Monday, April 7, 2014

Scrooged

Reviewing a Christmas movie in April doesn't exactly put you in the spirit of things but that's what happens when you approach a person's body of work in chronological order.  I had thought I had seen this one before, but viewing it this time around I'm pretty confident I never did.  Or perhaps I was so young that I forgot it all.  Regardless, I was pleased to find how much I enjoyed it this time.

The tale of Scrooge can be a tired one, and sprinkling in Disney characters or Muppets doesn't necessarily help it.  But I appreciated this modernized version of the tale which follows a TV executive who has abandoned his personal relationships for  the sake of his career.  While Frank Cross' life is very similar to Ebenezer's, the variations help it feel fresh.

This movie also contains a pretty amazing cast for the time period.  Besides Murray in the title role, you've got Karen Allen as his love interest, Bobcat Goldthwait as the employee he fires, David Johanesen as the Ghost of Christmas Past, and Carol Kane as the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Lots of actors portray themselves thanks to the fact that this is set at a TV studio and two of Murray's brothers play his father and brother.  I even spotted a lot of lesser known actors in small roles, like Tony Steedman as a waiter (I know him as Socrates in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.)  And I recognized John Glover's voice immediately as one I associated with the Riddler in Batman the Animated Series.  Spotting the cast is a fun adventure in and of itself.

But beyond that the performances are worth it, the story well told, and the effects pretty decent.  If I was only allowed to watch one version of A Christmas Carol every year, I think this one would be it.  I look forward to watching it again come December to get me in the proper mood.

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