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A Christmas Carol (2019 FX/BBC)

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What on earth am I watching?  I missed the first hour; but the "Ghosts" just started visiting.  I don't mind remakes, I don't mind some darkness.  But this is just awful.  Or, as Charles Barkley says, "This is turrible" and I would like to know who thought this was a good idea.  Is it just me? I don't really want a sappy, Hallmark version of A Christmas Carol.  I would like to not see it as a horror show.  But no one is forcing me to watch it...it may be someone else's Cup of Tea. 

 

Edited by Kemper
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I really enjoyed this version. And The Christmas Carol is my favorite Christmas story.   I thought they fleshed out why Scrooge was the way he was very well.   Most of the other versions gloss over his childhood but this version decided to go hella dark and say exactly why Scrooge was a grade a asshole but then outright said it didn’t give him an excuse.   The past and present stories were very well done.   I also liked that Scrooge didn’t outright change.  He did one good thing but that didn’t automatically make him a better man and the show acknowledged that but it left room open for more good to come of it.    

Edited by Chaos Theory
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There are SPOILERS ahead for those who haven't seen it, although I can't recommend it.  This was almost completely unrecognizable as A Christmas Carol.  No proper 3 spirits (Past, Present ("Come in and Know me Better, man!") and Christmas Yet To Come.  We're supposed to believe Mary Crachit has some magic powers and conjurs up the spirits.  They come over a period of 3 nights.  In the novel, they came all in one night.  This version has Scrooge being sexually molested at boarding school and degrading Mary Crachit.  No Belle, no Fezziwig, changing his sister's name from Fanny to Lotte, no reunion with his nephew Fred.  They made Tiny Tim an obnoxious brat.  Virtually 95% of the classic lines from the story are missing.  Who decided this was worth making?  It was an abomination.

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Tedious.  Interminable. Dull.  Boring.  But ever so daring and original that Scrooge says "fuck"!  Not.  This was a wasted effort and adding so-called realism and grit does not improve a classic.

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I hated this.

Granted, I didn't see all of it, but I saw most and what I saw was godawful.

It was, as written above, barely recognizable as "A Christmas Carol".

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Did anyone watch the FX A Christmas Carol?   If so, I have questions that need answers.   So if you watched, please tell me what the deal was with Mrs. Cratchit?   

Spoiler

Had she already paid for Tiny Tim's operation so Scrooge never did?  Did that mean Tim   could walk already which caused him to drown later?  The ending also seemed to imply Mrs. Cratchit was the one who called on the spirts?  Did she?  And why?  

I doubt I'll watch this again, the lighting was way too dark, making it difficult to see, and frankly was depressing.  But I do want to know what the heck was going on.  I must say, it was the most different interpretation of A Christmas Carol I've ever seen.  

Edited by MissAlmond
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I really liked this version.  

So much better than the cheesiness this story is usually filled with. 

I liked that this was dark and not for kids.

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They should have changed the title to- well, something that wasn't 'A Christmas Carol'.

I'm really repeating what 'Suzn' above said, but this was gimmicky/fashionably woke, and seemed to completely miss the entire point of the (IMO) perfectly written original. If you want 'dark', go back and actually read Dickens!

 

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1 hour ago, sempervivum said:

They should have changed the title to- well, something that wasn't 'A Christmas Carol'.

I'm really repeating what 'Suzn' above said, but this was gimmicky/fashionably woke, and seemed to completely miss the entire point of the (IMO) perfectly written original. If you want 'dark', go back and actually read Dickens!

 

Yes, exactly.  It is not fluffy and overly sweet, but it has depth and heart.

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I've never seen A Christmas Carol as overly fluffy and sweet. It's a cruel old man, being visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve. Spooky, with warnings about what can happen if he doesn't change. It isn't sweet until the end, and that's one man waking up happier and with more hope. He changes overnight, but everything else doesn't - it's a start, and a chance for it to change. 

