Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018: My Movie Recap

Around this time, I commonly see online-reviewers ranking their top 10 favorite and least favorite movies of the year. For the longest time I’ve wanted to do something similar, as I find it a nice way to put a cap on the year and look back on all the highs and lows that came before. However, I typically don’t see new movies until they come out on home video, or instant streaming and as a result, I honestly don’t go to the movies that often … that is unless it’s something special. Usually, I reserve the theater for new installments in a favorite franchise, or something relative to a season, or superhero movies, etc. The thought then came to me, why not just rank every theatrical movie I’ve seen this year, from my own personal least favorite, to absolute favorite … I think that’ll work. I’ll only be ranking the movies I saw in the theater, which means some other really good (and bad) films from 2018 won’t make the countdown. Also, this is my own personal opinion on each film, and each affected me on a different level. I saw 12 movies in total, and here's my personal ranking of each one from least to favorite. 

#12 The House with a Clock in its Walls  

Ever sense the conclusion of the original “Harry Potter” film series, I’ve been waiting for the next great fantasy film based on a rich source material. Strait to the point, I had high hopes for “The House with a Clock in its Walls”, to be that next magical experience … and for me, it wasn’t. While certainly not a terrible movie, there was just nothing about the experience that stuck with me. It all just felt like paint by number fantasy mayhem for little kids. I didn’t feel submersed in the world, I didn’t find intrigue in the characters, the jokes came off as laugh free, and the story was all too easy to predict. 

#11 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom  

To this day, 2015’s “Jurassic World” is the only “Jurassic Park” sequel that’s really worked for me. While it obviously was not on par with the original, it did still manage to hold its own, and I found it better then average. “Fallen Kingdom” on the other hand is about as average as they get. There was admittedly just enough Dino excitement and genuine fun that it passed for a mild diversion, but nothing meaningful stuck with me either. It’s a case of “I had fun once, and quietly forgot about it the next day”. So, not completely terrible, but certainly forgettable, and that’s something that even the weakest of the previous films never sank to. Sadly, it’s the first JP sequel that I felt had absolutely nothing new to offer.   

#10 Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween  

While Goosebumps in general was a staple of my child hood, I found the first movie to be okay at best, but very forgettable. As such, I liked it’s 2018 sequel just a hair more, as it mainly put the focus on my favorite holiday, and it made for an exceptionally decorative Halloween film to watch in October. I’m just easy to please in that regard. The villain Slappy was also a highlight in the first film and thankfully he has an even bigger role in this movie. Even the main character had an arc that hit close to home in a simple but genuine way. I’m probably not going to make a tradition of watching either of these Goosebumps films around Halloween, but this sequel was at least an entertaining, monster filled, October adventure, which is good enough for me.  

#9 The Grinch  

I’ve loved the Grinch my whole life, it’s one of my absolute favorite Christmas tales, and much like “A Christmas Carol”, I’m always open to a new version of the story. With an added CGI makeover, this film version explodes with color, warm holiday designs, and manages to keep the spirit of its source material alive, despite not adding to much new to it. While the film suffers from a lot of padding, it still delivered the goods, gave the principle characters a new spin, and it had its emotional highlights that were refreshingly different from the previous film versions. In short, this latest version of “The Grinch” wasn’t mandatory, but it was still delightful, and just the thing to put me in the Christmas spirit.

#8 Black Panther  

After his thrilling debut in “Civil War”, The Black Panther proves more than capable to hold his own film, not just because of the characters internal struggles, but also the struggles of the main villain. The setting is also a very captivating one, with an intriguing cultural mythology at the center and no shortage of absorbing imagery. However, while this was all around a solid film, I just can’t say I was enraptured by it the same way many others were. My only real issue is that the story was just a little too familiar to me, and the special effects were hit and miss. Still, those were only mild problems with an all-around satisfying new superhero origin film.

#7 Deadpool 2  

Truthfully, the “X-Men” franchise is my personal favorite long running film series, and I’m always excited for a new one, even if the film itself doesn’t excite me. Then again, it gives me the chance to be pleasantly surprised. I for one have some issues reserved for the Deadpool character and his foul sense of hummer, but I'm not going to pretend that "Deadpool 2" wasn't a fun time at the movies either, largely thanks to Ryan Reynolds infectious charm, a strong cast of colorful new side characters, white knuckled action, and no shortage of fan-serves and in-jokes for us long time readers of the X-Men comics. Heck, the film even got to my emotions a little, which I never would have expected from a character as goofy as this. While I didn’t go crazy for the first “Deadpool” movie, I’m happy to say that its sequel was a pleasant little escape, and one that’s held up for home viewings. 

