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Despite the subject line, this is not a post about Mandy Hampton. Sorry to disappoint. ;-)

A Christmas Carol
(2009)
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Screenplay by: Robert Zemeckis (based on the novella by Charles Dickens)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Robin Wright, Cary Elwes, Bob Hoskins, Lesley Manville, Molly C. Quinn

Synopsis: (Honestly, if you don't already know this story, you must have been living under a rock your whole life.) Miserly businessman Ebenezer Scrooge (Carrey) has no place in his heart for kindness and lacks even a hint of compassion for his fellow man. Then, one Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his long-deceased business partner Jacob Marley (Oldman), who warns Scrooge that he will be visited by three spirits, the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come (all Carrey). Their visits prompt Scrooge to change his current ways in order to avoid a dire fate.

A Christmas Carol is my all-time favorite Christmas story -- and the same probably goes for a lot of people -- so I was concerned when Robert Zemeckis decided to do a motion-capture version of Dickens' classic tale.  My main concern was that Zemeckis would deviate from the story in order to make the film more appealing to children (The marketing for the movie was obviously geared toward kids.).  However, I was pleasantly surprised. Zemeckis stayed very true to the book, from the dialogue right down to the look of the Ghost of Christmas Past. I remember the first time I read A Christmas Carol I tried to imagine what that ghost would look like based on Dickens' description, and I felt Zemeckis and his animation team were successful in capturing Dickens' intent for this spirit to resemble a flickering candle. It's such a difficult thing to translate on-screen, but the fact that the movie was done with mo-cap made it a lot easier to create things that really can't be done in a completely live-action environment.

My only real complaint is that there are a lot of unnecessary "flying-through-London-and-the-English-countryside" scenes. I know the purpose of these are to facilitate the 3-D aspect of the movie in theaters, but really now, once is enough! But I'm not a fan of 3-D and doubt I ever will be, so your opinion may differ. Luckily, I saw A Christmas Carol on DVD, so I didn't have to deal with all the 3D-ness. Yay.

If you don't know anything about motion capture animation, check out the Wikipedia entry here. It's actually pretty amazing technology. Instead of just creating animated characters and then getting actors to do voiceovers, the actors actually act out everything wearing special suits that contain sensors so the cameras can capture all of their movements.