Disney's A Christmas Carol Reviews

Top Critic
Keith Uhlich
Time Out
November 16, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
November 10, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dana Stevens
Slate
November 6, 2009
How they made it into this Disney adaptation unprettified is a Christmas miracle in itself.
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Amy Biancolli
San Francisco Chronicle
November 6, 2009
Zemeckis' film preserves much of Dickens' original dialogue and detail while amplifying the utter ethereal strangeness of the ghosts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
November 6, 2009
There's a lot of dark magic in this Dickensian Yuletide.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
November 6, 2009
Want the creeps for Christmas? Then check out the latest version of A Christmas Carol.
Full Review | Original Score: C
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
November 6, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Mary F. Pols
MSN Movies
November 6, 2009
The movie may be yet another retelling of an iconic story, but visually it is often quite breathtaking.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
November 6, 2009
Zemeckis captures all the story's terror, but its pathos has always been the real challenge, and it mostly eludes him.
Top Critic
Kyle Smith
New York Post
November 6, 2009
You don't identify with Scrooge at any point, nor is blatant fakery scary. Picture The Seventh Seal with sock puppets.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
November 6, 2009
A branded piece of shiny seasonal entertainment.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Wally Hammond
Time Out
November 6, 2009
Cinematographer Robert Presley and the design team provide many instances of graphical triumph, influenced by silent cinema.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
November 6, 2009
It's a heartwarmer that doesn't have much of a heart itself.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Randy Myers
San Jose Mercury News
November 6, 2009
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.
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
November 6, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
November 6, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
November 6, 2009
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
Top Critic
Laremy Legel
Film.com
November 6, 2009
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
November 5, 2009
Have we learned nothing from The Klumps?
Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
November 5, 2009
To put it bluntly, if Scroogely, Disney's 3-D animated version of A Christmas Carol is a calamity.
Top Critic
Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2/5
Top Critic
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
John Hartl
Seattle Times
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Claudia Puig
USA Today
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
November 5, 2009
It's nice of Hollywood to go to all the trouble but, honestly, Dickens doesn't need the help.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Ty Burr
Boston Globe
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Keith Phipps
AV Club
November 5, 2009
The holiday spirit feels real, but the film does not.
Full Review | Original Score: C
Top Critic
Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
November 5, 2009
It's eerie rather than wondrous.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Top Critic
Jake Coyle
Associated Press
November 5, 2009
Too much of the film is geared around 3-D wizardry. Unneeded sequences pop up for purely "wow" baiting.
Top Critic
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
November 5, 2009
Robert Zemeckis finds eye-popping, high-tech new life in Dickens' hoary chestnut.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 4/4
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
November 5, 2009
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 | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
November 4, 2009
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 | Original Score: A
Top Critic
Ella Taylor
Village Voice
November 3, 2009
A Christmas Carol is a whiz-bang 3-D thrill-ride with all the emotional satisfaction squeezed out of it.
Top Critic
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
November 3, 2009
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.
Top Critic
Todd McCarthy
Variety
November 3, 2009
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.