#6 Ant-Man and the Wasp  

Marvels first partnering of a hero and heroine soars … largely thanks to its smaller, character driven stakes, but more to the point is that this "Ant-Man" sequel takes full advantage of its wild shrinking/growing concept. It gives us the creative action set-pieces, imaginative realms, as well as some welcome new twists, and no regrets for going overboard with its comedic potentials. Truthfully, it’s everything I wanted from a sequel to a really good superhero film, and speaking personally … I thought this was even better then the first.

#5 Ralph Breaks the Internet  

Here, in my opinion is one of those special animated sequels that one-up’s the first, takes the characters in a new direction, and the result is yet another solid Disney movie. The animation, comedy and creativity are cranked up to 10, but there’s also great subtext, morals, heartfelt moments and it’s just this perfect package of delightful yet meaningful. Throw in a highly entertaining merger of all the Disney Princesses, a break out musical number in the form of “The Slaughter Race Song”, along with a deeply touching ending and it makes for an animated experience that not only measures up to the first, but it’s just plain wholesome family entertainment. I only liked the first movie, it was good, but this was something special that really hit home.  

#4 Solo: A Star Wars Story  

It’s hard for me not to get excited for a new Star Wars movie on some level, and for the longest time, and in all honesty … I’ve always wanted to just go on a simple adventure with a young Han Solo. While behind the scenes, this film was a production nightmare, I sincerely felt that it turned out much stronger then it had any right to be. The cast was charming, the action fun, the tone consistent, and for me, it just felt like the right film the franchise needed. Ever sense “The Empire Strikes Back”, I felt that every single installment was trying to be the next “absolute best” in the series, while “Solo” is content to just be a small, yet perfectly good film, and for that … I genuinely found myself loving this one.  

#3 First Man  

The Apollo 11 is one of my favorite events in our modern-day history, and it’s a topic I’ve been fascinated with ever sense I first learned of it way back when I was in Middle School. In this film based on the historic event, it focuses solely on the personal struggles and triumphs of Neil Armstrong leading up to the mission. Personally, I thought this was an admirable direction, and it made for an engaging viewing experience. While I can be easily entertained by flashing spectacle, and super-heroes, I’m also enticed by movies that convey a little slice of life. Ryan Gosling shines in the leading role and the experience overall was a very rewarding and emotional journey.   

#2 Avengers: Infinity War  

Weather you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or not, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most colossal, expanded franchises ever to hit the theater, and “Infinity War” was the highly anticipated event that several prior films have been building up to. I’m thankful to say that the wait was worth it, as this sequel surpassed my expectations, and in my view is one of the absolute best of the series … like top 3 easily … actually, it might just be my new #1 favorite. With the largest roll-call of hero's thus far, and an all-out war taking place in several locations, we fans knew this was going to be a spectacle, but there's thankfully so much more to the experience than just the spectacle. Our favorite hero’s felt more vulnerable, and subsequently more human than most previous films. There were also several genuine surprises along the way, and considering this franchises line up, it’s challenging to get surprised. All-around, “Infinity War” was a mega Superhero sensation in every respect of the word, with the highest stakes yet, the grandest ensemble cast, hilarious team interplay, large scale battles, emotional character drama, and a villain to be remembered through the ages.

#1 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse  

I really wasn't expecting to like any superhero movie more then "Infinity War" ... but then came a spider who proved me wrong. Even when Spider-Man movies were at their worst, I’ve always enjoyed them on some level, but none of them could match 2004’s “Spider-Man 2”, which for the longest time was my absolute favorite. Then completely out of the blue comes this animated Spider-Man movie, the first of its kind, a completely original experience with the web-swinger, and it gives my initial favorite some competition. It’s a film that combines bold, human storytelling, with striking animation, solid voice work, and an infectiously lovable cast of various Spider-Man, which all add up to a highly entertaining superhero venture that absolutely delivers all the heart, comedy, action, and a lot of imagination into a perfect whole. While I went into "Infinity War" expecting to like it, this was something unique that got me off gourd, and made a lasting impression as one of my new ... all time favorite superhero movies.

