Fan vs. First-Timer: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Updated: Jan 20, 2022
We watched the Christmas movie for the first time and the 101st time, these are our thoughts.
Disney really does not do a lot of Christmas movies, which is quite surprising since they’re all about magic. And what is more magical than Christmas? Yes, they have the Santa Clause, which is great, and they acquired Home Alone, which is a classic, but as a kid I never turned to Disney Christmas movies. I was more enamored with A Year Without a Santa Claus and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. So, I had never watched The Muppet Christmas Carol until recently.
Let’s start out with one thing… the story of A Christmas Carol is vastly overdone. While I hadn’t seen The Muppet Christmas Carol, aren’t all retellings of the story the exact same? The whole time I was watching it all I could think about was “I remember watching A Christmas Carol story for Cruella de Vil in one of the 101 Dalmatians episodes.” And not only is A Christmas Cruella a thing, but there’s also Mickey’s Christmas Carol and Disney’s Jim Carey remake of A Christmas Carol — and that’s just the Disney versions. So yeah, we all know the story.
The thing that sets The Muppet Christmas Carol apart from the other retellings — and in a good way — is the songs. I’m a sucker for a musical number, as we saw in Muppets Haunted Mansion, and the Christmas Carol songs were really good. The songs hit all the emotions and tell the story in a different way. Plus, some of them remind me of Broadway numbers — like “Scrooge” definitely could have been pulled straight out of Les Mis.
I found it a little odd that they cast a human as the main character. While there’s not really a good Muppet to play Scrooge, it feels weird to only see Muppets half the time in a Muppet movie. And Miss Piggy has such a tiny role — how did that go over with her? Yes Michael Caine is always a good choice, even though the acting in this movie felt very forced — but I’ll just chalk that up to the Muppets style.
I feel like A Christmas Carol is just a slow story in general, but at least The Muppet Christmas Carol added the songs, and a handful of good Muppet jokes.
Overall, I can see the nostalgia of this movie. If you watched it as a kid — like Megan — you still love it now. I’m sure if someone watched A Year Without a Santa Claus or Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town for the first time as an adult they would be less-than impressed too. The Muppet Christmas Carol wasn’t bad, but it’s just not one I can see putting on my Christmas movie rotation.
I remember the first Christmas my brother discovered I had never seen The Muppet Christmas Carol. I was then informed it was a classic and we watched it — immediately. As a young kid, I instantly fell in love with it. Its humor-infused narration style mixed with Michael Caine acting had me hooked.
Bailey isn’t wrong, A Christmas Carol has been told many times but using the Muppets gives the story a new spin, including some very unique ghosts. My personal favorite is the ghost of Christmas present — how can you not love that guy? I can never get enough of the “Charles Dickens” and Rizzo the Rat dynamic that not only moves the story along but has some solid jokes.
Now let’s talk about the actual BOPS in this film. The music really brings this movie to the next level. The “Scrooge” number tells the audience what we already know — Scrooge sucks. But, you can’t help but enjoy watching every Muppet imaginable in town singing about Scrooge getting worse, every day, in every way. My personal favorite: “Marley and Marley” should not be slept on. I mean two Muppets wearing their chains singing about the misdeeds they’ve done in life? I am here for it. “It Feels Like Christmas” is bound to get anyone in the holiday spirit and it features my personal favorite: the ghost of Christmas present — did I already say that?
The heart and center of this film is the wonderful Michael Caine. Bailey pointed out that having Caine as one of the only humans surrounded by Muppets is odd but I am going to have to disagree. Caine is so committed to seeing the Muppets as real people which made the story feel real. I never thought I could see someone go through such a convincing emotional journey while interacting with Muppets for 85 minutes.
As it turns out, my brother was right all along. The Muppet Christmas Carol is a classic and is amongst the Christmas movies I watch every year. It’s fun, heartwarming, and will have you singing in no time.