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A Christmas Carol (2009)

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A Christmas Carol is an animated 3-D movie adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel of the same title. It was released by Walt Disney Pictures on November 6, 2009.



Promotional poster for the film.

In July 2007, it was announced that director Robert Zemeckis had written a screen adaptation of Dickens' 1843 story. The film utilizes the same kinds of motion capture techniques used previously by Zemeckis in his films The Polar Express and Beowulf.

Zemeckis wrote the screenplay with Jim Carrey in mind, and Carrey signed on to the project. Similar to Tom Hanks in "The Polar Express", Carrey plays a multitude of roles in the film, including Ebenezer Scrooge as a young, middle-aged, and old man, along with the all three of the Christmas spirits that haunt him.

Also in the cast are Bob Hoskins, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Darryl Sabara (from the Spy Kids films) and Robin Wright Penn. Zemeckis, director of the Back to the Future trilogy, has previously stated that A Christmas Carol is one of his favorite stories dealing with time travel.

The film is notably the third theatrical film adaptation of A Christmas Carol released by Disney, the previous two being the 1983 animated featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol and the 1992 film The Muppet Christmas Carol (released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner, over a decade before Disney officially bought the Muppets). Other adaptations by Disney include the 1974 record album An Adaptation of Dickens' Christmas Carol, Performed by The Walt Disney Players (which became the basis for Mickey's Christmas Carol), the 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode "A Christmas Cruella" in 1997, the "Ebenezer Daring" sketch in The Replacements episode "Dick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular V" in 2008, and The Suite Life on Deck episode "A London Carol" in 2010.


SPOILER: Plot details or story follow.

The film opens with Ebenezer Scrooge signing for the burial of his partner Jacob Marley on Christmas Eve. Seven years later, in 1836, in London, Scrooge, a bitter and miserly old moneylender at a counting house, holds everything that embodies the joys and spirit of Christmas in contempt, refusing to visit his cheerful nephew Fred's Christmas dinner party with his family, and forcing his underpaid employee Bob Cratchit to beg to take the day off for his own family. That night, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who is now forced to spend his afterlife carrying heavy chains forged from his own greedy ways. Marley warns Scrooge that he will suffer an even worse fate if he doesn't repent, and foretells that he will be haunted by three spirits that will help guide him.


The first spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Past, shows Scrooge visions of his own past that take place on or around the Christmas season, reminding him of how he ended up the avaricious man he is now. He had spent much of his childhood neglected by his father over the holidays at boarding school until he was finally brought home by his loving sister Fan, who died prematurely after giving birth to his nephew, Fred. Scrooge later began a successful career in business and moneylending and became engaged to a woman named Belle, though she later called off the engagement when he began to grow obsessed with accumulating his own wealth. Unable to bear having to witness these events again, Scrooge extinguishes the spirit.


The second spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Present, shows Scrooge the happiness of his fellow men on Christmas Day. Among them are his nephew, Fred, who playfully makes jokes with his family at Scrooge's expense, and Bob Cratchit and his family, who are just barely able to make do with what little pay Scrooge gives Cratchit. The Cratchits also tend to a sickly young son, Tiny Tim, whose commitment to the spirit of Christmas touches Scrooge, who is dismayed to learn from the spirit that he may not have much longer to live. The spirit warns Scrooge about the evils of Ignorance and Want, which manifest themselves before Scrooge as snarling, wretched, beastly children. The ghost laughs heartily and disintegrates into a skeleton as it vanishes.


The third and final spirit, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, shows Scrooge the final consequences of his greed and even toys with him a few times. Scrooge sees in this future that he has died, though there is more comfort than grief in the wake of his death, the men attending his funeral only going for a free lunch. In addition, Fred is glad to be inheriting his wealth, and Scrooge is even robbed by his former maid, even stripping the clothes he was buried in. Tiny Tim is also shown to have died, leaving Bob Cratchit and his family to mourn him on Christmas. Unwilling to let this grim future come to pass, Scrooge begs to be given a second chance as the spirit throws him into his deep and empty grave to fall into his coffin, which sits atop the fires of Hell.


Scrooge awakens to find himself in his bed on Christmas morning, the three spirits having guided him over the course of one night, and immediately sets out to atone for his sins, making donations to the poor, attending Fred's dinner party, and giving Cratchit a raise to care for his family, allowing Tiny Tim to live. Scrooge spends the remainder of his life a new man embodying the spirit of Christmas itself.

