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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Holiday > Crime > British Classic > Supernatural > Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009/Disney Blu-ray 2D [Only] + DVD)

Disney’s A Christmas Carol (2009/Disney Blu-ray 2D [Only] + DVD)


Picture: A-/B     Sound: A-/B     Extras: B-     Film: B+



PLEASE NOTE: This is the 2D-only Blu-ray package and a continuation of our coverage of this release in the Blu-ray 3D format, which you can read more about at the link below after this text.



There have been countless interpretations of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol.  The story is a true classic and must be in the top ten tales of all time.  The story of a miser that has been given a second chance at life is one that has brought terms like Scrooge and Bah Humbug into our common vocabulary. And let’s not forget “God bless us everyone!”


Many have criticized this new Disney adaptation of A Christmas Carol as being nothing new; not adding anything like say A Muppet Christmas Carol or even Scrooged had in the past.  Disney’s A Christmas Carol, however, may have done more for the classic tale than most realize.  The story of course follows Ebenezer Scrooge on his journey through the past, present, and future; shown the way by three ominous specters.  The tale is one of redemption in which a man had lost his way, only to come out better than ever could have been predicted.  Whereas some may suggest it is a Christian, secular allegory; in the end it crosses of religions and boundaries to show we can all be better people and that it is all too easy to lose the meaning behind things.


Disney’s A Christmas Carol was shot completely with groundbreaking motion capture technology.  Essentially special cameras and computers are used, along with technologically advanced suits (worn by the actors) to capture every frown, smile, and motion the actors display.  Later what is caught on film is taken back to the production studio and is put back together as an amazing animation experience.  Similar technology was used on The Polar Express and Avatar to bring the features to life.  The actors have very little to work with at the time of filming, outside a few odd looking props, and mainly rely on their acting chops to create the film.  So all in all, the technological ability to even make this film is astonishing.  Referring back to fact that some suggest that this film adds nothing to the Dickens tale, this technology (more so than any rendition before) has allowed the tale as Dickens’ intended to come to life.  In fact there are scenes in this film that have NEVER been attempted in any other telling.  The ghosts appear in their full glory as Dickens described them; including the mode in which they show Scrooge his past, present, and future.  So from a candle-like Ghost of Christmas Past, to the Ghost of Christmas Present’s guiding torch it is all FINALLY there.  We see Scrooge rocket to the moon as he extinguishes the Ghost of Christmas Past and shrink to the size of a rat as he is terrorized by the dark carriage man.  It is all quite incredible.


Famous talents such as Jim Carrey (playing Scrooge and the ghosts), Gary Oldman (Bob Cratchit), Collin Firth (Scrooge’s Nephew), Bob Hoskins (Fezziwig, amongst others), and many more all lined up to perform in this film.  With the amount of time and hard work that goes into making these films, it is amazing anyone voluntarily makes them.  Overall, I found the film a great retelling of a classic and I am sure it will join the rotation of many other holiday films.


Along with the film itself being amazing, this new Blu-ray only furthers why it was great in the first place.  The picture is presented in a 1080p 2.40 X 1 High Definition that is AMAZINGLY crisp, clean and clear throughout.  The colors are vividly bright and the black levels are perfect; nothing getting muddled in the darkness.  Whereas as the characters never look 100% “real” (why would we want them to?) the image quality is insanely realistic from the Victorian backdrop to the flesh tones, everything is perfectly rendered.  There is a certain texture throughout the film which adds to the realism, coupled with perfect lighting/shadowing.  There were minor issues here and there that kept is from a “Pixar Perfect,” but the image quality is admirable never the less.  The sound quality is DTS-HD Master Audio is amazing, but the range I wasn’t too impressed with as the soundscape was no as immense as I was expecting.  The dialogue is as crisp as day and the soundtrack along with directionality is great, but for such a big production I was expecting more from sound design.


With the animation style and technology the DVD in this set looks wonderful, but simply can not compare to the picture clarity or vivid colors demonstrated on the Blu-ray.  Comparing side-by-side the DVD appears flat and lack the level of detail the Blu-ray has.  The audio production is also weak and even as the Blu-ray’s sound was not as expansive as I would have hoped, the DVD is even weaker.  The DVDs included in these 2 to 4 Disc sets are (let’s face it) to pull in the audience that has yet to adopt the Blu-ray format, saying “hey, maybe you don’t have it now, but you will one day.”


There are a number of extras available on this set, but some are annoyingly hosted by a rather jolly (obnoxious?) female cast member, ruining the appeal of even rewatching them:


Behind the Carol: The Full Motion Capture Experience – A Revealing Feature Length Picture in Picture Viewing Mode Captures it All


Countdown to Christmas Interactive Calendar – 25 Days of Holiday Surprises


Capturing Dickens: A Novel Retelling – Journey through the Creative Process and See How This Time-Traveling Holiday Ghost Story Came to Life


On Set with Sammi -A Kid’s Eye View of An “Anything But Average Day”


Deleted Scenes


Discover Blu-ray 3-D with Timon and Pumba


Mr. Scrooge Wild Ride

Discusses the decision to make the film in 3-d and how it influenced production decisions


Upcoming 3-D Disney Blu-rays

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Bolt, and (excitingly) A Nightmare Before Christmas



For coverage of the Blu-ray 3D edition, try this link:





-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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