The Muppet Christmas Carol

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Bob Smithouser

Movie Review

In 1993, Charles Dickens must have been rolling in his grave … with laughter. That’s when Walt Disney Studios and Jim Henson Productions released The Muppet Christmas Carol, a song-filled celebration of kindness and virtue. In fact, Dickens’ classic tale of a miser’s redemption has never featured more warmth, wit or off-the-wall characters.

Nasty skinflint Ebeneezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is an intimidating figure. He towers over his employees, Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) and a team of bookkeeping rodents. His avarice and greed are joyless. His bitter, lonely existence … empty. But that “bah, humbug” is about to change. When Scrooge’s sleep is disturbed by three otherworldly visitors on Christmas Eve, he gets scared straight and elects to use his remaining days to carve out a legacy of love, charity and forgiveness birthed from “a grateful prayer and a thankful heart.”

Beyond its wonderful moral lessons and a reverent nod to “the One who made lame beggars walk and blind men see,” The Muppet Christmas Carol is just plain fun. It feels fun. It looks fun. And it is spring-loaded with clever references and sight gags sure to amuse older audiences as well as children (some darker scenes may be too spooky for preschoolers).

This holiday season, if you find yourself hunting for a fun video able to spark a discussion of heavenly love and redemption, remember Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie and the gang. This may be the best muppet movie of them all!

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Bob Smithouser