Spoilers end here.

Differences from the book

Although this is one of the most faithful adaptions of A Christmas Carol brought to the screen, it does include several notable differences:

  • In the book, the Ghost of Christmas Present dies, but he just disappears. In the movie, they show him dying at length.
  • Unlike in the book, Scrooge falls into his own grave (similar to Mickey's Christmas Carol).
  • The whole "future" scene with the horse chase and Scrooge becoming smaller is not in the novel. In fact, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in the novel is nearly immobile except for the pointing finger.
  • Old Joe does appear in the novel. However in the movie, he chases a shrunken Ebenezer Scrooge, as well as a nearby rat, with a fire poker.
  • At the end of the Ghost of Christmas Past sequence; as in the book, an emotional Scrooge snuffs out the spirit with his own cap, but then, unlike the text, the old miser is jetted skyward.
  • Unlike the book, the movie doesn't show Belle with her family. (This scene is one that is commonly cut from screen adaptations.)
  • In the book, Scrooge encounters a separate ghost riding a phantom hearse before his visit with Jacob Marley. In the movie, the phantom hearse is moved up to the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come's segment.

Home video releases

Disney released the film on November 16, 2010 as a single-disc DVD, a two-disc 2D Blu-ray/DVD combo, and a four-disc combo pack that includes a 3-D Blu-ray, a 2-D Blu-ray, a DVD, and a Digital Copy. This marked the first time that a movie was available in 3-D Blu-ray the same day as a standard Blu-ray, as well as Disney's first release in the 3-D Blu-ray market. The DVD contained deleted scenes and two features called "On Set with Sammi" and "Capturing a Christmas Carol". The Blu-ray also had a "Digital Advent Calendar" and the featurette "Behind the Carol: The Full Capture Motion Experience".


Voice actor Character
Jim Carrey Ebenezer Scrooge
The Ghost of Christmas Past
The Ghost of Christmas Present
The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
Gary Oldman Jacob Marley
Bob Cratchit
Ryan Ochoa Tiny Tim
Cary Elwes Portly Gentleman #1
Dick Wilkins
Mad Fiddler
Colin Firth Fred
Bob Hoskins Mr. Fezziwig
Old Joe
Robin Wright Penn Fan Scrooge

