The movie is a lot of fun and you can't come away not feeling a bit happy after watching it. It's too much fun. Watch it if you get the chance. Who cares if it's Christmas or not. I can watch this anytime."
Straight of the bat this is a classic film based around a classic tale. Like the 'Muppet Christmas Carol' its one of the best versions of Dickens fable around and really gets you in the Xmas spirit. I always loved the title for a start, such a simple idea yet really original in the way its been slightly tweaked.
I never knew that Danny Elfman did the musical score for this either, as I watched this again recently and the film started you hear this typical Elfman score, 'Batman Returns/Beetlejuice' type of thing. You know what I mean...that kind of spooky, gothic, halloween-ish tune accompanied by a young choir to give that crispy old English Xmas atmosphere. These days that typical Elfman score is a bit samey I'll admit but it always works.
The film is so so dated now but you gotta love that 80's look n feel right?. The old 'Gordon Gecko' style high flying business corporate world with its glossy offices, greasy suits and large plastic looking technology hehe. Murray is the perfect cast for this concept, the film was made for him (probably was) as he uses his dead pan, wry, dry stinging humour to really create a sleazy, immoral, disreputable, executive suit wearing Scrooge.
Of course he's not called Scrooge here, the whole film doesn't really mention or use any wording that refers to the old tale (well if you don't count the in-movie plot). This is merely a clever little recreation using the basic story but setting it in the business world. Whats really great is the effects and general visuals still hold up today, they aren't hugely over done effects but simply utilizing makeup and the odd bluescreen. The three main ghosts really add to the film with their performances. 'The Ghost of Christmas Past' (Johansen) easily being the best for me as a dirty, grumpy, pug ugly NY cab driver who shouts abuse at other road users, smokes, probably drinks and generally acts as if he's just sobering up.
'The Ghost of Christmas Present' (Kane) is close behind with her fantastic performance as a sort of bitchy, spoilt, pixie sized fairy with violent tendencies. Despite her delicate appearance in a kind of little girls halloween pink fairy costume complete with tiny wings and lots of sparkly glitter, she acts like a bully. The swing from softly spoken fairy to a swift kick in the balls is quite amusing if childish.
'The Ghost of Christmas Future' is a nice bit of visualisation and simple effects. A large 'man in a suit' approach with some puppet work and a TV screen for a face, to make him seem more modernised I guess. Didn't really see enough of this guy I reckon and he could of been a bit more creepy really, but the sequence where his large hooded face looms up behind 'Frank' across his multiple TV screens is brilliantly done. There he looked good.
The best ghost visually is probably 'Lew Hayward' who is 'Frank's' old boss who comes back to warn him of his pending situation. A great bit of makeup and prosthetic work which really does look real haha loved his snapping arm moment complete with plumes of dry dusty decomposition.
Alongside many other quirky characters there is Glover as 'Brice Cummings' who epitomises the image of an 80's office type and complete arse kissing suck up, love it!. You know he afters 'Frank's' job and that makes him such a good character.
The end to the film does get a bit too vomit inducing for me, never really liked how it all gets so mushy and almost turns into a 'behind the scenes' piece. 'Frank' breaks the fourth wall in the end and it kinda spoils the film even though its a unique thing to do in a major movie. Up to the very end the film is really enjoyable and chock full of spine tingling atmosphere with great performances, its just a shame the finale goes off track...in my opinion.
'Yule love it!'
"The spirits will move you in odd and hysterical ways."
Scrooged is at times funny, but not as funny as it needs to be, or as funny as I expected it to be. Still I managed to get a certain satisfaction out of watching Bill Murray play the "Scrooge" character of Frank Cross. With anyone else in that role, I don't think I would have been able to like the film at all. With Murray, the movie is at least entertaining because watching Murray is always entertaining.
The film follows the same plot as A Christmas Carol, just modernizing it and switching the characters to fit into the modern storyline a little better. Frank Cross is a selfish TV executive. He is a jerk in every way possible; forcing a mother to stay late when she has to take her mute son to the doctor and declining his brothers Christmas dinner invitation yearly. He then is met by the ghost of his old boss that tells him that three ghosts are going to visit him. The two ghosts that talk are pretty annoying and in no way help the movie at all, which they should have.
You could do a lot worse when it comes to Christmas movies and this one deserves a look. It merits a watch ever two or three Christmas's, but in no way is it ever going to become a holiday tradition in my household. It's a decent retelling of a story that, I guess, needs to be told a million times. This isn't the best version of it, but it certainly isn't the worst either.
Richard Donner is known most of his 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Superman' films. High level actions films in other words. So I was a bit surprised when the end credits started to roll and there came Donner's name out. Director and producer. Well, this tale of Charles Dickens' novel 'A Christmas Carol' has been adapted sooo many times on film and television. Donner's outlook is a bit more "modern" (the film was released back in '88) with Bill Murray in the lead. But Murray is not the one that caught my attention and high praise... I'll reveal the name later on.
Francis Cross (Murray) is a egotistical executive at a television company. He's got everything a man wants. Fame and fortune. But along with that he has become cold-hearted and cruel. His concentration on his work has made him lose his "one true love" and alienated him from his family. He overworks his staff and fires people on Christmas day. So he ain't such a nice guy. It's time for three ghosts (well four if you count his former boss) to appear and teach him a lesson.
'Scrooged' has not aged well, that's for sure. The effects and the makeup ain't that good looking anymore but in my opinion, this movie don't need 'em that much per se. It' more about the story. And the basic idea hasn't changed a bit since Dickens wrote his last words for the novel.
Bill Murray, who was in his (first) prime in the 80's ('Stripes', 'Ghostbusters'), lost himself in the 90's (with the exception of 'Groundhog Day') and made a comeback in 2001 ('The Royal Tenenbaums'), is acting a bit on overdrive here. I've seen this film maybe 3-4 times by now and on this last viewing, I found him a bit annoying at times. But there are several scenes where he gives good performances, funny or dramatic.
BUT (and that's a big but) the one performer that steals the show, eventhough she's seen for maybe 1 minute in total, is Anne Ramsay. I've loved her performances in 'The Goonies' and 'Throw Momma From the Train'. This film was one of her last, as she died of throat cancer in 1989. Her unusual speech is caused by the fact, that some parts of her tongue and jawbone had to be removed in eary 80's when she had cancer for the first time. What a wonderful momma she was.
As a curiosity, I saw that this film also had "Free South Africa" posters on some locations. I'm a fan of the 'Lethal Weapon' series and I remember from the 2nd film that there were similar posters shown there. The film had a South African baddy so I'm starting to think that Donner wanted to give his own part in the fight against apartheid. In 1991 it ended in South Africa...
Well back to the film. 'Scrooged' still guaranteed several laughs, eventhough my multiple viewings. Dickens' novels story will never die and this is a somewhat different adaptation and in my opinion, a successful one. Now when Christmas is just behind the corner, I'd recommend 'Scrooged' as a Christmas film for the more mature audience.
Bill Murray fills the screen with his energy and with every crazy situation he finds himself in he makes you believe that it could actually happen.
Plus as funny as it is, it's really heart felt in the end.
This is a holiday classic.