NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by Larry who says, "Just as a warning, this is NOT a kid's film. There are several tense and scary moments throughout the film, with a few "jump" scenes that rival horror films's scariest moments. Those expecting a Disney cartoon with Jim Carrey flailing his arms around comically will be greatly disappointed. This movie is very close to the book, even to the degree of which the characters speak, (very "dickensian english"), with few comic or humorous moments."
The movie begins with the book “A Christmas Carol” opening & the words, “Marley is dead.” appearing. The scene then shows the deceased Jacob Marley in his coffin with 2 gold coins covering his eyes at the funeral parlor. He apparently dies on Christmas Eve. The Funeral Director hands a pen to an elderly, outstretched hand of Ebenezer Scrooge, (Jim Carrey), who uses it to sign his name on the death certificate as being a witness. The Funeral Director then holds his hand out for a tip. Scrooge looks at him menacingly and then very reluctantly takes out a gold coin & drops it in his hand. However, the Funeral Director still keeps his hand out expecting more. Scrooge, even more reluctantly takes out a 2nd gold coin & very slowly & almost unwillingly drops it in the Funeral Director’s hand. As he turns to leave, he takes the 2 gold coins covering Marley’s eyes, rubs them off & pockets them!
We then cut to Christmas Eve 7 years later as the camera zooms all around the town in 3D as everyone is cheerful in the streets. Kids are spinning wheels on sticks, townspeople are buying all sorts of Christmas foods, a butcher working in a basement for a party throws a chunk of beef at some poor kids begging for food, only to have a dog grab it & have the kids chase it, some other kids holding on to the bumper & riding on the back of street cars & carolers in the street singing. However, 1 lone man walking to work is in no mood for this Scrooge. Dogs cower away from him, kids start running away upon seeing him & even the carolers stop singing as he passes by them.
Scrooge then goes to his place of business where he works as a money collector/counter. Bob Cratchitt, (Bob Hoskins), is working there, shivering from the cold in the building as he only has a dying coal ember to keep him warm, with the rest of the coal locked up, with the keys on Scrooge’s desk. Shortly, in walks Scrooge’s nephew Fred, all cheerful & full of Christmas spirit. He offers to invite Scrooge to his home for Christmas but Ebenezer quickly declines, telling Fred he’s a fool for wasting his time & money on the holiday, and lambasting him that he could be rich if he focused more on money and less on his friends & wife. When scrooge asks Fred why he got married, Fred replied that he was in love. Scrooge hastily dismisses him with repeated “Good afternoons”.
Soon after, 2 other men come into Scrooge’s place of work collecting for the poor. When they ask Ebenezer what he would like to contribute, Scrooge replies, “Nothing”. Mistakenly thinking he wanted to donate anonymously, they ask him again, but Scrooge says he won’t give money to anyone poor, especially since some of the donations were going to prisoners and mentally insane people too for the holidays. When the 2 men ask him to think again of the poor, Scrooge angrily says that they should all die to decrease the surplus population on the planet. Saddened by Ebenezer’s reply, the 2 men leave.
Near closing time, Cratchitt asks Scrooge for Christmas Day off tomorrow. Scrooge very reluctantly gives him the time but tells him to come in extra early the following day to make up for the time off. They both then leave & go their separate ways, Ebenezer walking hunched over with his cane and Cratchitt happily sliding down an icy hill with some local kids.
Ebenezer arrives at his lofty, (but old and cold), house. He looks at the door knocker and goes to open the door but drops his keys. He bends over to get them, (we see his POV), and as he stands back up, the door knocker has been replaced with the glowing head of Jacob Marley’s ghost. Stunned, Scrooge slowly reaches toward it and just as his hand nears it, the face pops up distorted and snarls at him, (VERY scary “jump” scene). Ebenezer falls backwards down his front stoop scared. As he gets up, he looks at the door again but only sees the original door knocker. Convincing himself it was just a hallucination, he goes into his house.
