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Disney's A Christmas Carol Reviews

Keith Uhlich
Time Out
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Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 4/5

November 16, 2011
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
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The motion capture animation is top-notch and it's hard not to be impressed with what Robert Zemeckis has wrought, even if there's the occasional sense he's pandering to an audience that can't get through a 90 minute story without a few yuks and a chase.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

November 10, 2009
Dana Stevens
Slate
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How they made it into this Disney adaptation unprettified is a Christmas miracle in itself.

Full Review Source: Slate

November 6, 2009
Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
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Zemeckis' film preserves much of Dickens' original dialogue and detail while amplifying the utter ethereal strangeness of the ghosts.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 3/4

November 6, 2009
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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There's a lot of dark magic in this Dickensian Yuletide.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

November 6, 2009
Tom Long
Detroit News
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Want the creeps for Christmas? Then check out the latest version of A Christmas Carol.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: C

November 6, 2009
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
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Does this entertainment achieve a timelessness beyond its exquisite source material? Not even. Yet there's pleasure to be had and relief in feeling the filmmakers didn't Scrooge it up either.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 3/4

November 6, 2009
Mary F. Pols
MSN Movies
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The movie may be yet another retelling of an iconic story, but visually it is often quite breathtaking.

Full Review Source: MSN Movies | Original Score: 3.5/5

November 6, 2009
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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Zemeckis captures all the story's terror, but its pathos has always been the real challenge, and it mostly eludes him.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

November 6, 2009
Kyle Smith
New York Post
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You don't identify with Scrooge at any point, nor is blatant fakery scary. Picture The Seventh Seal with sock puppets.

Full Review Source: New York Post | Original Score: 2/4

November 6, 2009
A.O. Scott
New York Times
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A branded piece of shiny seasonal entertainment.

| Original Score: 4/5

November 6, 2009
Wally Hammond
Time Out
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Cinematographer Robert Presley and the design team provide many instances of graphical triumph, influenced by silent cinema.

Full Review Source: Time Out | Original Score: 3/5

November 6, 2009
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
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It's a heartwarmer that doesn't have much of a heart itself.

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2/4

November 6, 2009
Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
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Disney's excessively hyped A Christmas Carol revels so richly in bringing the Dickensian details to sumptuous life that you wind up forgiving it for possessing a stop-motion soul.

Full Review Source: San Jose Mercury News

November 6, 2009
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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It's like taking a Christmas wreath and dipping it in wax or laminating a Christmas card in plastic. Zemeckis risks creating another Yule ghoul: the Ghost of Christmas Without Soul.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 6, 2009
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
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As the lead character, Carrey's CG-created body is spindly and bent, and he has fun with his vocal performance, turning every word into a strangled hiss.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 3/5

November 6, 2009
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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A Christmas Carol is a worthy stab at mixing old and new, a vintage tale done with some fresh dazzle and a reminder that the movies can still bring the wow.

| Original Score: 4.5/5

November 6, 2009
Laremy Legel
Film.com
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Full Review Source: Film.com | Original Score: C

November 6, 2009
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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Just when you give up on it, usually in the middle of its latest, extraneous, gyroscoping thrill-ride sequence, Zemeckis reminds you that he's capable of true visual dynamism, enhanced but not wholly dictated by the digital landscape he so clearly adores.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 5, 2009
Mary Elizabeth Williams
Salon.com
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Have we learned nothing from The Klumps?

Full Review Source: Salon.com

November 5, 2009
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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To put it bluntly, if Scroogely, Disney's 3-D animated version of A Christmas Carol is a calamity.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

November 5, 2009
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
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By the time A Christmas Carol finishes piling its many shiny presents with their many bells and whistles under the tree, there's no room left for tears for Tiny Tim. Bah humbug indeed.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 2/5

November 5, 2009
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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Favors thrill-ride effects that are more often the star than the servant of the story. It's like "Silent Night" played by Led Zeppelin.

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 2/4

November 5, 2009
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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Zemeckis' movie may lack the emotional impact of the 1951 British version of A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim as a truly transformed and happy Scrooge. Nevertheless, it's a visual treat that respects and artfully enhances its source.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

November 5, 2009
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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A re-telling should either present a resonant or fresh thematic take. This Christmas Carol seems like a pale ghost of Dickens' magical Christmas classic.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 2/4

November 5, 2009
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Carrey's performance as the miserly misanthrope is lost amid effects more typically encountered in theme-park and video-game adventures. (P.S.: Is it just me, or does it also peeve you that the Mouse House claims proprietary rights on Dickens' title?)

Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer | Original Score: 2/4

November 5, 2009
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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It's nice of Hollywood to go to all the trouble but, honestly, Dickens doesn't need the help.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 3/4

November 5, 2009
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
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Shockingly, the new film turns out to be very good, at times close to brilliant: a darkly detailed marvel of creative visualization that does well by Dickens and right by audiences -- when it's not trying to sell them a theme park ride.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3/4

November 5, 2009
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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It's eerie rather than wondrous.

Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch | Original Score: 2/4

November 5, 2009
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
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Too much of the film is geared around 3-D wizardry. Unneeded sequences pop up for purely "wow" baiting.

November 5, 2009
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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Robert Zemeckis finds eye-popping, high-tech new life in Dickens' hoary chestnut.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

November 5, 2009
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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The story that Dickens wrote in 1838 remains timeless, and if it's supercharged here with Scrooge swooping the London streets as freely as Superman, well, once you let ghosts into a movie, there's room for anything.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 4/4

November 5, 2009
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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By Fezziwig, that story still works and tugs at the heart. It would even if each ghost's visit weren't scored with overly-suitable Christmas carols.

Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

November 5, 2009
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
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Disney's A Christmas Carol is a marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie, and the miracle is that it goes right back to the gilded Victorian spirit of those black-and-white films of yore.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: A

November 4, 2009
Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York
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The biggest surprise of Carol is that this frustrating auteur, so often in thrall to his digital palette, here uses it to freshly illuminate a time-honored text.

Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 4/5

November 4, 2009
Ella Taylor
Village Voice
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A Christmas Carol is a whiz-bang 3-D thrill-ride with all the emotional satisfaction squeezed out of it.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

November 3, 2009
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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A Christmas Carol is, in its essence, a product reel, a showy, exuberant demonstration of the glories of motion capture, computer animation and 3D technology. On that level, it's a wow. On any emotional level, it's as cold as Marley's Ghost.

November 3, 2009
Todd McCarthy
Variety
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Shortchanging traditional animation by literalizing it while robbing actors of their full range of facial expressiveness, the performance-capture technique favored by director Robert Zemeckis looks more than ever like the emperor's new clothes.

Full Review Source: Variety

November 3, 2009
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