That concludes my recap of theatrical movies through 2018, all around, I thought it was a good year, most films lived up to my expectations, and there were some pleasant surprises. Let’s see what 2019 has to offer next. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

A Christmas Carol (Franchise Review)

        Of all the classic Christmas tails that we frequently return to every year, it’s the novel “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens that has always stood out as my own personal favorite. It's a story of redemption, remorse, regret and the beauty of life all in one beautiful package. 
Over the centuries, it has stood the test of time, is widely regarded as one of the most beloved holiday stories ever, and it’s one that seems to find new life for every generation. There have probably been more adaptions and spin-offs revolving around “A Christmas Carol” then any holiday fable under the sun, and each version has its own distinct spin on the source material. The story in general revolves around one Ebenezer Scrooge, the most heartless and joyless man in London, who hates Christmas, and thinks nothing of others. One magical night, he’s visited by the ghost of his late partner Jacob Marley, who’s soul is doomed to linger in eternal damnation. He conveys a warning to Mr. Scrooge that his soul is just as doomed, but there may be a chance for salvation is he but listen to the morals of three visiting spirits. They are the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, who lead Ebenezer on a magical journey through time, analyze the errors of his ways, and through the experience he discovers the real riches of Christmas. In the epilogue, we get the privilege of experiencing his full reformation, along with the classic line “God Bless Us Everyone”. Personally, no matter what version, this remains my absolute favorite moment from any Christmas story. It’s just a timeless tale, and part of the appeal is seeing how many different film and television productions bring their own unique spin to the story. I’m not going to pretend like I know every single version, but for the sake of this post, I want to cover a basic variety of the many different adaptions. I’ll be giving my own personal incite on select films, highlighting favorite versions, along with versions I personally can’t stand, and will lead up to what I consider the absolute best film version of "A Christmas Carol". 

      I suppose I should start at the beginning, and by that, I mean, when I was exposed to the source material for the very first time. For me, and many kids from my generation, we were first introduced to the Dickens Classic in early 1990's with ...

The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992)

While I’ve never called this one of the absolute greatest versions, it’s still infectiously lovable, and just leaves me smiling from ear to ear every time I watch it. Kermit the Frog and his band of Muppets are a special group of characters that I actually find myself loving more as an adult then I did as a kid, and they really are the appeal that makes this film stand out. While filmmakers are more than capable to just make a good adaption of the film, there’s just something special about seeing all these lovable Muppets in these iconic roles. In general, it’s so refreshing to look back on a film that didn’t overutilized CGI and instead created this magical world full of practical effects, wonderful sets, and it just feels timeless in its own right. This film also features my favorite design of the Ghost of Christmas past, as she resembles a spiritual child, but with a face that’s also kind of ageless. I also love the Ghost of Christmas present, and how he’s actually got a bad memory due to always living in the present … that’s a great idea. Finally, I obviously need to mention Scrooge who in this version is played by Michael Caine. He does a good job playing it strait when acting off of puppets, and while his performance isn’t quite as consistent as other movie portrayals, I do think he’s one of the absolute best-looking Scrooges. He just has that perfect image, presence and when reading the book, he’s usually the one I think about in the role. All around, despite featuring puppets, this is still a warm and humble holiday offering that for me has only gotten better with age.  

With my introduction to the source material taken care of, lets look at the original classic that many say hasn’t been surpassed. 
Now in truth, there have been adaptions of the Dickens classic that date all the way back to a short silent film made in 1901. The first big motion picture adaption was “A Christmas Carol”, which premiered in 1938, with Reginald Owen in the lead role of Mr. Scrooge. It’s all around a faithful adaption, sticks to the novel and is all around a credible piece of early film. While this version has received nothing but praise over the centuries, it’s still not the one that’s taken the title of “The Great Original Classic”. That distinction goes to an early 1950's picture ...

A Christmas Carol” also known as “Scrooge” (1951)

Of all the Scrooges past, present and yet to come, they will all be riding the coat tails of one Alistair Sims in the iconic role. This is it, the one that’s frequently cited as not only the absolute best film adaption, but maybe even superior to the book itself. While staying faithful to the source, this film dives deeper into the character of Scrooge, adds new compelling layers to his back story, and leading the charge is Alistair Sims who absolutely shines in the lead role. While I have my own personal favorite portrayal of Scrooge, this is unmistakably a performance for the history books. There’s no other way to describe it, Alister Sims is just chillingly good in the role, and the main reason that this film stands above it’s 1938 predecessor … at least in terms of popularity. Personally, I think both of these Black and White classics earn their crowns, but I’d also be lying if I said either of them were among my personal favorite adaptions of the novel. Both are great classics, worth looking into, but they’ve just never held up for repeat viewings for me, at least in the same way others have.   

