Dan's DVD/Blu-ray Review: The Muppet Christmas Carol

- The Muppet Christmas Carol (Disney)

Rated G.

Starring Michael Caine and Steven Mackintosh, with voices and puppetry by Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson, Frank Oz, David Rudman, Don Austen, Jessica Fox, Robert Tygner.

Written by Jerry Juhl, based on the novel by Charles Dickens.

Directed by Brian Henson.



There are many, many movie versions of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol, but only one has the unique stamp of Jim Henson's Muppets on it. The Muppet Christmas Carol is being released this week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its original theatrical release in 1992.

Michael Caine plays Ebeneezer Scrooge, the grumpy miser who subjects his sole employee Bob Cratchitt (Kermit the Frog - voiced by Steve Whitmire) to long hours and little pay, while constantly grumbling about the oncoming Christmas holiday. The story is narrated by Charles Dickens (Gonzo - voiced by David Goelz) and his sidekick Rizzo the Rat (Whitmire).

The rest of the film stays true to Dickens' original tale, as Scrooge shuns all charity and is then visited by the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, culminating in a change of heart and an abundance of Christmas spirit shared with Cratchitt and his family.

Several beloved Muppet characters play parts in the story, including Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) as Mrs. Cratchitt, Fozzie Bear, Bunson and Beaker, Animal and others.

The Muppet Christmas Carol was a very significant film for the Henson franchise. It was the first Muppet movie released after the untimely death of Jim Henson in 1990, and proved that the franchise would live on. It took a little getting used to Whitmire's voice as Kermit the Frog, since Henson himself had always taken care of that, but The Muppet Christmas Carol proves that Henson's great characters could go on without him and have thrived ever since.

The Muppet Christmas Carol is a delightful version of the the Dickens story, and the Muppet style of humor makes the story a little more accessible to to kids while supplying enough humor for adults.

DVD/Blu-ray Extras:

- The 'Disney Intermission" feature allows audiences to watch and "cluck along" to holiday songs performed by the Muppets Chickens.

- Audio commentary by Muppets (in voice character), including Kermit, Rizzo, Gonzo and others - reflecting on their "personal" experiences while making the film.

- Frogs, Pigs, and Humbug: Unwrapping a New Holiday Classic - A behind the scenes short documentary on the making of The Muppet Christmas Carol, hosted by director Brian Henson, Gonzo and Rizzo.

- Blooper Reel.

- Pepe Profiles Gonzo: "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo" - another short documentary that looks at the "myth, the legend" of the Great Gonzo, hosted by Pepe the King Prawn.

- Christmas Around the World, another short documentary hosted by Gonzo and Rizzo.

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