Welcome to my 31 Days of Christmas movie marathon. This is a feature where I watch a different Christmas movie every day from now until Christmas. The rules are simple: The movie has to be something I haven’t already seen and I must watch at least one Christmas-themed movie a day from now until December 25th. They’ll be some bad ones and hopefully a lot of great ones. Why put myself through this? Because it’s a good way to catch up on a lot of Christmas movies and a good way to satisfy my OCD.
On the 18th day of Christmas my true love gave to me… A Christmas Carol
A catch 22: The trouble I have with Robert Zemeckis‘ films as of late (The Polar Express, Beowulf, and now A Christmas Carol) is that at the start of each one I feel like I’m watching the intro story line to one of the more recent realistic video games. The problem I have with these video games, aside from my proneness to easily become obsessively addicted to them, is that I always feel like I’m trapped inside a Robert Zemeckis movie.
However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Being that I already know the Charles Dickens classic tale through numerous viewings of both the Muppets Christmas Carol and Scrooged with Bill Murray, and the fact that I was watching this by myself in the comfort of my own home, I thought, why not have some fun? Placing one of my girlfriend’s video game controllers and resting it on my lap I began the movie. Now I was ready to play A Christmas Carol, the game.
Now, I know that I am often very easily amused, but I couldn’t believe just how much fun this would actually turn out to be. Here I was maneuvering Jim Carey‘s Scrooge as he flew through the air with the ghost of Christmas past. I was manipulating his attempted escape from the ghost of Christmas future. And I even got to decide when he should let go of a horse-drawn carriage as he skitched along its rear while dragging his feet across the snow-covered cobblestone. The best part about playing this “game” was that I completed the entire thing in less than two hours and didn’t die once. I rule!
Seriously though, I know a lot of people, both cinephiles and average moviegoers alike, automatically dismiss Zemeckis’ recent penchant for motion capture filmmaking as being too gimmicky. Some even say that they wish he would go back to making “real” movies again. As if those “real” movies they speak of have never used any special effects before. I suppose I can see where they’re coming from, yet I have to strongly disagree. Just because someone is embracing one specific style of filmmaking and trying to improve upon it, a style that when compared to the entire history of film is still at its most infantile stage, does not mean that he has lost his touch. Would those same people who criticize him now be criticizing him had he gone on to make 3 more movies in a row featuring cartoons and humans who inhabit the same world after he gave us Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I, for one, think that each one of his new motion-capture films has been better than the last.
But I digress. This version of the Dickens classic may not be the best but it’s definitely better than the average fare that’s out there. It’s also the best video game I played all year.