       In general, I think everyone should give the classics a watch, but I wouldn’t call them the best way to be introduced to the famous tale. 
Truthfully, I think the best place to start is when someone is a kid, and with recognizable characters in the roles, kind of like how I was introduced through the Muppets. Over the years, several iconic cartoon characters have given their own spin on the story. One of the first was “Mr. Magoo's A Christmas Carol” which premiered way back in 1962, but I’d only recommend that if you’re a fan of the character. Also, I have to mention the Animaniacs, who have their own stab at “A Christmas Carol” titled “A Christmas Plotz”. This satirical Christmas episode revolves around the grouchy WB studio manager who’s visited by the ghostly characters from the novel, but all lovingly played by our favorite Warner characters. 
The Flinstones took a shot at the Dickens classic back in 1994 titled “The Flinstones Christmas Carol”, which actually had some charm. One of the most original was an episode of "The Real Ghostbusters" titled Xmas Marks the Spot”, which featured it's hero's going back in time, and crossing over with the events of the novel. Then there were lesser specials like "Barbie's A Christmas Carol", and "The Smurfs A Christmas Carol". The animated picture “All Dogs Go To Heaven” had an awful direct to video sequel in 1998 titled “An All Dogs Christmas Carol”, and the less said about that one the better. However, the big one to talk about is the Oscar nominated Disney short from the 80's ... 

Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983)

In truth, I think this is a better version to introduce kids to the Dickens classic then my own “Muppets Christmas Carol”. Seriously, what a great way for kids to be exposed to its incredible source material. As you’d expect, this version features Mickey Mouse and all the classic Disney characters in the roles, and it’s great. Seeing Scrooge McDuck in the role of Ebenezer Scrooge is about as fitting as they get, and all the other famous Disney characters fit right in with the other roles. It gives children a fresh perspective of the characters from the book, and allows them to fully appreciate seeing them in later live action renditions. I especially love how this special is only 30 minutes long, and yet it captures the atmosphere, tone and spirit of its source beautifully. Heck, this short even delivers all the right emotional moments, and that’s no small accomplishment. Bottom line, if you have kids that have never even heard of “A Christmas Carol”, this is a great version to introduce them to it. To call this my favorite Disney Christmas short might be a little too simple, because along with the likes of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, I think this is one of the all-time greatest animated Christmas specials.

      Of course, once kids get their initial exposure, it’s good to seek out a real adaption of the novel. After my own personal introduction with the Muppets, I saw the version that made me fall in love with this timeless tale ... 

"A Christmas Carol" (1999)

Staring Sir Patrick Stewart in the lead role, this TNT adaption has become something of an underrated gem. Speaking personally, this version is hands down my absolute favorite film adaption of “A Christmas Carol”. This was the movie experience that really made me see how genuine, wholesome and timeless this story really is, and it’s the one that I find myself re-watching the most frequently. Aside from getting me hooked on the source material, another ace up this films sleeve is Sir Patrick Stewart as Mr. Scrooge. He’s always been one of my all-time favorite actors, and while there’s still many great portrayals of the character, he still stands out as my favorite Mr. Scrooge performance. I’ll admit, he has some really over the top moments, but he also takes the basic outline of the character and through his performance adds his own layer of dimension and class to the role. When he’s grouchy and bitter, you just see an empty shell of a man with no soul behind his eyes. This film version also features my favorite design of the Ghost of Christmas future, as he’s still a tall, hooded figure, but with bright yellow eyes piercing through the shadows. All around, if your lost in a sea of different Christmas Carol adaptions, and don’t know which one to start with, this 1999 movie is one that I’d recommend checking out. One last detail I love about this version is how it utilizes classic Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and “The First Noel”. It really adds a special flavor hearing those songs, which are noticeably lacking in most other versions. However, there is an exception, and it comes in the form of the musical adaptions …  

      Sense the word “Carol” is in the title, it always made sense to adapt the story into a musical, and the first one to take note of dropped at the start of the 1970's ... 