Scrooge is then seen in his nightcap & pajamas, eating some old & crusty oatmeal-type food in a bowl by his fireplace in his master bedroom. Just as he’s about to go to bed, he hears some loud noises, getting louder by the moment. The chimes to his doorbell start ringing, louder & louder until Scrooge has to cover his ears at the sound of them. He then hears something walking up the stairs to his room, with very loud thuds then as they reach the shut door to his room, silence. Then suddenly 6 HUGE ghostly lit cement blocks wrapped heavily in chains burst through the room at Scrooge, (and at us for another scary 3D “jump” scene). As they all land around Ebenezer, we then see they are attached to the ghost of Jacob Marley, (Gary Oldman), as he floats into the room. Marley explains that he’s being punished for all his past indiscretions and bad deeds in life. Scrooge wonders why since he was such a good businessperson. Marley explains that while he was a good businessman, he was a horrible human being, and that the more chains on a ghost mean more punishment. He then warns Scrooge that if he keeps on his current path, Ebenezer’s chains will be worse than Marley’s. Jacob tells Scrooge that he’ll be visited by 3 spirits, all throughout the night. (Scrooge humorously asks him if all 3 can visit him at the same time to get it over with but Marley yells at him for that). Jacob says the 1st ghost will visit him soon as he rises up to leave. As Marley leaves through the window, Scrooge sees all the other spirits floating outside doomed to an eternity of chains & cement blocks, (though none were as severe as Marley’s, they were still wretched & scary). One other ghost outside sees Scrooge looking at him & flies up towards him, (our POV), but slams into the window as the screen goes black.
The next scene is pitch black until a small flickering light appears and gets brighter and brighter. It wakes up Scrooge and forms into a ghost, but looking very much like a lit candle wick. He announces himself as the Ghost of Christmas Past, (Jim Carrey), and tells Ebenezer he’ll take him to his memories of the past. He touches Scrooge with some pixie dust ala Peter Pan, to give him the ability to fly with him and they take off through the town. Just like at the beginning of the movie, we see the flying POV whizzing around town until we arrive at another part of the country where Scrooge remembers being raised & bred. The ghost takes him to a schoolhouse where we see a lone Ebenezer sadly staring out a window. It seems his father, who was equally cold as Scrooge is now, left him there for his education but never came to get him each year. The schoolhouse morphs into an older, more dilapidated version years later where Scrooge is still all alone by himself, as he has been year after year until one day his sister arrives joyously & tells him that father “overnight” had a change of heart & was filled with Christmas Spirit, (slightly implying his father went through what Scrooge is going through), and has sent a wagon to bring Scrooge back to his family for the holidays. The spirit tells Scrooge that she later bore a son, who turned out to be Scrooge’s nephew Fred.
We next see Scrooge as a young apprentice to Fezzywig on Christmas Eve. When his work shift is over, Fezzywig, joyously flips off his desk and starts dancing around, ordering his workplace be turned into a banquet hall for Christmas. The tables & chairs gets pushed back to create tons of room for dancing and sure enough, the scene morphs into a festive Christmas celebration with food, dancing and singing. Fezzywig & his wife dance, (although in an exaggerated humorous manner), followed by each young boy & girl. When it’s Scrooge’s turn, he meets Belle, (Robin Wright-Penn) & is instantly smitten.
We cut to years later where Scrooge is now very rich but has gotten colder. His fiancée Belle asks for her release from him to break off the engagement, saying that he’s changed and cares more about money than about love. She tries to remind him how happier they were when they were poorer but in love. However, she says he’s found a new idol to cherish his money. Scrooge acts defensive and derisive towards her, saying that he’s worked hard to get where he is and refuses to give up what he’s doing. Seeing that Ebenezer will not give up his love of money over her, Belle sadly walks out of his life.
At this point, the elder version of Scrooge wants no more of these sad memories & tries to extinguish the Ghost of Christmas Present by covering him with the flame-retardant cone that he carries. Initially it seems to work; however, the cone then takes off like a rocket, flying it and Scrooge up almost towards to moon. The flame then fizzles out & Scrooge hurtles down to earth, crashing down loudly as he closes his eyes. However, when he opens them, he finds he’s back in his own bedroom.
Scrooge then sees a glowing light behind his bedroom door. He slowly approaches & opens it. Upon entering, he sees the room filled to the top with food and drink. Sitting atop of it all is the Ghost of Christmas Present, (Jim Carrey), who appears to Scrooge as a laughing Giant with dark brown curly hair and a robe connected to a sheath, (but no sword, which he says means “peace on earth”.) He says has is one of over 1,800 brothers. The Ghost takes his torch & spreads the embers on the floor, making it transparent, the floor of the house then rises & flies all around the city, showing all the happiness and warmth spread by the townspeople during Christmas.
