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Western Animation / Christmas Carol: The Movie

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Christmas Carol: The Movie is a rather bizarre adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, made in 2001. It stars Simon Callow as Charles Dickens and Ebenezer Scrooge, Kate Winslet as Belle, Beth Winslet as Fan, Rhys Ifans as Bob Cratchit, and Nicolas Cage as Jacob Marley. It was directed by Jimmy T. Murakami, who also did The Snowman and When the Wind Blows.

The movie opens in live-action, where Dickens explains to his audience that A Christmas Carol really began with a mouse, named Gabriel, who represents the hope of the Christmas season. From there it transitions to animation, where, among his usual nasty deeds, Scrooge sends Old Joe to accost people who don't pay his debts and throws a bucket of cold water on the caroling Tiny Tim, which will lead to his illness and death should Scrooge not reform. To this end, Scrooge is haunted by his old partner Jacob Marley and the three spirits of Christmas in hopes of mending his ways.


This movie contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Distillation: Marley's ghost haunts Scrooge before he leaves work, with the doorknocker scene still happening when he arrives at home.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This version gives Belle a subplot in the present day, where she writes to Scrooge begging him to relent on his debts, and in the Future sequence, Jacob Marley reappears to chain Scrooge like the other wandering spirits.
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: This Scrooge gets a happier ending than usual, as he and Belle make up.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: While in the book, Belle is shown Happily Married with children and living in comfort, here, she has no family, being still heartbroken over Scrooge, and works at a hospital for the poor that struggles to make ends meet. If this isn’t enough, the only doctor at the hospital and the only member of staff besides herself gets taken to the debtors’ prison, and if it hadn’t been for Scrooge changing his ways, Belle would have had to close the hospital for good.
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  • Adaptational Villainy: Scrooge sends Old Joe to arrest his debtors, and throws a bucket of cold water over Tiny Tim, who is standing outside in the frost and only just recovered from pneumonia. Thankfully though, as per his Character Development, he grows out of it.
  • Ascended Extra: Both Belle and Old Joe have more to do in this adaptation. In the present day, Belle is a nurse who helps care for the sick Tiny Tim, and Old Joe is a henchman of Scrooge's who arrests and robs people who owe Scrooge debt.
  • Award-Bait Song: Kate Winslet recorded "What If" for the film's soundtrack, which overshadowed its source completely.
  • Canon Foreigner: A Christmas Carol did not start with a mouse named Gabriel. In the live-action finale, Dickens admits he has improvised that part (thanks to a mouse scaring a lady from the audience half to death in the beginning).
  • Catch Your Death of Cold: Tiny Tim, only just recovering from pneumonia, makes the mistake of caroling outside Scrooge's window, and Scrooge throws a bucket of cold water onto him. This triggers a relapse of his illness, which is what would have killed him if not for Scrooge's ghostly adventures that night.
  • Composite Character: Belle and her boss double as the future debtors relieved at Scrooge's death.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Belle is not only a nurse at a hospital Scrooge tries to foreclose, she cares for the ailing Tiny Tim and is on hand to witness Scrooge's redemption.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The Ghost of Christmas Present spreading cheer is very trippy, done in bright, clashing colors and deliberately limited animation.
  • Disneyfication: Mice are added for comic relief and cuteness purposes, and Scrooge and Belle make up and have a happy ending.
  • Easily Forgiven: Bob Cratchit forgives Scrooge for throwing water on Tiny Tim and triggering a relapse of his illness.
  • Limited Animation: Animation frames are skipped on occasion, and the characters' animation is fairly limited.
  • Living Shadow: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is a towering, skeletal shadowy figure whose robes melt into future scenes.
  • Maybe Ever After: The ending doesn't explicitly show Scrooge and Belle getting back together romantically, but the clear implication is that they will.
  • Medium Blending: The film opens with live-action footage before switching to animation.
  • Mood Whiplash: Any scene that's dramatic or scary has the mice acting cute to lighten the mood.
  • Morality Pet: The two mice, Gabriel and his mate. Scrooge is very fond of them even before his redemption.
  • Pet the Dog: Scrooge can't resist the mice and their cuteness, pets them, and even feeds them.
  • Precision F-Strike: Scrooge curses at his younger self for letting Belle go.
  • Real Is Brown: Almost all of the London scenes are done in very muted shades of brown.
  • Scenery Porn: The backgrounds and visual effects are very well-drawn.
  • Strongly Worded Letter: After her boss is arrested for failing to pay a debt, Belle writes to Scrooge asking for leniency. The mice spend much of the movie trying to get him to read said letter.


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