YMMV: A Christmas Carol


  • Alternative Character Interpretation: For both Bob Cratchett and Scrooge: Is Cratchett just a deadbeat who won't take the time to learn necessary skills to seek higher-paying employment elsewhere? And is Scrooge actually a good guy who took pity on someone like Cratchett because no one else would hire him?
    • Scrooge's anger and bitterness towards Christmas. Given the lifetime of tragedy he's suffered, with nearly ever bad thing in the course of his life happening to him at that time of year, who wouldn't hate the holiday after that?
    • Also the Ghosts in general, is the Past another Good Is Not Nice spirit trying to teach Scrooge about his past, or a Jerkass who really loves to exploit the flaws of Scrooge's past and in some versions show what he could've had if he was not greedy; pushing him away from loving Christmas due to regret, and enjoy it as he/she/it invaded his mind. Or are they just after his money? Tends to depend on the adaptation though, as some versions of ghosts seem more benevolent than others.
  • Anvilicious: But good! (Apparently Dickens even considered "The Sledgehammer" as a title.)
    • While the moral of charity and giving is obvious, more specifically, the novella was meant as a Take That to Thomas Malthus, whose warnings of overpopulation resulted in laws that Dickens hated because he felt they hurt the poor.
  • Awesome Music: So, you've just finished watching the Zemeckis adaptation and the ending credits start to roll. Unless you were paying attention during the opening credits, you probably weren't expecting Andrea Bocelli to suddenly throw down an incredibly epic version of "God Bless Us Everyone".
    • As well as nearly half the movie's soundtrack, especially during the eye popping aerial shots of the town.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The Ghost Of Christmas Future chasing Scrooge in the Zemeckis adaptation.
  • Designated Villain: Scrooge. We're meant to see him as a villain because he's collecting money that he's rightfully owed on Christmas, while the people who owe him plead that they shouldn't have to pay simply because it's Christmas and they've spent their mortgage money on presents. No businessman would stay in business if he didn't collect. He also gives Cratchit Christmas day off work, but only after grouching about it.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Scrooge is dragged kicking and screaming over it when he is shown Tiny Tim's death and his own forgotten grave.
  • Fair for Its Day: Back at the time Dickens wrote this, it was considered highly progressive as it showed the audience that they are obligated to help disabled people to survive and that the idea that people with disabilities should be killed or allowed to die was heartless. However, some disability rights activists today take issue with the portrayal of Tiny Tim as Disabled Means Helpless- essentially a magical cripple who exists solely to elicit pity from Scrooge and the audience.
    • "Spirit of Tiny Tim, thy childish essence was from God!"
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The scenes of people mocking and celebrating Scrooge's death in his Bad Future. Similar sentiments were expressed, especially in Scotland and North England, when Margaret Thatcher died.
  • It Was His Sled: It's supposed to be a twist that the vision by the Ghost of Christmas Future takes place after Scrooge's death, but thanks to how ubiquitous the tale is, virtually nobody is surprised to learn this. Even if one hears the story completely fresh, it's not hard to figure it out ahead of time since all the other visions took place in Scrooge's life.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Scrooge and Marley earn this in the 1951 version. They offer to bail the Mercantile Association out of the debt caused by Jorkin's embezzlement, provided they'll be allowed to buy up 51% of the total stock. They'll only save the company if they can become the company, and both look really pleased about it.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The three spirits make Scrooge himself go through his past to realize how far his actions have gone, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come shows him the consequences of crossing this line. What Scrooge sees, especially the aftermath of Tiny Tim's death, truly horrifies him.
  • Newer Than They Think: As stated in the description, more than a few Christmas traditions were inspired by or received a wider audience because of this story.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Really, anything to do with Marley. He's not exactly a comforting sight to begin with, wrapped in chains and pretty dead-looking as he is; he visits Scrooge in frankly terrifying circumstances, scares the crap out of him, and tells him about the horrific fate in store, which he is already suffering.
    • The Ghost of Christmas Future in general.
    • The death of the Ghost of Christmas Present, who ages rapidly into a corpse. No wonder most adaptations leave this part out.
  • Older Than They Think : Scrooge's plea to Marley's ghost about having all three spirits at once and getting it over with may seem like a bit of modern snark, but this is straight from Dickens.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Happens with many adaptations in general.
    • The Ghost of Christmas Past in particular tends to get hit with this. This could be because the description in the book is virtually impossible to depict visually, other than via some form of animation(either conventional or CGI); the first paragraph of the description is fairly doable, but the second paragraph...
    "... its belt sparkled and glittered now in one part and now in another, and what was light one instant, at another time was dark, so the figure itself fluctuated in its distinctness: being now a thing with one arm, now with one leg, now with twenty legs, now a pair of legs without a head, now a head without a body: of which dissolving parts, no outline would be visible in the dense gloom wherein they melted away. And in the very wonder of this, it would be itself again; distinct and clear as ever."
  • Uncanny Valley: The land from whence Mr. Zemeckis draws his CGI characters.
    • There was some improvement over his previous efforts (The Polar Express in particular), but he did tend to re-use faces for several characters (compare Fezziwig and Bob Cratchitt), and in one scene (in the future, where the Cratchitts are mourning Tiny Tim) the eldest son's face freezes after he's done with his lines.
  • Values Resonance: Part of the reason why this story continues to be adapted to this very day.
  • The Woobie: Bob Crachit.
    • Iron Woobie: Bob is more of this variety as he manages to maintain a relatively positive attitude despite his own personal sorrow.
    • Jerkass Woobie: But the most important sympathetic character is Scrooge himself because Being Evil Sucks.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: This blogger points out that pretty much every version of the story that gets told with existing characters has one in-story character that there's no good fit for, and one actor-character that there's no good role for, so they just squish them together.