The house then lands on the property of Scrooge’s nephew Fred. While not as rich as Scrooge, he does seem to be pretty well off. Fred and his friends and family are playing a game of “Yes and No” where he thinks of something & they have to guess what it is with him only giving “yes” or “no” answers. Their friends & family guess that Fred is thinking of some animal but when someone asks if it is an “ass”, (meaning donkey), Fred goes, “Yes…and no.” This prompts someone to stand up & shout, “I know! I know! It’s your uncle Scrooge!” Fred says “Yes!”, and everyone laughs at Scrooge’s expense. Fred then raises a toast to his uncle, but has to convince everyone else to raise their glasses to him as well.
The Ghost then takes Scrooge to the poor, run down home of Bob Cratchitt. He & Tiny Tim have not arrived home yet but his wife & other children are cooking and waiting for hem to arrive. They both then walk in with Tim on Bob’s shoulders, both happy and joyful. Despite being poor, they are happy being together as a family. As Tim goes to check the pudding, bob & his wife talk about Tiny Tim. He has an illness that requires him to walk with a crutch. Bob pretends to tell his wife that Tim is getting better each day but his face & mannerisms tell a different story as he starts getting sad, (away from her). Scrooge asks the Spirit about Tim & if he will die. The Ghost first states that if everything remains unaltered by the Future, yes, he will die" (Tim's illness is not inherently fatal, but the Cratchitts lack the funds for Tim to receive proper treatment courtesy of Scrooge's miserliness). Then using Scrooge’s own words against him, his face morphs into Scrooge’s own and suggests he "had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.", (echoing what Ebenezer said to the 2 men asking for donations to the poor earlier on).
The Ghost says this is his last night on earth. Scrooge then sees a clawed hand underneath the Ghost’s robe & asks who or what that is. The Ghost lifts up part of his robe to reveal a scrawny & demonic boy & girl. The boy is called Ignorance and the girl is called Want. The Ghost warns scrooge to beware of them both. Then in another scary scene, the boy leaps at Scrooge and turns into one of the Prisoners scrooge lamented about earlier while the girl leaps up & turns into a mental patient in a straightjacket and both torment him. The Ghost laughs and slowly turns white, then into a skeleton and then to dust, leaving Scrooge all alone in the room.
Scrooge looks down at his own shadow which slowly starts turning into the form of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, (Jim Carrey though this ghost does not speak). The Spirit hovers above him, then with bony, clawed outstretched hands, lunges toward him, sending him down some stairs. Scrooge looks up to find 3 men laughing and joking about a recent death that happened on Christmas. They mention that it will be a cheap funeral & they would only go if lunch was provided. Feeling small, (and literally getting smaller), Scrooge is then chased by the Ghost who is driving a chariot led by large black horses with blood red eyes. Ebenezer tries running away but the streets start getting narrower. After several close calls running away, Scrooge eventually arrives at the house of his old housekeeper & her husband. Apparently, they have been stealing items from Scrooge’s house after his death. They hold up a large gold & red cloth & laugh that the only reason they got it was that someone was “fool enough” to cover the body with it, (implying they stole it off the corpse). (Miniature Scrooge, noticing all his stolen goods, yells to the lady, “You’re fired!” obviously played for laughs as nobody can see or hear him & even if they could he’s too small to make any impact). He husband then suddenly starts lifting up a fire poker and looking at Scrooge. It seems like he’s about to hit Ebenezer, but is actually looking at a rat behind Scrooge & tries to hit that. Both Scrooge & the rat run away for safety, with Scrooge escaping down a drainpipe. Ebenezer rests for a second alone & in the dark. Suddenly, (in a VERY loud bang loud enough to be considered yet another “jump” scene), the Ghost’s carriage & horses crash through a wall and start chasing Scrooge again. He captures Scrooge with his clawed outstretched hand and shows him a corpse covered by a simple shroud. The Ghost starts to lift the shroud, (we only see the very top of the corpse’s head), and Scrooge begs the Ghost to not show him anymore, scared of what he might see, which the Ghost surprisingly relents. Ebenezer then asks if there are any moments of happiness or tenderness connected with this person’s death. The ghost then shows him a husband coming home to his wife looking sad, but then showing it was all an act. It seems they owed some debt to this person but now that he died; they’re no longer obligated, (which ironically shows the moment of “happiness” Scrooge wanted to see. The Ghost then whisks scrooge to the house of Bob Cratchitt again. Only this time, the entire family is sitting down, deeply saddened. Bob soon walks through the door, almost lifeless and dejected. His family tries to cheer him up but to no avail. They’re all mourning the passing of Tiny Tim. Scrooge, sitting on the stairway watching this, starts getting upset. Then Bob walks up the same stairway & seems to stop & look directly at Scrooge. Cratchitt’s eyes are almost completely red from all the tears he’s shed and looks absolutely miserable. He walks past Ebenezer up to Tiny Tim’s room where we see the shadow of Tim’s body, (but not Tim himself), lying on a casket/bed. Bob kneels beside the casket/bed & starts sobbing uncontrollably.
