The Muppet Christmas Carol (G)
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Caution: potential spoilers.
This came out in 1992, and I feel like I must have seen it sometime in the 90s or possibly the early Aughts, but whenever it was, it was before I started writing reviews. So I finally got around to watching it a few days before Christmas in 2021. By then, nothing about it was familiar enough for me to be really sure I had ever seen it before, but I'm still pretty confident that I did. Actually, one thing about it was memorable: the song "One More Sleep 'Til Christmas", but I know I've seen that on the internet before, so that doesn't prove anything. I should say it's the only song in the movie that I find memorable, and it's probably the only song that doesn't technically advance the plot in any way. In any event, I liked the movie rather well. It was certainly amusing enough, and different enough from other adaptations of the story to not feel like a retread.
Gonzo plays Charles Dickens, who narrates the film, both to the audience and to his friend Rizzo the Rat. And they break the fourth wall occasionally, which is something I pretty much always enjoy. The two of them follow Scrooge (Michael Caine) around throughout the story, though most of the time no one seems to notice them. (So in a way, I'd say they're kind of similar to the spirits. But not really.) As different as this adaptation may be, it's similar enough that I'm sure everyone knows the basic story. Ebenezer Scrooge is a stingy man who hates Christmas, and seems to enjoy foreclosing on mortgages. He employs a number of underpaid and overworked bookkeepers, most of them rats. But the main one is Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog). Scrooge very reluctantly gives them Christmas Day off. And after he gets home from work on Christmas Eve, he's visited by not one, but two ghosts: his former business partners Jacob and Robert Marley (Statler and Waldorf), who warm him to change his miserly ways, and say he'll be visited by three ghosts that night.
One thing I like about the movie is that the three ghosts are all original Muppets, just for this movie. Of course they'll all take Scrooge to witness various events in different times, but no one will see or hear them. The Ghost of Christmas Past is a child with both a very ethereal look and voice. She takes him to see his younger self at different times, starting when he was a schoolboy. (The headmaster is played by Sam the Eagle.) Then we see him at his first job, working for Fozziwig (who is obviously played by Fozzie Bear). At Fozziwig's Christmas party, he meets Belle, whom he begins dating. But on a later Christmas, she breaks up with him because she doesn't believe he loves her anymore. Not like he loves money. Later, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Present, a very jolly giant (who soon shrinks to more or less human size). He takes Scrooge to see his nephew Fred, and his friends and family celebrating Christmas together. Then he takes him to see Bob Cratchit's family, including his wife Emily (Miss Piggy) and two daughters and two sons, the main one being Tiny Tim (Robin the Frog), who is very ill and walks with a crutch, but is very generous in spirit. The ghost tells Scrooge that if things remain unchanged, Tiny Tim will die. Eventually the Ghost of Christmas Present fades away, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows up. As usual, it is a very spooky, Grim Reaper-like spirit who doesn't talk. But it shows Scrooge some bad stuff about the future, before finally returning him home. So, after all this, Scrooge changes his ways and becomes a very good and charitable man.
And I guess I don't need to reveal any more of the story. That's pretty much it. Mostly the same as usual, but of course all the Muppety touches are fun. And while I've spoiled basically the whole story (not that you didn't already know it), I've at least left out a lot of specific things involving various Muppets (mostly Gonzo and Rizzo). So I recommend that if you haven't already seen this particular adaptation of "A Christmas Carol", you should definitely do so. I mean, if you're a fan of the Muppets in the first place. But if you don't like the movie, I say "Bah humbug" to you.