Scrooge” (1970)
Here we have Albert Finney as the lead, and he's a bit ... theatrical to say the least. Boy oh boy, I’m really not sure how I feel about this one, as there are so many things in this version that I love, yet at the same time it contains so many things I can’t stand. For one of the very first musical adaptions of the novel, none of the songs have ever stuck with me as anything special, or even memorable. Albert Finney is also a little too over the top for his own good, to the point where it hurts to watch him in the role. However, there’s some fairly uplifting scenes, and I especially love this films version of the Ghost of Christmas Present, as he gives Scrooge a figurative drink of the gift of life. The Ghost of Christmas future also has the added detail of a skull seen under his hood, which is a cool touch. Of course, the most unforgettable part of this film is the ending, in which Scrooge is sent to Hell, and its lengthy sequence of him wandering around Satan’s dungeon of horrors. No joke, this ending comes out of no-where, and is at extreme odds with the films initial tone. I can’t even determine if it’s a positive or a negative contribution to the film, but it’s certainly the one element that makes this version memorable. Personally, while this isn’t a bad film, I’d probably recommend skipping this one in favor of other versions. However, if your curious, you may get your fix just to see Scrooge trapped in Hell.

      1994 saw the release of another musical adaption of the Dickens Classic, which premiered as a stage show in Madison Square Garden, and continued until 2003. In the following year of 2004, this very musical was adapted into a TV movie ... 

A Christmas Carol: The Musical” (2004)  

Next we have Kelsey Grammer as Scrooge, and while not one of the absolute best, I think he's kind of underrated. This film stands apart from the others with more of an over the top, tongue and check quality, and as such it’s generally never been ranked among the better installments. This puts me in an odd place, because while this is a very cheesy production, and at odds with the tone of the source material … I personally have nothing but fondness for it. With Alan Menken writing and composing the music, it’s hard for me not to love this one. Truthfully, sense it’s a musical, I feel it has the right to be more colorful and upbeat with its presentation. I for one love the majority of the songs, I love the breathless energy on display, the cast is clearly having fun, and it just leaves me feeling warm and uplifted. This film also takes a page from “The Wizard of Oz”, and has Scrooge meet all three spirits in some kind of human form, before revealing their true identities, which I thought was a welcome addition. Also, while Kelsey Grammer isn’t the subtlest portrayal of Scrooge, I still can’t help but enjoy his performance, mostly for how goofy he gets, but he’s not without some touching moments either. The song “God Bless us Everyone” has been ingrained in my mind as an all-around staple of “A Christmas Carol”, and the song “Christmas Together” is perhaps my own personal favorite musical number from any Christmas movie I’ve seen. I can respect why most fans would just right this film off as campy, but if campy is a bad thing … then sign me up, because I just love this one. It’s a completely different experience from the other films, while still maintaining just enough spirt of the classic novel, and that for me is enough to make this one work. It’s also one of the best-looking versions, as the colors and visuals get me in more of a Christmas mood then the other film adaptions … with the possible exception of the animated ones.

       With its supernatural elements, and iconic imagery, “A Christmas Carol” lends itself to the realms of animation quiet well. 
I’ve already mentioned classic cartoon characters in the roles, but then there’s strait forward animated film adaptions, which have their own appealing qualities. One of the earliest was an animated version of “A Christmas Carol” that debuted in 1971, with Alistair Sims reprising his iconic role. This version was produced by one Chuck Jones, who’s an animation legend. While this isn’t exactly a classic version, it does still contain some spectacular animated visuals and designs that shouldn’t be missed. Another note worthy animated adaption of “A Christmas Carol” debuted in 1997, with the great Tim Curry supplying the voice of Scrooge, which is awesome. However, the animated film I want to acknowledge is one of the more recent theatrical film adaptions ... 

"A Christmas Carol" (2009)

First he was the Grinch, and then Jim Carry adorned to role of Scrooge. This is another film that’s gotten a mixed reception from both fans and critiques, but you can write me off as a fan, because I really like this version. The animation is a beautiful, technical achievement, and visually conveys things that just couldn’t be done in the other films. Robert Zemeckis’s likewise gives the film a very unique design, and doesn’t shy away from some scarier elements. In fact, this might just be one of the darkest versions of “A Christmas Carol” I’ve ever seen, with no shortage of thrilling, nightmarish imagery. While there are some cringy moments, there’s more then enough emotional, subtle and beautiful moments that for me balance out. The song “God Bless us Everyone” performed by Andrea Bocelli is also one of my absolute favorite modern-day Christmas songs. Finally, I’ve loved Jim Carry my whole life, and this for me was his big sendoff performance before he quietly disappeared, and stared in sub-par family comedies. This was a case in which I felt that Jim Carry disappeared in a role and acted less like his usual, goofy self, which is something to admire. I also like that Jim Carry plays the three Christmas spirits, as if to say there all different variations of the same man. With solid leading performances, and beautiful visuals, I think the animated 2009 version really holds up for modern viewers.

