I loved this dark and very well written version of A Christmas Carol The acting was wonderful and very well cast. Best version ever. I watched it several times. It was different and much more interesting than previous versions. Loved it!
This is a great remake of the story. Coming from the same people who brought you Taboo of course it is bleak and grimy. As it should be. It SHOULD be difficult to watch. That is what gives the story its impact.
Looks like the people complaining are the ones who cant stomach anything withThis is a great remake of the story. Coming from the same people who brought you Taboo of course it is bleak and grimy. As it should be. It SHOULD be difficult to watch. That is what gives the story its impact.
Looks like the people complaining are the ones who cant stomach anything with any more depth than what you get from Disney.
Its certainly not the best incarnation of it, but the depth and darkness to it makes for a intriguing take on this Christmas classic.…Expand
A darkly magical realist retelling that isn't for kids
Written by Steven Knight and directed by Nick Murphy, this latest adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella eschews the sweetness of previous adaptations and deconstructs the thematic foundations of the novella itself. Fans of theA darkly magical realist retelling that isn't for kids
Written by Steven Knight and directed by Nick Murphy, this latest adaptation of Charles Dickens' 1843 novella eschews the sweetness of previous adaptations and deconstructs the thematic foundations of the novella itself. Fans of the original have taken issue with some of the changes (such as the reformulation of Scrooge from misanthrope to villain, the depiction of child sexual abuse, and the joyless nature of the Cratchit family), and certainly, some of these complaints are justified. On the other hand, the attempt to ground the whimsical nature of the original in something more akin to psychological realism is, for the most part, very well-handled. But the last 30 seconds are VERY ill-advised.
The first thing that jumped out at me was the aesthetic, particularly Si Bell's cinematography, which avoids primary colours as much as possible, instead casting the world in blacks, greys, browns, and off-whites. Interiors punctuate these shadows with the teal and orange glow of the fireplaces, and overall the show's palette is extremely muted, as it should be. In this sense, the opening scene, featuring an ominous raven and a child urinating on Marley's grave, tells us just how unique the visual template is.
The most aesthetically impressive sequence comes in the last episode; as Scrooge stands in his office, he looks up and the ceiling has become a layer of ice. Then someone falls through the ice and seems to float in the air – we're actually underneath the ice layer, and the person who has fallen through is drowning. It's a haunting image. There's also a lovely shot in the second episode – as Scrooge relives a moment from his childhood, we see his father (Johnny Harris) threaten to beat him as he cowers on a bed. However, although it is the adult Scrooge we can see, the shadow he casts is that of a child.
Thematically, the show covers some of the same ground as the novella. For example, Scrooge brilliantly deconstructs the concept of gift-giving and then goes on to pick apart the very notion of Christmas cheer, in a speech that represents some of Knight's tightest writing; "How many Merry Christmases are meant and how many are lies? To pretend on one day of the year that the human beast is not the human beast?" In a subsequent scene, he relives the origins of this philosophy, as his father tells him, "every man, every woman; they're all beasts who care only for themselves."
Where this adaptation breaks from the novella is in the depiction of Scrooge himself. Usually, a curmudgeonly old misanthrope, here, he has been refashioned as an outright villain. A manipulative asset stripper, he is complicit in the deaths of numerous factory workers and miners, a man who goes out of his way to be nasty to people, and whose treatment of Cratchit is almost fetishistically perverse. And that isn't even to mention his abuse of the power his wealth affords him, using it to compel people to demean themselves for his curiosity.
Dickens' Scrooge is not an irredeemable character, but the Scrooge of the show is, which necessitates that the joyful catharsis found in Dickens be reformulated. And the absence of such catharsis is precisely the point; this Scrooge understands that redemption won't do anything to erase his past deeds, which is a kind of psychological verisimilitude not usually found in this tale. Depicting Scrooge as worse than usual allows Knight to build organically to a more downbeat, but so too more realistic ending that's far more in tune with our own cultural milieu than the optimism found at the conclusion of Dickens's tale.
On a much more practical level, the pacing of the show is very poor. The Ghost of Christmas Present only appears to Scrooge at the top of the second hour; he then takes that entire hour and about 20 minutes of the last hour. The Ghost of Christmas Present gets about 20 minutes and the Ghost of Christmas Future no more than 10 or so. This has the effect of making the first hour seem unending and the last hour seem rushed. Another issue I have is the design of the Ghost of Christmas Future. See the awesome Death-like figure on the poster? Don't get too attached to him because he never appears in the show, not once. The Ghost of Christmas Future is a guy wearing a long black coat and a black hat, with his mouth sewn shut…and that's about it.
And then there's final 30 seconds. I have no idea what they were going for with this ending, but it makes little contextual sense, it's patronising, incredibly preachy, and…just wrong, both thematically and tonally.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this adaptation, which is dark both literally and figuratively. It's an altogether more realistic version of the story, one more in tune with our cynical times, and for that, Knight should be commended. But the changes are significant, and a few don't work. In this sense, I'm honestly not surprised it got such a mixed reaction.…Expand