November 6th marks 11 years since the release of “Disney’s A Christmas Carol”. It was the third motion capture project in a row for director Robert Zemeckis, following “The Polar Express” (2004) and “Beowulf” (2007).
Many wondered why we needed yet another version of the classic Charles Dickens story. But bringing in someone like Jim Carrey and having Disney attached make for a dynamic combo. Carrey not only played Ebenezer Scrooge but the three Ghosts as well, and he filmed all of his scenes in a surprisingly short amount of time.
“Disney’s A Christmas Carol” opened to $30 million in North America and over the holiday season totaled $138 million. I saw the film on opening night at a multiplex near me that’s still currently closed: the Rotterdam Square Cinemas. I liked this “CC” but found it to be a bit dark, especially for families expecting an upbeat Disney movie.
That weekend, my review was the first one published in Upstate NY’s Troy Record newspaper. Over the next five years, I contributed hundreds more reviews and special movie preview columns to the paper.
Carrey won the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award for “Favorite Voice from an Animated Movie”, even though he gave motion capture performances that required filming his entire body… and the movie wasn’t technically a traditional animated feature. Until the release of “Sonic the Hedgehog” earlier this year, it was Carrey’s last movie he starred in to earn more than $100M at the U.S. box office.
Zemeckis continued the Disney and motion capture partnership, serving as a producer on 2011’s “Mars Needs Moms”. But when that bombed, the Oscar winning “Forrest Gump” director decided to go back making to traditional movies. I enjoyed “Flight” and “The Walk”. “Allied” was alright. Haven’t caught-up on “Welcome to Marwen” (but didn’t hear great things). And as for “The Witches”, which is on HBO Max right now, well… let’s not even go there.
My standout memory of this “Christmas Carol”: Disney teamed-up with Amtrak for a nationwide promotional train tour. In September ’09, it stopped in Albany, NY. So I hopped aboard to check-out a sneak peek of the movie and get a behind the scenes ‘making of’ look at all the motion capture techniques. It was the exact opposite of ‘Bah, Humbug!’