We are currently in the throngs of the most festive months of the year. In honor of the festive season, I have been binging movies, baking cookies, and decorating my little heart out. After completing decorating part 1 at my sister’s house, we plopped down on her couch and began the festive movie train. In honor of our jovial mood, we selected a recent classic; The Muppet Christmas Carol. Anyone who has seen this movie knows exactly why we had to start off the season with this movie. It is truly a classic that was not in my life until a few years ago. Thanks to the righteous indignation of my roommates, it has now taken a place in my Christmas-loving heart. In fact, I consider it one of the best adaptations of A Christmas Carol, if not the best. Don’t believe me? I’m sure these things will make you reconsider just a bit.
- The humor
If you’ve ever watched a Muppet movie, then you know that they have a distinct humor and tone in all their stories. This one is no exception. Among the classic storytelling of Dickens are the quips and visual gags that the Muppets are known for. My own favorite is the heatwave joke, seen in the GIF above. There are boundless great moments with Gonzo and Rizzo as the storytellers. Gonzo takes the role of Dickens, but Rizzo is just along for the ride as himself. They make many jokes about this dynamic that don’t feel overdone or too silly. Just the right amount of situational humor to tie it all together. The most important thing is that the humor doesn’t take away from the story. Many times a joke will drop in before a heartfelt moment, but it leaves enough space for you to appreciate both moments.
- The Songs
The Muppets always have songs that bring a smile to your face. The songs in this film are great at moving the story along and giving you information about the characters and settings. The first song illustrates how disliked Scrooge is in his town before he even mutters a word. It really sells his first “ba humbug” of the film. Other songs teach Scrooge himself about the joys of Christmas and help him grow as a person. The songs also help you sympathize with the Cratchet family. The first time you see Bob and Tiny Tim together, they’re singing a jolly Christmas song. It shows that they already have the joy of Christmas in their hearts, and really sells the sad scene that the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come shows Scrooge.
- The puppets as main characters!
It’s no surprise that The Muppets are in main roles of the story. It is their way after all! Like I mentioned earlier, Gonzo plays a role that many versions of A Christmas Carol don’t include: Charles Dickens! This is a great way for the filmmakers to stay more faithful to the book by having Dickens narrate some of the moments that might not be able to translate to screen. It’s also a great way to keep audiences of all ages engaged in the story. It leads to some great gags with Dickens and Rizzo as they follow Scrooge around. Kermit also makes a great Bob Cratchett. He delivers the wholesome vibe and kindness that the character represents.
- The design and overall vibes
There is a great whimsy to The Muppets version of London. It has the dark and slightly dirty touch of London in that time period that makes it feel real. However, there’s a lot of color and textures to make it feel cheerful for the season. They also have great color contrasts in the puppets that bring light to the set. The houses are all slightly crooked and cartoon-y looking to make the puppets fit in well with the setting of the movie. Somehow the people fit in as well, with their bright colors. Surprisingly, this was the first movie that Brian Henson directed. He did an amazing job at bringing Dickens world to life, with a Muppets twist.
- The true meaning of the story shines through
Something that I really love about this movie is it’s faithfulness to the story’s message. Despite all of the crazy puppets and slightly cartoonish set, the story and themes ring true to Dicken’s story. There are often lines taken directly from the story. The songs add to the source material to further the themes and the plot as I previously stated. Most importantly, it conveys the message of Christmas. Henson worked very hard to make sure that every detail emphasizes the themes of goodwill toward fellow men and changing for the better. It also makes sure to deliver the themes in a way that makes it easy for a younger audience to understand without speaking down to them. It tells all creatures of all ages about the joys of compassion and caring for our fellow man!
What are your thoughts on The Muppet Christmas Carol? Which is your favorite Christmas Carol adaptation and why? Let me know in the comments below! After writing this post, I can’t get the songs from this movie out of my head. I guess I’m due for another rewatch! I am so excited to rewatch other holiday movies and read more holiday-themed books. If you have any movie or book suggestions, let me know in the comments. I hope all of you are staying safe and healthy during this holiday season. Thanks so much for reading everyone, and happy holidays!