Robert Zemeckis’ take on the classic Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol” is a three dimensional spectacle to behold. It maintains the spirit of the original while taking some unexpected, yet welcome, liberties along the way. For instance, I can’t quite remember what part of Dickens writings included the phrase “Scrooge had a crooked dick nose.”
The story starts out with Scrooge in a familiar setting: Scrooge’s office. His nephew barges in. Scrooge tells him to suck it. A couple of guys from the Victorian equivalent of the Salvation Army burst in looking for a hand out. Scrooge tells them to fuck off. Then Cratchitt asks for a day off, and Scrooge tells him to take it but he better be there at 7:15 the next day or he’ll break his foot off in his poor ass.
This is where it starts to get interesting.
Scrooge is first haunted by his former partner Marley (Jeff Daniels), who informs him he’ll be haunted by three ghosts: Past, Present, and Yet to Come. Now, the Ghost of Christmas Past is usually represented as some kind of otherworldly spectre. In this incantation, it’s just Jesus Christ. Instead of showing Scrooge his past, he takes him back to the very first Christmas and makes Scrooge watch Mary giving birth to him. As Scrooge pukes in the corner of the manger next to a donkey, Jesus says, “You know how unpleasant it is to watch childbirth? Well, that’s what Hell is like. It’s just you sitting in front of a Vizio that constantly plays child birth and you can’t shut your eyes. Give poor people money.”
The Ghost of Christmas Present is another familiar face: Santa Claus. I’m guessing this was either a misinterpretation of the character’s name or horribly done product placement, as this portion of the film features a lot of Santa telling Scrooge about stuff he can buy. As they look on at Scrooge’s nephew Roger telling a joke to his friends about Scrooge, a Tickle Me Elmo flys through the room on the back of a remote control airplane. Both have pricetags on them. When they check in on the Cratchits, it’s somewhat off-putting to find that Tiny Tim is played by a three foot tall IPod Nano holding a crutch. Scrooge turns to Santa and says, “I already learned my lesson back with Jesus.” Santa says back, “Why don’t you get a condom for your schnozz there, chief?” He then gives Scrooge a Stone Cold stunner and instructs him to “give poor people money.”
Finally it’s the most horrifying Christmas ghost of them all, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Usually this character resembles Death. Here it is resembled by a ghost version of George Lopez’s talk show, which will be dead by next Christmas. Instead of showing Scrooge about the impending demise of both himself and Tiny Tim, he does a five minute bit about Mexican stereotypes. He then turns to Scrooge and says, “Give poor people money, cabron.”
Scrooge wakes up the next morning and decides that the ghosts freaked him out so badly, he’s going to become even more of a curmudgeon and hold on even tighter to the money he has. He drafts a Ponzi scheme and enlists Bob Cratchit to help him put it together. Afterwards Bob asks him for a raise. He says, “Sure!” and gives him a Stone Cold stunner, throwing his poor ass into the London street.
The final sequence features Scrooge opening his window, bending over, and telling a bunch of Londoners “Merry Christmas!” while pretending to talk out of his ass.