The gloomy old man Ebenezer Scrooge does not understand the joy that the approaching Christmas brings to the townspeople. On the eve of the holiday, the spirit of the late companion Jacob Marley comes to the man, declaring that three guests will wander to the miser before morning. Nightly encounters with ghosts will change the life of a rich man forever.
A Christmas Carol is a novel by Charles Dickens written during a difficult period: the writer was mired in debt, and the previous American tour did not live up to financial expectations. The ghost story originated with Charles on a train when the author was on his way to Manchester. Despite the fact that the idea absorbed the writer, writing was not easy: strikethroughs and notes in the margins of the manuscript indicate that the master worked harder on the short story than on previous books.
Residents of English-speaking countries begin to learn the work of Dickens from childhood: there is a tradition to re-read “A Christmas Carol” every year on the eve of the holiday. Over the years, the story has received many adaptations: the earliest film version of “Scrooge, or the Ghost of Marley” was released back in 1901.
Scrooge: A Christmas Carol is a Netflix animation based on the 1970 musical Scrooge and was nominated for five Oscars. Some of the songs from the tape have been reworked for the cartoon, and new ones have been written: the original composer Leslie Bricusse took part in the creation of the project (the author died in 2021). The director of the new version was newcomer Stephen Donnelly, who managed to create a full-length picture based on the Monster High franchise.
For the new adaptation, the scriptwriters slightly changed the character of Scrooge: the character’s dislike for Christmas is explained by the loss of his beloved sister during childbirth on a holiday, and the desire for wealth is the desire to build a reliable financial foundation. Ebenezer had to work hard even as a child, because his father ended up in debtor’s prison through his own stupidity.
Returning to his bygone youth, Scrooge finds the reason for his loneliness: his beloved Isabelle broke up with the guy because she could not accept his job of collecting taxes. Unable to comprehend the past, the miser closed in his own world. The creators emphasize the image of the character with the help of a dog, the only creature that remained faithful to the owner.
“Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” is another attempt to film a classic that practically does not present anything new. The animation was better in A Christmas Carol (2009), and the characters in Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) and even the voice artists (like Jessie Buckley and Olivia Colman) don’t save. The creators are trying to modernize the plot, but only cope with the technical part: sending a man to distant corners of memory every now and then looks like Doctor Strange’s travels through dimensions. Character design also stands out: Jacob Marley in the new version received yellow glowing eyes, and the spirit of the past is able to change the shape of his own body.
Moreover, this year they already tried to remake the original, adding modern realities to it: “In the Spirit of Christmas” from the streaming service Apple criticized greed through meetings of a PR with three spirits. The writers of Scrooge: A Christmas Carol decided not to take any chances with the introduction of innovations, so their version is unlikely to be remembered for a long time.
The ongoing adaptations of A Christmas Carol are driven less by commercialism than by versatility across generations. The new cartoon has a chance to find fans, but it is unlikely among fans of the original and other adaptations.