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Tag Archives: Disney
Every modern adaptation of A Christmas Carol starts out at a disadvantage. No matter the strengths of its take on the material, no matter what unique flourishes or embellishments it adds, no matter how novel its interpretation, the new version will inevitably be compared to its hallowed predecessor, so ingrained in the public consciousness that it has become a part of the cherished lore of the holiday season.
I am speaking, of course, of the classic 1992 film, The Muppet Christmas Carol, starring Michael Caine and Kermit the Frog, in the production that forever proved that Dickens’s work is best realized in shades of well-trained British grump and felt.
Despite working in the shadow of that seminal work, writer and director Robert Zemeckis, of Back to the Future fame, brought Dickens’s story to life anew in his motion-captured retelling of the classic tale. The film stars Jim Carrey as the curmudgeonly Ebenezer Scrooge, Gary Oldman as his put-upon employee Bob Cratchit, and Colin Firth, Robin Wright, Bob Hoskins, and Cary Elwes who, alongside Carrey and Oldman, play multiple roles in filling out the film’s cast. While Zemeckis assuredly puts his own stamp on the source material, in the end, his interpretation is a muddled one.
Cars is easily Pixar’s most poorly-received film. The movie, featuring a world of anthropomorphic automobiles, completely rankled fans of the studio. These detractors view Cars as a rare misstep amidst Pixar’s otherwise unblemished offerings. While movies like A Bug’s Life may have underwhelmed, and those like Ratatouille flown under the radar, no Pixar film has engendered as strong a negative response from the faithful as Cars. With a sequel coming out soon, these doubters have renewed and redoubled their critiques.
Personally, I generally enjoyed the film as a bit of harmless popcorn entertainment, and I believe that Pixar is, in many ways, a victim of its own success. The studio has a remarkable track record of releasing uniformly outstanding feature films, from its initial offering of Toy Story to classics like Finding Nemo to recent triumphs like Up. When held up against these lofty brethren, Cars status as merely “pretty good,” makes it seem overly lacking by comparison. It’s a solid, but unspectacular film, doomed by the company it keeps.