Thursday, December 19, 2013

Year Two. Day Nineteen: "A Christmas Carol" (1969)

"A Christmas Carol" has always leant itself well to animation. Whether it is the trippy 1971 Oscar winning version or the technically impressive, but emotionally muted 2009 version, this simple tale with its promise of visual treats has been a delicious prospect for many faithful adaptations.

This made for TV version from 1969 has not been as fondly remembered as the 1971 version, not least of all because that adaptation featured Alastair Sim in the lead role - a man who was already acknowledged as the greatest on screen Scrooge of all time thanks to his 1954 performance. Ron Haddrick cannot hope to live up to that example, but this adaptation does have its own unique charm.

The animation style is serviceable, if a little flat. However, if you are as fond of the 1979 animated version of "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" as I am, then you will find plenty to enjoy in the visuals. The voice work is good, if a little over-baked in a handful of moments and the design of the ghosts, particularly that of Christmas Past, are quite striking.

Unfortunately the only terms I can use to describe this version are ones which will damn it with faint praise. It is adequate, it is competent, it is passable. At a running length of 45 minutes it is longer than many other animated versions, allowing the story to have a little time to breathe and even some space for a handful of songs, all of which are performed very well.

While it runs, it never threatens to outstay its welcome and is diverting enough fun until it ends. However, the reason why it is not fondly remembered today is most likely not for any negative aspects of its production - it just is not special enough to be remembered at all.

As easily forgotten as a Christmas turkey in the oven.

"A Christmas Carol." (1969)  3/5

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