The Muppet Christmas Carol is an older remake in a long tradition of films based on Charles Dickens’ immortal story but survives among others in popularity. Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett in the Guardian. December 2020.
Forget It’s a Wonderful Life. Forget Miracle on 34th Street. Forget (please God, forget) The Holiday. There is only one definitive Christmas movie, and that is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Not only is it the best Christmas film, but it is the best screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens novella – though this has had the unfortunate side-effect of convincing a generation of children that Marley had a brother called Robert.
“The Marleys were dead, to begin with,” that’s how Gonzo, our self-professed “omniscient” narrator (this film really doesn’t talk down to children), begins the metanarrative. His companion Rizzo the rat, meanwhile, is mainly “here for the food”, and says what we are all thinking: “A blue, furry Charles Dickens who hangs out with a rat?” Yes, indeed, that is the setup. In a postmodern stroke of genius, Rizzo acts as a sort of Greek chorus with a New York accent, enduring a series of slapstick mishaps that include being set on fire, thrown from windowsills, and falling down a chimney on to a red-hot goose.