dialect is used? English, with British accents.
Is this adaptation a prequel or a sequel? No.
Is this adaptation supernatural? Yes, this adaptation is supernatural, as is the original.
Is this adaptation "framed"? No.
What original musical numbers and/or dance routines are included?
"Series Music" is by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O'Halloran. Also included are a rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" on a violin.
How attractive is the visual art?
The set and wardrobe for this film appear luxurious.
How creative and instense are the transitions, especially when "the Scrooge" is taken from one time and/or place to another?
The transitions in this film seem very effective.
What nap-of-the-earth footage, if any, is included? There is at least one aerial shot, when the scene opens on the streets of London, on the morning of December 24th, 1843.
What use is made of background extras? There seem to be plenty of background extras, in the streets of London, and in factory, mine, and disaster scenes.
What is the most remarkable thing about this adaptation?
The most remarkable thing about this adaptation is, perhaps, how gloomy and un-Christian it seems. There is no Fezziwig Christmas Ball. There is no party at Fred's. There is no forgiveness from any of the Cratchits. Only spirits summoned by an unforgiving woman scorned.
What extras are included on the DVD? [NOT APPLICABLE]
Test your knowledge of this film by taking this quizz:
Quiz 1 of T.B.D.
Quiz 2 of T.B.D.
Quiz 3 of T.B.D.
Quiz 4 of T.B.D.
Quiz 5 of T.B.D.
Quiz 6 of T.B.D.
Quiz 7 of T.B.D.
Quiz 8 of T.B.D.