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The One-Line Summary: In 19th century London, Ebenezer Scrooge (Michael Caine) is faced with another Christmas holiday where he is expected to be of good cheer, but instead is filled with loathsome disgust by all the seasonal joy until he is visited by the ghost of two dead colleagues, condemned to an eternity in shackles for their miserly ways, who warn him he shall suffer the same if he does not change his habits and so, during this night, he shall be visited by three Christmas spirits with an agenda for how to get him back on track.
The Two-Line Blurb: Directed by Brian Henson, this live-action Muppet feature is a mostly faithful adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic that, while retaining much of the humor of the Muppet charm, doesn’t shy away from the story’s darker themes, even commenting on the impact of some of the heavier moments, keeping their importance while livening up the tale’s often bleak tone. Filled some very memorable songs and some wonderful moments that are both funny and touching, this Muppet film has a lot of heart, with some terrific performances both by the Muppets and the humans they interact with.
The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is all about the truth and begins when Scrooge realizes that his ghost colleagues were right when the first spirit arrives, a waif-like phantom who claims to be the Ghost of Christmas Past. With some magic, the ghost transports the surprised Scrooge back in time to his childhood first, where he sees himself as a boy studying so hard at school, and then later, as a young adult at a Christmas party where he meets the lovely Belle (Meredith Braun). The two fall in love and are eventually engaged, happy as he becomes a partner in a firm, but a rift develops as he is never satisfied with the money he earns.
The Four-Line Moment: On a park bench on a crisp winter evening, as the old Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Past, along with the film’s narrator (and writer per se) Charles Dickens (The Great Gonzo) look on, Belle confronts her fiancee, displeased that another year has passed and they still haven’t married. Despite his comfortable income, he feels it isn’t enough and is clearly blinded by the prospect of more wealth, telling her that they must wait for business to improve. Belle has had enough though and decides to end their relationship in a truly heartbreaking song (written by Paul Williams) that details her sense that there is distance in his eyes and that their love is gone. This is the moment when Scrooge loses his humanity, a pain so hard and fast, it shaped him till his old age, spiraling him within himself to the point where he craves only the cold, emotionless feel of money.
The Five-Word Review: Charming family Christmas musical fun.