Saturday, December 08, 2007

Patrick Stewart's "A Christmas Carol"

A Christmas Carol is Patrick Stewart's 1999 adaptation of Dickens' story. Stewart stars as Scrooge. There are reasons we particularly like this version, but there are a few bits we do not like:
  • We think Christmas Past is mean, not good-hearted and certainly not o'er-brimming with the hearty goodwill of the Christmas season. He is trudging through his dutiful oversight of Christmas Day without a touch of joy. I can't imagine a worse depiction of Christmas "Spirit". And the interchange in which Scrooge says, "I didn't know Cratchit had a crippled son," and Christmas Present replies with "You didn't ask," well, we just get this funny picture of Scrooge interrupting Bob at his work and asking, "By the way, Mr. Cratchit, do you have a crippled son?"
  • The Giant Jawa-eyed Christmas Yet to Come.
  • The sound of Stewart working up to his big laughing scene at the end. Gagging, maybe?

We especially like the scenes in which Christmas Present visits the sailors at sea and prisoners in the jail -most versions leave this part out. We've grown to appreciate the downtrodden Bob Cratchit, whose portrayal I did not like at all at first but whose demeanor seems more realistic to me now than other versions I used to prefer, and a more good-hearted Fred than the one in this production would be hard to find.

We like this one. It's well worth owning and annual viewing. We've seen a lot of adaptations, so we can't help but compare them. None of them are perfect, and this one has much to offer.

There's a scene from towards the end of the film here:

12/5/2008: We watched this tonight. The Husband picked it as it's one of his favorites. The Younger Son keeps track of Saskia Reeves' career through a Google Alert. She does make a great Mrs. Cratchitt.

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