Stuff I Watch in December: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

Happy Holidays and welcome! We are counting down the days until December 25th and, in that time, I will be reviewing each and every Christmas/holiday film I watch during the month. They’re mostly a selection of films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

Holiday Inn (1942)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
The Bishop’s Wife (1947)
White Christmas (1954)
Santa Claus (1959)
Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964)
Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)
Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972)
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1984)
Lethal Weapon (1986)
Die Hard (1988)
Ernest Saves Christmas (1988)
Scrooged (1988)
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Home Alone (1990)
Die Hard 2 (1990)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

muppet christmas carol

DIRECTOR: Brian Henson who is, of course, son of the late, great Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. Henson worked very closely with his father on several of his past projects as a producer/puppeteer.

WHAT IS IT?: As the title indicates, it’s the Muppet take on the Charles Dickens’ classic tale, A Christmas Carol.

THE PLOT: All right…let’s go over this again…

Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is a miser. Bob Cratchit (Kermit the Frog) is his willing servant. Scrooge goes home, gets visited by the Marleys (Statler and Waldorf) who warn him that his miserly ways will doom him to hell, so it’s time for three Christmas spirits to step in and show him the way up to light.

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: Critics praised the film for being a very youthful and fun adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic story as well as Michael Caine’s wonderful performance.

WHAT DID I THINK?: The second week into my December reviews and we’re already on the third variation of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. I just can’t do the cringe-worthy Albert Finney version my elders forced me through each year until I was 10 years old. And I wanted to include a version that wasn’t stuffy (everything before sound was introduced into film) or renamed “Scrooge” for some reason (everything else). And I’m not gonna mince words here: Robert Zemeckis’s 2009 uncanny valley take is crap. That really leaves us with The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Michael Caine is perfect in the part, taking the role as seriously as one can despite being surrounded by a mostly Muppet-centric cast.

That’s not to say that the proceedings are cheap and silly. This version of the Dickens classic has conviction and is intent on giving you the very best. The surprisingly high production value, well-written musical numbers, excellent characterizations, performances and storytelling produce unexpected emotional moments.

The result is a version that is delightful, hitting all the right notes. It’s equal parts traditional and Muppet-style irreverent, with some added flair: Rizzo and Gonzo (who plays “Charles Dickens” much to the skepticism of Rizzo) are your hosts throughout the film, serving as narrators as well as comfort to children who might be scared by the more supernatural aspects of the film.

Easily, one of the best versions of the Dickens classic.

GRADE: A-

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