By Elizabeth C. Bunce
Audiences have loved Charles Dickens’s yuletide ghost story, A Christmas Carol, for 171 years, and it’s been committed to film at least 50 times. It’s hard to dispute the status of 1951’s Scrooge starring Alastair Sim, or surpass Patrick Stewart’s masterly performance as the cruel miser in the 1999 television adaptation. But for annual, feel-good holiday fun, our money is on The Muppet Christmas Carol.
Released in 1992 and representing the first of several retellings produced by the zany puppets & crew, The Muppet Christmas Carol also boasts a strong human cast. Most notable, of course, is Michael Caine (Batman Begins, Get Carter) as Ebenezer Scrooge, in a turn that is just the right balance of humbug and humor.
The Muppet version brings all the elements you expect from A Christmas Carol, from dead-as-a-doornail business partner Marley, to Tiny Tim asking God to bless us, everyone… but with wonderful Muppet twists. All your favorite Muppets are here, as well, in their expected roles: Kermit the Frog as put-upon clerk Bob Cratchitt (with nephew Robin in the roll of Tim); Miss Piggy as Mrs. Cratchitt, naturally; and even 1990’s standard duo Gonzo and Rizzo, taking a meta-fiction approach as tour-guide-to-the-tale Charles Dickens and a skeptical sidekick.