A Christmas Classic: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Matt Brown | Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Every Christmas season comes along with a decision that holds within it the power to make it a time to remember or an experience that you wish you could forget. Sugar plums dancing, St. Nick HO HO HO-ing and Christmas caroling are all vital components to a successful yuletide season but in this modern age I dare say that we must add one more box to our holiday checklist, that of the Christmas eve movie.
Now this is not a choice to be made lightly, there are many Christmas movies and all have merit, all have their place: “Elf,” “A Christmas Story,” “Bad Santa.” But to me there will never be a movie made that can usurp the Christmas eve throne of the “Muppet Christmas Carol.”
“Muppet Christmas Carol” combines everything you love about the story: Scrooge, ghosts, tender moments with the Muppets we know and love like Beaker, Animal, Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo, even Statler and Waldorf. Kermit and Michael Caine give the performances of a lifetime as Bob Cratchit and Ebenezer Scrooge respectively with seamless give and take that shows why they have been two superstars of the acting world for their entire professional careers.
The Muppets add a fantastic twist to this classic tale with unforgettable songs and hilarious moments which, added with flawless interaction between the human actors and their less than biological co-actors, actually have you believing that the Muppets are a part of this world. The Great Gonzo knows the story like the back of his hand narrating as Charles Dickens and Rizzo adds enough doubting and side comments to keep him guessing and the audience laughing. Their antics as they attempt to follow Scrooge on his journey through time and space to save his Christmas spirit are flat out hilarious whether you are 5 or 55. The rats combine to make a diligent work force under Scrooge despite the chilled conditions of the office and the ice-skating penguins may be the highlight of the opening song and credits.
The plot is basically identical to the one we all grew up with, know and love but with plenty of Muppets to make it approximately a bajillion times better. The Ghost of Christmas past takes him to see Sam the Eagle, his old school teacher, and also Fozzy Bear, owner of Fozzywig’s Rubber Chicken Factory, famous for his Christmas soirees where Scrooge had his first job. From there he meets the ebullient ghost of Christmas Present who wastes no time inviting him to “Come in and know me better man!” Scrooge then proceeds to travel through Christmas celebrations and I’ll just leave you with this: at some point Rizzo is dancing on a turkey.
The third and final ghost is actually pretty frightening for a Muppet creation and this Ghost of Christmas Future shows Scrooge what will happen if he doesn’t change his ways. I won’t ruin the ending for you but I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that you, reader, may know what comes next. But if you have not seen the movie you have no idea the joyful Christmas ride that you are missing.
Ladies and gentlemen, do yourself a favor this Holiday season. This Christmas eve, curl up with your mom, dad, siblings or dog, pop in the “Muppet Christmas Carol” and get caught up in the joy of the season. Christmas is a magical time that only comes once a year, give your all, love your all and Merry Christmas to all, to all … a good night.