The Muppet Christmas Carol – BlogalongaMuppets 4

Considering the fact that I was 4 when I first saw The Muppet Christmas Carol in the cinema, it isn’t hard to see why this particular Muppet film fills me with nostalgic joy every time I see it (and I’ve seen it two and a half times in the past two weeks). Taking a departure from the three preceding films, Christmas Carol does not tell a story about the Muppets themselves, instead retelling Dickens classic tale with Michael Caine as Scrooge and Muppets taking on the majority of other roles. This is the Muppets with a proper plot at last.

Holding the whole film together are The Great Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat as Dickens and his sidekick, acting as narrators and, in a real change for the Muppet franchise, are the only two characters to break the fourth wall and reference the fact that the film is in fact a film. Taking things far too seriously for a moment, separating the story from the endless meta jokes makes the jokes all the funnier and the story more engrossing. It can be hard to care about a character who acknowledges that what is happening to them is not really happening. Rizzo and Gonzo are a great comedic pair and the film wouldn’t work without them.

With celebrity cameos out the window, at last, instead we have an admirable performance from Michael Caine. Possibly not his finest work but he certainly isn’t slacking off in the acting department. From a horrible old man to a truly sad figure, Caine gives it his all. Shame about that dance though…

I may mock the dance, but I will happily perform it whenever anyone asks me too… or if the film happens to be on.

Another thing Christmas Carol has going for it, beyond the humour and the emotion, is that it is pretty scary at times. I’ve had more than one nightmare about Scrooge’s door knocker turning into a screaming face, and the Ghost of Christmas Past is pretty freaky too, something to do with her tiny hands. With most of the other Muppet films everything is so light and fluffy the peril is rarely perilous, here there is plenty to get behind the sofa for.

What really makes Christmas Carol the best of the franchise so far is the songs. For once the songs are fun, catchy and live on beyond the film. “One More Sleep Till Christmas” and “It Feels Like Christmas” will always be accompanied by me warbling along and forgetting most of the words. You may get the sense that watching this film with me is hell as I sing and dance along while chuckling at the childish jokes… You’re probably right but I do it all out of love for the film.

I will finish this ramble with this deleted song, a song which should appear during Scrooge’s trip to Christmas past but which Disney decided wasn’t appealing to young children. “When Love is Gone” is beautiful and its removal makes for a slightly jarring moment in the film. Silly Disney!

The Muppet Christmas Carol is amazing and I can’t imagine Christmas without it.

Light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat! Put me out, put me out, put me out!

Muppet Movie Ranking:
1. The Muppet Christmas Carol
2. The Muppets Take Manhattan
3. The Great Muppet Caper
4. The Muppet Movie

15 Christmas Films You Must Watch This Weekend

As this is a movie blog we are obligated to list our favourite Christmas films so I’ve rooted out my carefully crafted DVD collection that will be with me every Christmas. You may notice that this list does not include many favourites and has a few non-Christmas films. There is no real order to the list, sorry.

Elf
A modern classic! Heart-warming and funny in the right measures. The cherry on top is a combination of Zooey Deschanel and Peter Dinklage.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Chevy Chase back in his prime with a hit and miss comedy about family getting together for Christmas. The cat in the box always gets me.

Die Hard
hey, it is set at Christmas. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.” Anyone?

Scrooged
Our first Bill Murray performance on the list and a warped take on A Christmas Carol. At times irritating, with plenty of laughs this film ends with a monologue to warm the cockles of your heart. Do hearts have cockles?

The Santa Clause
Surely Tim Allen’s best work? Lovely seasonal tale that helps make sense of Santa. I have not seen the sequels so lets pretend they don’t exist.

Black Christmas
The original Canadian version isn’t great but brought us the original “the call is coming from inside the house.” The remake is even worse but has some sexy ladies, a Trachtenberg and Winstead to be precise.

The Snowman
The shortest of the list but a Christmas essential. With a sad, sad ending.

Home Alone
One I haven’t seen for years but I’m sure the comedy still stands up today, right?

Gremlins
Funny, moving and adorable creature feature. The love interest’s story of her dad in the chimney will always bring about an inappropriate Christmas chuckle.

The Muppet Christmas Carol
Some of the finest Christmas songs come from this and Michael Caine’s best performance.

Cool Runnings
Not set at Christmas but the abundance of snow and family friendly laughs make this a must for a lazy afternoon at Christmas.

Groundhog Day
Again it’s not Christmas exactly but it’s so damned Christmassy! It’s all about learning to not be selfish and to love one another. Also hilarious.

The Grinch
A controversial choice, either hailed as genius or rubbish. hard to believe that little girl is now Taylor Momsen, a 17 year old who dresses like an oversexed tramp.

Edward Scissorhands
Do I need to justify this? It is undeniably Tim Burton and undeniably filled with the Christmas spirit.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
Perfect for either Halloween or Christmas though with a message of Christmas cheer and some great Christmas songs there’s no better time to watch.