Lastly, Scrooge is then blown by the Spirit into a graveyard, where he winds up next to an unkempt grave covered in snow. The Spirit starts to brush away some of the snow, revealing Ebenezer’s name. Scrooge pleads with the Spirit, telling him he’ll change his ways. Undeterred, the Spirit then brushes off some more snow, revealing scrooge’s birth date, then death date of Dec. 25, stopping right before the year, (still covered in snow). Scrooge pleads even more that he’s seen the error of his ways & will repent and change. However, Scrooge starts to fall into the grave, hanging on by only a clump of grass & dirt. Scrooge asks if these events are set in stone or could they be changed. The Spirit just points to the grave. As Ebenezer begs & pleads even more, what he clings onto becomes the Spirit’s clawed hand. The Spirit then lifts its cowl to reveal 2 “shiny coal” eyes and lets go of Scrooge making him fall into the casket down below, glowing red, (to symbolize he’s going to hell). As soon as Scrooge falls completely in, he opens his eyes…and sees he’s back in his own bedroom.
Realizing that he’s still alive, Ebenezer jumps for joy, elated that he’s been given another chance. He opens up his window & sees a young boy pulling a sled. He asks the boy what day it is. When the boy replies Christmas, Scrooge tells the lad to go & get the biggest goose at the butcher shop & bring it to him, offering him a full schilling if he does it fast enough. Scrooge then sees his housekeeper & starts dancing with her. Shocked & understandably frightened, she tries running away, only to have Scrooge slide down the stairwell & catch up to her, telling her she’s the prettiest thing he’s ever seen, (played for laughs as she’s obviously homely). She nevertheless runs away claiming he’s gone mad. Scrooge then sees the butcher with the goose & pays for it, (as well as giving the kid his promised tip). Ebenezer then merrily runs about town, clinging to the bumper of the cars down the street like the kids did. He then finds the man who asked him for donations earlier in the film & whispers an amount he’ll donate that absolutely stuns him. He then approaches the same carolers at the beginning of the movie as well. At first, he says nothing, but then jumps along side of them & sings the last part of the song! Then he gives them a generous tip in their cup. Lastly that day, he arrives at the door of his nephew Fred. He’s playing that same “Yes or No” game that Scrooge saw with the Ghost of Christmas Present. However, just as the girl was about to say “I Know! I Know! It’s your uncle Scrooge!”, Ebenezer walks in. Looking very repentant, he asks his nephew if he can join them for Christmas. Nobody says a word a first & for a few seconds it’s very quiet. Then, suddenly, his nephew & friends all welcome him with open arms as they all enjoy a nice Christmas.
The next day, (remember, Scrooge gave Cratchitt Christmas off), Scrooge is already at work, gleefully laughing at what he’s about to give Bob & his family), when Cratchitt arrives 16 minutes late. Ebenezer, (keeping up the guise of his old, miserly self), orders Bob into his office. He tells Bob as a result of his being late; he has no choice but to…give him a substantial raise. Bob, eyes shut expecting the worst, suddenly opens them. Scrooge then says he’ll take care of him & his family & especially provide for Tiny Tim & they’ll never have to worry about anything again! He gives Bob some money for coal to keep his work spot warm & sends him on his way. Bob leaves but peers back into the window to see Scrooge laughing & dancing around. He then turns to the audience & finishes narrating the story. Bob said that Tiny Tim got better & Scrooge became like a 2nd father to him. Scrooge indeed repented and lived up to his word as being nicer and more generous, even more than anyone imagined. The film ends with Tiny Tim on Scrooge’s shoulders shouting, “God bless us everyone!”, as the scene turns into the last page of the book as it closes.
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