Is ‘A Christmas Carol’ Any Good?

You know A Christmas Carol. I know A Christmas Carol. Have I ever read Charles Dickens’ book? No, I can’t say I have. I have never read any Dickens. I don’t necessarily intend to ever do so. The man was paid by the word, and I mean that literally. Even if you haven’t read the book, you have likely seen at least part of an adaptation. There have been so many of them. Be it on TV or in theaters, A Christmas Carol is as adapted a story as there is. Here’s the thing, though. I am not sure I have seen a good adaption of it, and I think it may not be all that good of a story.

That’s weird, because it’s a Christmas story with ghosts! You know the drill. Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old man. He’s visited by ghosts. He has a change of heart. Christmas geese are bought. God bless us everyone. The end. It’s also all very Victorian and drab, by and large. There are stories set in that era that are good, but I don’t know how many of them are from that era. The whole costumed drama thing isn’t my bag. Plus, for a story involving ghosts, A Christmas Carol sometimes lacks in incident.

The story is a little slow. Even George C. Scott and Patrick Stewart haven’t been able to elevate the material. I tried to watch A Muppets Christmas Carol a couple years ago and couldn’t finish it. The closest to a good adaption out there is probably Scrooged, which is definitely a departure. It’s mean spirited and violent, and it has Bill Murray. He doesn’t play Scrooge, though, but a Scrooge analog. Also, it’s set in a contemporary era and in the world of TV.

That’s really all A Christmas Carol has done. It’s given us a language and a framework to consider. It’s allowed for parodies we can understand. You can watch, say, an episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo that is a riff on A Christmas Carol and appreciate it. On the other hand, that shows me there is meat on the bones, but usually it doesn’t come to fruition. Dickens’ tale may be iconic, but that doesn’t mean it’s all that gripping. I guess what I’m saying is…Bah, humbug?

Chris Morgan
Author: Chris Morgan

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