The Hollywood Reporter‘s Stephen Zeitchik reported this morning that Robert Zemeckis and Jim Carrey‘s A Christmas Carol, the 3D motion-capture pic opening Friday (11.6), “is a faithful retelling (in tone and dialogue) of the Dickens classic” and “a technical marvel, uncannily beautiful and attentive to detail. But narratively, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s visit to his past, present and future feels less compelling.
“Some of the biz and media people we talked to at Wednesday’s screening weren’t showing overwhelming support,” Zeitchik writes. “The buzz was of a masterful filmmaking feat that’s nonetheless lacking in charm. (The movie has its dark moments, and while it’s not like we wanted easy uplift, it still feels like only a wonderfully constructed series of set pieces without the emotional and storytelling swells you’d want from a story like this.)
“Meanwhile, the kids — or at least the kids sitting behind us — could be heard registering several times that it was ‘scary.’ Which is fine if your movie is Paranormal Activity and your target audience is 16-year-olds, but it’s less encouraging if your movie is a holiday tale and your target audience is 8-year-olds.
I’m ignoring the paragraph that suggests that a film filled with wintry snowfall moments might have a problem coming out in early November with jacket-and-sweater only just beginning…that stuff doesn’t matter.
“:If Disney did manage to turn the film into a hit, then it would validate Zemeckis — who, strangely, sees this brand of motion-capture filmmaking as the future of the movies (after Beowulf two years ago failed to do same). And it would reinforce the 3D-first strategy increasingly adopted by studios. There’s also a comeback story for Jim Carrey, who’s had two consecutive live-action underperformers.
“But the fact that there’s so much riding on it also has is downside. If it’s not a hit, some of these ideas/people could be…well, Scrooged.”
Which reminds me that the finest Christmas Carol ever made — the 1951 British version with Alistair Sim — has a Bluray version coming out on 11.3