A Christmas Carol

I went to the cinema yesterday afternoon with the Youth Club to see the new animated version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

I have to admit that my expectations where not very high. After all, it’s a well-known story, that’s we’ve all seen in a dozen different ways over the years. And since this is an animated version, I had assumed it would be if not childish, then focused on the children’s market.

I was wrong. I really enjoyed it. It is very faithful to the original book, with language that probably will go above the heads of children in a few places. But that original story is shocking – when Scrooge is asked for a contribution for the poor and responds “Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses?”, there is genuine shock at just how selfish he is. It’s not played for laughs – this is a horrible person.

Likewise when Marley’s ghost enters, chained to several heavy money chests that he must drag around with him in the afterlife, and says that they are “the chains he forged in life… link by link, yard by yard”, it is both appalling and challenging.

Indeed, although the film is rated PG, I would say parts of it would be hard for children to understand, and other parts might be a bit scary.

I will admit that the film probably slips a bit as it goes on, but there is a great story of a life examined and changed, and none of us are beyond the need for that. I think it deserves to be a Christmas classic.

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