Thursday, December 24, 2009

Muppets Take On Dickens

Charles Dickens' classic holiday story sparkles with humor and whimsy in the hands of the always hilarious Muppets! Michael Caine stars as penny-pinching Ebenezer Scrooge in a performance that's anything but "bah humbug!" Alone on Christmas Eve, Scrooge is visited by ghosts who transport him to his past, present and future- and that's not a pretty sight! but along the way he comes upon poor, kind, humble, Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) and his famly, including Tiny Tim who teaches Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas. Complete with original music and dazzling special effects, this heartfelt holiday movie is exceptional entertainment your family will enjoy for every Christmas to come.

Title: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Release: December 11, 1992
Genre: Family- Christmas
MPAA Rating: G
Based On: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Writer: Jerry Juhl
Director: Brian Henson
Music By: Miles Goodman & Paul Williams
Produced By: Martin G. Baker & Brian Henson
Distributed By: Jim Henson Company & Buena Vista Pictures
Run Time: 89 minutes
Muppet Official Site

There is no other book that has been adapted quite as much as Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol and yet there always seems to be a way to make a fresh unique version and none more so than The Muppet Christmas Carol. This first Muppet film to be made after Jim Henson’s death as well as his son Brian Henson’s directing debut but it certainly doesn’t show it. “The idea of putting the Muppets in a Dickensian, which is a very dark world in a Dickensian London, it seemed that that was going to be the dynamic of the picture all the way through. The light irreverent tone of the Muppets crashing with the heavy tone of Dickens.”

Michael Caine is such a wonderful actor and according to Brian Henson, he was one of the first choices for the part. I’m honestly not sure if it’s because of his performance or because it’s him and I’ve always liked him as an actor but when Scrooge starts to cry I couldn’t help but tear up myself! Kermit is easily my second favorite character (he plays Bob Cratchit) in this film but there are quite a few original Muppets in the film too. Most of those such as the Ghost of Christmas Past, I found to be quite creepy looking (actually the Ghost of Christmas Future won’t be winning any beauty contests either) but I just love the voice (Jessica Fox) for it. According to the director, this puppet was probably one of the most difficult ones in the entire film since she was filmed in a tank of baby oil (but eventually changed to water) however, it did pull off a very ethereal look. The Ghost of Christmas Present is the absolute best character though. He’s a huge, jolly, and very fun character and his song Feel’s Like Christmas is my second favorite in the film.

Paul Williams did an incredible job writing the songs for this movie, especially the first number Scrooge, One More Sleep till Christmas, Thankful Heart (performed wonderfully by Michael Caine whose exuberance is what makes it so special), and Feels Like Christmas. How these songs haven’t become more popular is beyond me. The other composer Miles Goodman did an equally good job writing the evocative score of the film too. His work in this film has “well-known Christmas carols sprinkled all through it” but a good bit was original material and I really liked it.
Compared to any other Muppet movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol looks a bit more like Muppet Treasure Island since they both have the same production, set, and photography designers. However, the similarities end there since “by having Gonzo play Charles Dickens it allowed Jerry Juhl really to write the most faithful adaptation of A Christmas Carol.” This may be “wacky” adaptation of the classic with all those Muppets running around but a good majority of the dialogue and characters are taken straight from the book. Somehow, the Muppets just work in this film because they aren’t treated any differently than the human actors but they are just different enough that little jokes and comedic pieces (such as when Rizzo falls in a bucket of water and comes out as a ratsicle) aren’t out of place or out of left field. I may not have seen too many adaptations of Charles Dicken’s wonderful story but I have a feeling that this may just be one of the best.

Featured Songs
One More Sleep Till Christmas
Marley And Marley
When Love Is Gone (not in theatrical release)
It Feels Like Christmas
Bless Us All
Thankful Heart

Finale - When Love Is Found / It Feels Like Christmas

Muppet Wikia and Wikipedia articles

2000-Brian Henson (director)


  1. I love The Muppets! Merry Christmas!

  2. Stopping by to say....Merry Christmas.
    Hope you have a great holiday.

  3. Thanks for the great review, Jen. It's been a long time since I've seen this version. I took a poll on Twitter the other day and this one was mentioned the most as a favorite. :-)

    Have a Merry Christmas!

  4. Bermudaonion & Wisteria: Thank you and I hope you had a Merry Christmas as well.

    Wendy: I think I vaguely remember seeing it once as a child but I really loved it this time around of watching it. You must watch it next year! Merry Christmas to you too!

  5. Merry Christmas!

    I loved this Muppet interpretations - I don't think my kids have seen it yet.

  6. Dawn: It's great! Kids will love it even if they won't understand everything until they get older.

  7. Merry Christmas to you. This movie sounds so sweet. :)

  8. Ahhhh!!! Flashback! LOL Man I have good Muppet memories... :)

  9. Toni: It is! I still have a few of the songs stuck in my head lol

    Sheila: Is there such a thing as bad Muppet memories?

  10. We watched this the other day, too. I love the Muppets! I even got a Kermit hat for Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

  11. I can't believe I've never watched this! A bit too late for this year's Christmas, but hey, it's still the season...

  12. I'm a huge fan of the Muppets and this is my favorite Muppet movie. I agree with you that the songs are so well done and so memorable that it baffles me why contemporary artists haven't covered them on their Christmas albums. I watched this about a week ago and it is still one of my favorite holiday movies.

  13. CarolsNotebook: Oh I bet it's cute! I hope you had one too.

    Nymeth: It's such a good movie that I wouldn't blame you a bit for watching it.

    Alex: Michael Caine makes one of the best Scrooge's ever in my opinion.

  14. I love A Christmas Carol and I really enjoy this one. I wouldn't say it's a completely faithful adaptation but I think it's one of the most fun!

  15. I loved this movie. It is one of my favorite versions of A Christmas Carol along with Mickey's Christmas Carol and Scrooged.

    I also loved the Muppet Treasure Island movie. It has the better songs (I have the soundtrack).

    However, Muppets in Space sucked.

  16. Rebecca Reid: I agree.

    Paxton: Mickey's Christmas Carol is the first adaptation of the story I ever saw and I loved it! Muppet Treasure Island does have great songs I agree but I refuse to even see Muppets in Space.



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