External links

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Animated shorts
Empty SocksMickey's OrphansSanta's WorkshopMickey's Good DeedThe Night Before ChristmasToy TinkersPluto's Christmas TreeThe Small OneMickey's Christmas Carol • "Jingle Bells, Something Smells" • "The Nutcracker" • "Mickey's Mixed Nuts" • "Mickey's Christmas Chaos" • Operation: Secret Santa • "Oh, Christmas Tree!"
Animated The Nightmare Before ChristmasBeauty and the Beast: The Enchanted ChristmasMickey's Once Upon a ChristmasWinnie the Pooh: Seasons of GivingMickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of MouseRecess Christmas: Miracle on Third StreetA Very Merry Pooh YearMickey's Twice Upon a ChristmasMy Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Sleuth Christmas MovieA Christmas Carol
Live-action Babes in ToylandOne Magic ChristmasThe Christmas StarErnest Saves ChristmasA Mom For ChristmasIn the Nick of TimeThe Muppet Christmas CarolThe Santa ClauseThe Christmas TreeI'll Be Home For ChristmasSanta Who?The Ultimate Christmas Present 'Twas the NightThe Santa Clause 2Eloise at ChristmastimeThe Santa Clause 3: The Escape ClauseSanta BuddiesThe Search for Santa PawsGood Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
Television specials and episodes
Television specials From All of Us to All of YouA Disney Christmas GiftA Disney Channel ChristmasWinnie the Pooh and Christmas TooA Goof Troop ChristmasPhineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!Prep & LandingMickey's Christmas SpecialPrep & Landing: Naughty vs. NiceToy Story That Time ForgotFrozen holiday special
Television episodes Disney Television Animation "Jolly Molly Christmas" • "It's a Wonderful Leaf" • "Miracle at the 34th Precinct" • "Doug's Secret Christmas" • "A Christmas Cruella" • "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" • "Don't Be Elfish" • "A Kosher Christmas" • "A Dog For All Seasons" • "The Worst Holiday Ever" • "Holiday Time" • "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" • "The Blight Before Christmas" • "Cheery Theerlap, Lloyd" • "Pete's Christmas Caper" • "Clarabelle's Christmas List" • "Happy Holidays, Mr. Gruff!" • "A Very Possible Christmas" • "Topper" • "On Whiskers, On Lola, On Cheryl and Meryl" • "Hairy Christmas" • "A Giftmas Story" • "Season's Beatings" • "Dick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular V" • "Stitch and Santa" • "A Phineas and Ferb Family Christmas" • "A Cousin Kyle Christmas" • "Merry Fishmas, Milo" • "The Gift" • "Gingersnaps and Grumpy Snaps / Jollybells"
Playhouse Disney / Disney Junior "A Circus Town Christmas" • "Twinkle's Wish" • "The Christmas Wish " • "The Wind-Up Toy Prince" • "Mickey Saves Santa" • "The Night Before Zipsmas / A Gift For Zooter" • "Flicker Saves Christmas" • "The Ayalas' Christmas Extravaganza" • "The Living Holiday Lights" • "It's a Winter Never Land!" • "A Very McStuffins Christmas" • "Holiday in Enchancia" • "Captain Scrooge" • "Winter's Gift" • "Toby's Christmas Critter / A Very Tricky Christmas"
Television specials The Walt Disney Christmas ShowChristmas at Pooh CornerA Magic Kingdom Yuletide SpecialThe Disney Christmas SpecialMickey's NutcrackerDisney's Christmas Fantasy on IceA Muppets Christmas: Letters to SantaGood Luck Jessie: NYC ChristmasJessie's Aloha Holidays with Parker & JoeyDisney Channel Fa-La-La-Lidays Celebrates a Radio Disney Family Holiday
Television episodes Walt Disney Television "Christmas at the Circus" • "Christmas in Wonderland" • "Refrigerator Day" • "A Roman Holiday" • "Fountain" • "Happy Holidays" • "Heck of a Hanukkah" • "Xtreme Xmas" • "Escape Claus" • "Christmas at the Tipton" • "Christmas Break" • "Killing Me Softly With His Height" • "Present Problem" • "Happy Ha-Ha Holidays" • "A So Random! Holiday Special" • "A London Carol" • "Bro Ho Ho" • "So Random! Episode 18" • "Pair of Santas" • "sANTa's Little Helpers" • "Christmas Story" • "Jingle It Up" • "A Little Elf Esteem" • "A Duncan Christmas" • "Bark! The Herald Angels Sing" • "Merry Merry It Up" • "Oh, Christmas Nuts!" • "Big Dreams & Big Apples" • "Nanny in Miami" • "Fa La La La-A-Rooney" • "Mix-Ups & Mistletoes" • "Twas the Mission Before Christmas" • "silANT night" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays" • "Stan Steals Christmas" • "Merry Miss Sis" • "Secret Santa" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "The Girls of Christmas Past" • "Santas & Surprises" • "Joy-to-a-Rooney" • "Single All the Way"
Touchstone / ABC Studios "It's a Marginal Life" • "Yule Better Watch Out" • "I'm Scheming of a White Christmas" • "Santa's Little Helper" • "'Twas the Blight Before Christmas" • "Some Like It Hot Rod" • "'Twas the Night Before Chaos" • "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas" • "Easy Street" • "Bright Christmas" • "A Very Topanga Christmas" • "Home for the Holidays" • "An According to Jiminy Christmas" • "One Office Party Too Many" • "The Christmas Party" • "Secret Santa" • "Silent Night, Opening Night" • "Stalking Santa" • "Aru-Bah Humbug" • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" • "The Gift of Maggie" • "Christmas Time" • "Light the Lights" • "The Miracle Song" • "Fake Plastic Snow" • "The Nutcracker" • "Two for the Money" • "Holidaze" • "Boom Crunch" • "Cold Turkey" • "How the 'A' Stole Christmas"
A Family ChristmasDisney's Merry Christmas CarolsA Pooh ChristmasDisney's Christmas CollectionDisney's Christmas Collection IIDisney's Family Christmas CollectionDisney's Snowy ChristmasDisney's Princess Christmas AlbumDisney's Merry Little ChristmasA Green and Red ChristmasDisney's Holiday Celebration 2007Disney Channel HolidayDisney Holiday Magic 2009Disney Winter Wonderland 2010Phineas and Ferb Holiday FavoritesMickey's Magical Holiday 2011Disney Channel Holiday Playlist
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