Edited by Anela
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1 hour ago, Anela said:

I've never seen A Christmas Carol as overly fluffy and sweet. It's a cruel old man, being visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve. Spooky, with warnings about what can happen if he doesn't change. It isn't sweet until the end, and that's one man waking up happier and with more hope. He changes overnight, but everything else doesn't - it's a start, and a chance for it to change. 

My favorite version, 1951 with Alistair Sim, is not fluffy and sweet.  Scrooge earns his happy ending and his change is a relief.

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1 hour ago, Suzn said:

My favorite version, 1951 with Alistair Sim, is not fluffy and sweet.  Scrooge earns his happy ending and his change is a relief.

My favourites are the 1935 version, Patrick Stewart's, or the Muppet Christmas Carol. 🙂

 

 

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Oh, and I didn't watch this FX/BBC version, because I didn't like the trailer. I didn't think I'd be missing anything this time. I need to cheer up a bit, not be more horrified. 

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They created a character who was irredeemably evil and then proceeded to redeem him because magic.  Dickens was dark enough, and he didn’t need all of these embellishments.

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I quite liked it, but I think it needed more time.  We spent time with Marley that would have been better spent with the three Ghosts. (I don't understand why the writers told Scrooge that he'd be visited on successive nights.  By the time the third Ghost was finished, Christmas would have been over.)

I missed the "decrease the surplus population" line, and I really wanted to see Guy Pierce toss a kid some coin to go get the big goose, and I wanted to see the old women fighting over the bed hangings.

I'm okay with the reveal of childhood sexual abuse to show how Scrooge got the way he was.  I'm no psychologist, but I can see an abuse survivor looking at wealth as a form of security.  "If I'm rich, no one can hurt me again."  It would have helped to see more of Scrooge's early life.  What happened after his sister took him home, his time with Fezziwig, his engagement to Elizabeth, etc.  We just didn't get enough background.  Or maybe we did -- I forgot about Erasmus the Rat.  Let's assume this Scrooge's father was cruel to the end, unlike the other TV fathers.

Rewatched the Reginald Owen version today, and it was lacking too.  There was nothing to show how he became so grasping.  We're told that he became obsessed with money, but we were given no reason.  Nothing on the broken engagement.  And he was ready to change before the first Ghost was finished with him.

The Alastair Sim version (my favorite) at least shows Scrooge losing the love of his life.  If I remember right, she leaves him because he's obsessed with money.  That could make an already stubborn man even more stubborn.  His transformation is the best, IMHO -- his face totally changes when he smiles.

I haven't seen the modern versions -- maybe one of them has a more complete story.  It's been years since I read the novella.

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I watched the first 40 minutes, and I don't think I'll finish it based on these comments. I really missed Dickens' dialogue, and the pace was too slow. And one of the cliches I hate most is "child [sexual] abuse as an explanation for everything." We don't need it to see how Scrooge became such a horrible person; it was enough that he grew up poor, motherless, and rejected by his father.

The one thing I liked was the hope offered for Marley's redemption as well as Scrooge's. 

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For those who watched it on FX, how long did it actually last? I have 3 hrs and about 6 minutes recorded and it cut off for me around the time of Scrooge and Jacob Marley in the cemetery. About how much more was left? It didn't seem to get repeated either, so I'm left hoping it gets streamed on Hulu or just not watching it

Edit: Looks like it is on Hulu, so never mind

Edited by DanaK

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On 12/19/2019 at 11:01 PM, Chaos Theory said:

I also liked that Scrooge didn’t outright change.  He did one good thing but that didn’t automatically make him a better man and the show acknowledged that but it left room open for more good to come of it.    

I haven't seen this yet but I saw a few scenes and got the gist.  I have it on DVR.  Looks like they tried to make it into a more shocking version, or more modern edgy.  I thought the story was fine as it was, it's one of the best things ever written, I think.

Your comment above is interesting though.  The story is good as a redemption story, but it's really hard to wake up in the morning and be a completely different person.  It's probably more realistic to take a few steps in the right direction and hope to build momentum.

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