     As one would expect, this tail has became so popular that it's become an easy target for spoofs and parodies. A number of  live action TV shows took a satirical stab at the Dickens Classic. In 2010, there was “Doctor Who’s A Christmas Carol”, which was an odd one to say the least, yet it some how worked and is one of the shows better Christmas episodes.
 Another popular one that personally sank to the bottom of my Christmas viewing list came about in 1988 titled Blackadder's Christmas Carol”. This one took a cynical approach with is satire, showing the events of the story in reverse, and personally ... I was not a fan. Viewers of the show Blackadder” consider it a small holiday classic in it's own right, and they can have it. Truthfully, this is a special I could do a separate review of, but for simplicity sake, I just didn't care for it ... so lets move onto another dark comedy satire from the late 80's ...

 Scrooged” (1988)  

Now, I know a lot of people like this film, and consider it a hilarious comedy, with the always talented Bill Murray leading the charge, as well as being a unique take on the source material. Well … good for them, but once again, don’t count me among those people. This film takes the tale of “A Christmas Carol”, sets it in modern times, and with a nasty business man who already knows the story of Scrooge. Yeah ... it’s kind of hard to get invested in a character who already knows both the story, and what the life changing message is at the end. I also wasn’t too pleased with the films darkly comedic overtone, and boy can this film get annoying. My biggest issue being this films rendition of the ghost of Christmas Presence, who’s easily the most annoying of all. Don’t get me wrong, I want to love this movie, I already love Bill Murry, and the premise isn’t without some potential. Yet, every time I see this, I’m always left feeling just as bored and annoyed. Personally, I’d recommend skipping this film and instead just stick to any one of the other excellent film adaptions of the Charles Dickens classic, but if you’re among the many fans that do like this, then don’t let me spoil it for you. 

Now at last, after looking through the different highs and lows, we finally come to what I consider to be the absolute best movie adaption of the Dickens Classic ... 

A Christmas Carol” (1984)

I've loved George C. Scott ever sense I first watched "Patton" with my dad, and his portrayal of Scrooge is another great one to add to his resume. While I declared the 1999 version with Patrick Stewart to be my favorite, there’s still a fine line between personal favorite’s and what I genuinely consider the absolute best. This is the version that just gets every detail down perfectly, and gives us things that no other film, or even the book feature. This is the version where upon going back in time, Scrooge as an older man gets the chance to really look at his father, analyze him and you can just feel the human emotion and pathos behind Scrooges eyes. Every other version features Scrooges falling out of love with a young woman, but this version goes another step further showing how she raised her own family, and what Scrooge could have had if his greed hadn’t gotten in the way. The Ghost of Christmas future, while kind of a basic design, is thematically more terrifying then in any other version, as he first arrives from a distance and slowly moves forward with each possible, future outcome, until he’s finally hovering over Scrooge and conveying the awful truth that Scrooge had been trying to avoid. Finally, this version features my absolute favorite epilogue of any version, and is the one that always gets me terry eyed. While I’ve always loved seeing Scrooges reformation, there’s one selects scene in this film, where Scrooge reconciles with his nephew and, nephew wife, apologizes for the mistakes he’s made and finally becomes one with the family on a more personal note then any other version. 

The big take away line for me is when Scrooge says “God forgive me for the time I’ve wasted”. It’s such a powerful moment that really hits home, and in my opinion is the most emotional moment from any version. Now I’ve loved George C. Scott ever sense I was a boy watching “Patton” with my dad, and he is absolutely electrifying as Scrooge. He gives the character a lot more personality and charisma, which makes him the most fun to watch. All in all, if you had to just pick one version of “A Christmas Carol”, this is the version I’d recommend above all the others. It has the best details, emotional character drama, mystical atmosphere and a killer lead performance. 

     In the end, it really doesn’t matter which version you see, because it’s still the same outstanding story that everyone should experience again on Christmas. It’s a story that’s beautiful in theme, original with its creativity, and compelling with one of the greatest literary characters of all time. There are plenty great ones out there to view, so do yourself a favor and find the one best suited to your own personal taste …

I give "A Christmas Carol" (all around) ... a perfect 5 stars out of 5.

            And God Bless Us, Everyone!