ANIMATION; 1hr 36min
VOICES BY: Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman
Happy days: from left, Scrooge and Tiny Tim
Even those underwhelmed by animation should be bowled over by the opening of film-maker Robert Zemeckis’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’s 1843 novella — especially in 3-D. A Christmas Carol, Zemeckis-style, is a mind bender for the modern age with its feet planted firmly in the past. The motion-capture detail is as precise as calligraphy and when the transformative Christmas Eve haunting of emotionally cauterised skinflint Ebenezer Scrooge (voiced by Carrey) begins, each ghost (also Carrey) is a bone chiller. Christmas Past is as horribly magnetic as a naked flame, Christmas Present is jovially relentless and the spectre of Christmas Yet to Come is as forbidding as death.
They’re not a sight for little children, but Scrooge deserves them all. He awakens on Christmas morning a permanently changed man and sets about making amends to his forgiving nephew Fred (Firth) and his kindly clerk Bob Cratchit (Oldman). The miser has learned his lesson; what this translation of his story has to teach us is how stupendous and freeing technical expertise can be.