For me, the cockney Michael Caine became the quintessential Scrooge 30 years ago when he starred in the best version of Charles Dickens’ festive story. Remastered and back in theaters to mark the anniversary, this masterpiece is the best Christmas release this year.
Caine only agreed to play the part if he could play it completely correctly and his surprising portrayal of the haunted miser feels sincere.
The rest of the cast isn’t bad either. Kermit the Frog gives his best performance as Bob Cratchit, the kind father who fears his frog son Tiny Tim (great job his niece Robin) is about to croak.
Muppet master Brian Henson actually enhances the story, undermining the cloying moments with sharp humor, talking vegetables, and exuberant song and dance routines.
Until I saw this movie, I hadn’t realized that Dickens was a Marley short. Here, Statler and Waldorf rattle their chains like the Marley brothers while singing one of composer Paul Williams’ many earworms.
It Feels Like Christmas, a big number for the Ghost Of Christmas Present (a giant jolly Brian Blessed of a muppet) should be playing in every card shop across the country.
- The Muppet Christmas Carol, Cert U, in theaters now
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