Over the next few weeks, we are going to be counting down to Christmas with our favourite Christmas books (and their film adaptations).
Book Review: A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is one of the most famous Christmas stories in the world. It’s been done by Doctor Who, Looney Toons and even Blackadder! Everyone knows the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy miser who works his faithful employee Bob Cratchit too hard and doesn’t pay him enough for him to care for his ill son, Tiny Tim. Whenever anyone mentions Christmas, Scrooge says, “Bah humbug!” The ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, appears to Scrooge and tells him that he will be visited by three spirits, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come, who will show him the folly of his greedy and cruel ways. Charles Dickens is well-known for how lively his characters are, and that is true in A Christmas Carol too. From the miser Scrooge to his loveable nephew Fred, who won’t give up on him, to the long-dead Mr Fezziwig, who threw marvellous Christmas parties, the characters are memorable and fun.
A Christmas Carol may be familiar to lots of people, but it’s well worth reading the original story. It is very short compared to most of Dickens’ novels and is filled with spooky goings on. One of the reasons that A Christmas Carol has stayed popular for so long is because Dickens manages to put sadness, scariness and joy all in one novel. At the end of it all, Scrooge’s realisations about the true meaning of Christmas will certainly get you in the Christmas spirit!
DVD Review: A Muppet Christmas Carol
The Muppets have recently gone through a revival, with two new films making people around the world laugh, bringing the Muppets to a new generation and re-introducing them to those who loved watching them while growing up. However, the Muppets’ older films are still very much worth a watch. Because they mainly used practical effects rather than CGI, A Muppet Christmas Carol has aged well. It is the familiar story of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that visit him, but told by the Muppets, with lots of songs that will get stuck in your head. This is definitely my favourite version of A Christmas Carol, with Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, Kermit as Bob Cratchit and Gonzo the Great as Charles Dickens, telling the story of a miser repenting in a fun way.
The star turn belongs to Statler and Waldorf, everyone’s favourite hecklers, as the Marley Brothers (replacing just Jacob Marley in the original story) who come to warn Scrooge that he is bound for hell and will be visited by three spirits. Lots of other familiar faces fill this festive musical, like Beaker and Dr Honeydew, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Sam the Eagle. There are also plenty of unique Muppets made just for this film, like the three ghosts (the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is very spooky!) My favourite is the Ghost of Christmas Present, though, because he is so jolly.
If you are looking for an adaptation that is funny and accessible while still having the original story, I’d highly recommend A Muppet Christmas Carol.
If you want to know more…
Watch some other film adaptations of A Christmas Carol, an animated version directed by Jimmy. T Murakami called Christmas Carol: the Movie (2001 – DVD LOBBY 791.433), Scrooge (1951 – BOOK ZONE 823.8) which tells more of the story of how Ebenezer turned into a miser, and A Christmas Carol (1984 – BOOK ZONE 823.8) which shows more of Ebenezer’s family and childhood.
Dickens wrote some pretty amazing stories, but has a reputation as being difficult to read. You can try the original novels if you are feeling brave, but film or TV versions can be a fun way to try these classic tales. Try the recent BBC adaptation of Bleak House (BOOK ZONE 823.8), or the films of Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and Nicholas Nickleby (both in the BOOK ZONE AT 823.8).