Anyone who has been reading Ruthless Reviews faithfully knows that I have already reviewed a half-dozen versions of this Christmas classic. The Muppets animation hybrid is the most underwhelming of the lot of remakes of the Dickens novel that I have reviewed. The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992) takes a slightly different approach to the Carol, as you might expect, and the results are not that watchable, unless you have the age and mindset of one of the little kiddies in Santa Claus (1959). Like the reaction to A Charlie Brown Christmas, I anticipate a firestorm of outrage over this review. (Not really, no one cares)
Don’t get me wrong, this thing is not a total waste, but the prominent human in the movie, Michael Caine is miscast as Scrooge and does this edition no favors. High points in the film included Jacob and Robert Marley, hilariously played by the real curmudgeons in this movie, Statler and Waldorf, the balcony hecklers of The Muppet Show. The Rat bookkeepers in Scrooge’s office were mildly amusing, but were dominated by the insufferable Kermit. The unique narration of the movie by Gonzo and Rizzo The Rat was interesting at times, but could not rescue the overall attempt to match up with other editions of A Christmas Carol. The Muppet effort is not bad enough to be mockable, it is simply not memorable. Kermit Cratchit with crippled miniature Frog Tiny Tim riding on his shoulder and singing did almost make me laugh (or cry), I really could not decide.
Everyone knows the story by now; Ebeneezer Scrooge is visited by 4 spirits, reflects on his past life and likely future, experiences redemption, and then uses his wealth to better the lives of individuals who are in poverty mostly because of their poor decisions. The Marleys were pretty cool, but the other spirits were disappointingly bad, being neither interesting nor scary. The interaction between Scrooge (Michael Caine) and the ghost of Christmas Future was weak and pathetic, and the subsequent scenes of redemption were wooden and unconvincing. Oh, and Michael Caine cannot sing a lick either, adding to the onerousness of this film.
The Muppets character insertion seemed forced, and a glaring example was Animal on the drums at the Fezziwig Christmas party. I mean, really. Christmas Past was an embarrassment and the Spirit of Christmas Present looked like a Mongoloid or at least a slow learner, as he couldn’t find his ass with his hands without the aid of a sky hook. The music was consistently bad, especially the “It feels like Christmas”. Knife.
Hey, this one is for the kiddies, or just for those who are nostalgically attached to the Muppets. As for a Christmas Movie Top Ten, it really does not make it.
- “Very well, you may gift wrap them.” -Scrooge (referring to the eviction notices)
- “Mother always taught me to never eat singing food.” -Rizzo the Rat
- “One might say that December is the foreclosure season. Harvest time for the moneylenders.” -Scrooge
- “Leave comedy to the bears, Ebeneezer.” -The Marley Bros.