Mixed or average reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 32
  2. Negative: 2 out of 32
  1. 100
    An exhilarating visual experience and proves for the third time he's (Zemeck) is one of the few directors who knows what he's doing with 3-D.
  2. A marvelous and touching yuletide toy of a movie.
  3. As beautiful as the animation is, Zemeckis' real masterstroke is combining it with a loyalty to Dickens' story.
  4. The unspoken theme underlying Dickens’s prose--that the money-grubbing Ebenezer is conversing with semblances of his own self--finds near-perfect cinematic expression through Carrey’s efforts.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A ghost story, a bustling action-adventure and an example of the comedy tour-de-farce, in which the star validates his virtuosity by appearing in a plethora of funny disguises.
  6. 75
    Could there possibly be anything left to gain from yet another adaptation of Charles Dickens' tale about crabby old Ebenezer Scrooge and his life-changing encounter with three ghosts on Christmas Eve? In the case of Disney's A Christmas Carol, the answer is a surprising, resounding yes -- at least so far as the IMAX 3D version goes.
  7. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    If some of the animation overdoes it, a lot of it is downright gorgeous. Few images this year have followed me home like the Ghost of Christmas Past, here imagined as a bright-flamed candle with the face of a child. It flickers. It whispers. It flies.
  8. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Shockingly, the new film turns out to be very good, at times close to brilliant: a darkly detailed marvel of creative visualization that does well by Dickens and right by audiences - when it’s not trying to sell them a theme park ride.
  9. 75
    There's something to be said for the power of a classic, even if it has been given an imperfect makeover.
  10. This time, though, Zemeckis has another technical trick up his sleeve – 3-D – and for once the gimmick succeeds.
  11. 70
    A Christmas Carol -- I mean the source material, without a corporate possessive attached to it -- remains among the most moving works of holiday literature, and Mr. Zemeckis has remained true to its finest sentiments. He is an innovator, but his traditionalism is what makes this movie work.
  12. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Nearly every line of dialogue in this adaptation of A Christmas Carol comes directly from the story. What interpolations there are have to do with juicing up the transitions between scenes with unnecessary, but not obnoxiously intrusive, action.
  13. 67
    Carrey’s Scrooge is deliciously pinched and credible. As, indeed, is this film -- that is, when it feels like Dickens and not a theme park ride.
  14. Jim Carrey is good as Scrooge. There’s surprisingly little shtick in his performance.
  15. Like a dime-store holiday card, this Christmas Carol is well-crafted but artless, detailed but lacking soul.
  16. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    It’s always a good story, this time told more creepily than usual. Good, but not as good as The Muppets’ Christmas Carol, Scrooged, Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol or some great, classic live action classic versions.
  17. Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol is, in its essence, a product reel, a showy, exuberant demonstration of the glories of motion capture, computer animation and 3D technology. On that level, it's a wow. On any emotional level, it's as cold as Marley's Ghost.
  18. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Gary Oldman pulls off his own hat trick, playing both noble Bob Cratchit and sickly Tiny Tim, as well as Scrooge's late partner, Marley, who haunts the miser in fluorescent green.
  19. 50
    Unless the director was aiming for a Victorian "Black Christmas," though, he overshot his mark
  20. Visually immersive but emotionally uninvolving.
  21. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    This Christmas Carol seems like a pale ghost of Dickens' magical Christmas classic.
  22. A fable that is by turns antic, scary, sweet and, in the end, slightly soulless. In other words, it's a heartwarmer that doesn't have much of a heart itself.
  23. It's eerie rather than wondrous.
  24. Reviewed by: Ella Taylor
    A Christmas Carol is a whiz-bang 3-D thrill-ride with all the emotional satisfaction squeezed out of it.
  25. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Shortchanging traditional animation by literalizing it while robbing actors of their full range of facial expressiveness, the performance-capture technique favored by director Robert Zemeckis looks more than ever like the emperor's new clothes in Disney's A Christmas Carol.
  26. 50
    Zemeckis captures all the story’s terror, but its pathos has always been the real challenge, and it mostly eludes him.
  27. 50
    The holiday spirit feels real, but the film does not.
  28. Zemeckis tries to juice things up by staging numerous chase scenes up and around London, but do we really need "A Christmas Carol: The Action Picture"?
  29. Either you cotton to Zemeckis’ motion-capture aesthetic or you don’t: To me, it seems like an awful lot of effort for an insignificant payoff. But it appears that the filmmaker is stuck on the technique – at least until holographic movie technology comes along.
  30. The 3-D film is flat, the CGI-enhanced characters oddly waxen. In the center of the action is Jim Carrey -- or at least a dead-eyed, doll-like version of Carrey -- playing Scrooge, the ghosts, a younger version of himself, and probably a dozen other parts. As a general rule of thumb, one Jim Carrey is plenty for any movie.
  31. What are in very short supply, though, are the central chords of Dickens' carol: Crachit's generous spirit, Tiny Tim's sad plight, Scrooge's emotional arc as he finds his humanity. Oh, the scenes are there amid the action, but they are fleeting. By the time A Christmas Carol finishes piling its many shiny presents with their many bells and whistles under the tree, there's no room left for tears for Tiny Tim. Bah humbug indeed.
  32. This sad excuse for family entertainment tries to enshrine a classic while defacing it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 120 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 40
  2. Negative: 6 out of 40
  1. Sep 29, 2011
    "A Christmas Carol" is a exhilarating Christmas movie that joyful remakes the original book into a marvelous interpretation.
  2. Nov 27, 2011
    I have heard the story of A Christmas Carol numerous times, but this adaption of the story is the greatest by far. It is darker than you would expect.
  3. Nov 23, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Very nice film. There is a lot of special effects, some humor, some dramatization, and mostly old words in the 1500's. However there is always the same thing, the plot and story goes the same thing. Scrooge asked the present ghost about the little boy about death. The future ghost haunts Scrooge, no words. The past reminds Scrooge about his poor life (etc.). But, overall the film is good and Disney really done it. Great job! Full Review »