Over the years many a Christmas film or special has come out. Some have become classics, while others are completely forgettable. In the Mayer household, we have films and specials that fall into both categories. However, there is one film that stands out from all the rest as the favourite of the head of the household, and that is ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.
The Muppets are a staple of my childhood. From Kermit the Frog appearing on Sesame Street, to Fraggle Rock, to The Muppet Show itself, Jim Henson’s creations carry some of my fondest moments. Coupling that with perhaps Charles Dickens most famous work was an imaginative stretch way back in 1992, and one that has become synonymous with one of the best portrayals of Ebenezer Scrooge ever committed to film.
When you are watching a film that features The Muppets, you know you are going to get a few things. First off, there are going to be songs. While never considered a musical, a Muppet film will have multiple short songs throughout. Secondly, there is going to be some over the top silly comedy, a staple of a franchise that features a bear that is a comedian. Finally, you are going to get a film that has some genuine touching moments, and that is definitely at the forefront of ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’.
All of your favourite Muppets are here, from Kermit to Miss Piggy, to Fozzie Bear to Gonzo and Rizzo, albeit in smaller roles than you may be used to, as the real star of this film is and always has been the wonderful turn by Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.
Michael Caine, all in the span of just over an hour, manages to be vile, hateful, scared, shocked, remorseful, repentant and spectacularly manic all leading up to a wonderful turn as a man full of life at the end. While the idea of all of this happening as a result of interactions with various Muppets, the end result is just amazing.
The overall filming of ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is a great blend of actual dialogue from Dicken’s written story along with slight adaptations involving The Muppets themselves, like having Gonzo portray Charles Dickens and having him narrate the film at times.
Having just watched this film again this past weekend, the last thing that I really want to touch on are the songs. I once again found myself randomly singing along with the various songs during the film, from Kermit’s “One More Sleep ’til Christmas” to “Marley and Marley” sung by Statler and Waldorf all the way to Michael Caine singing “Thankful Heart” after his change of mind.
In the long list of Christmas specials, for me personally, ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ is at the top of the list, and is a shining example of how even in a film starring a series of puppets, your heart can be touched.
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