Thursday, December 14, 2017
“Your Reclamation, Then” | Scrooge McDuck (1983)
In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Scrooge seemed like a believer when he was talking to Marley, but his tone quickly changes once Marley's gone. He searches his room, and finding nothing, he grumbles, "Spirits." That doesn't necessarily mean that he no longer believes in Marley's ghost, but maybe he thinks that Marley was wrong about the other visitors. At any rate, he goes to bed with a final, "Humbug!"
He does fall asleep and we get a nice POV shot of something bouncing into the room and landing on Scrooge's nightstand. It's Jiminy Cricket, who raps his umbrella on the bells of Scooge's clock. That's all the chiming we'll get, but this Marley never made any predictions about what time the spirits would show up. In fact, Scrooge's clock says that it's not quite ten minutes after midnight. So no waiting around 'til one this time.
Jiminy makes an okay Spirit of Christmas Past. He's tiny (something that Scrooge comments on), but his real advantage is his personality and the role he's known for in Pinocchio. It's in character for him to lecture about morality, which will be a major part of his job in the coming scenes as he points out the lessons that Scrooge should have learned in his past. Unlike some of the other characters in this adaptation, Jiminy's look isn't modified to represent Dickens' version. There's not so much as a holly branch. In fact, the only modification to Jiminy's traditional look is that his medal now says "Ghost of Christmas Past - Official" instead of "Official Conscience."
Scrooge and the Spirit's conversation is almost entirely changed from Dickens. They briefly debate the importance of kindness before Jiminy declares that Scrooge didn't always undervalue the trait. As Scrooge tries to ignore him and go back to sleep, the Spirit hops over to the window and opens it. The snowy breeze gets Scrooge out of bed as the Spirit announces that they're going to visit Scrooge's past. Scrooge worries that he'll fall, but the Spirit hops in his hand and tells him to "just hold on." Then he opens his umbrella and flies out the window, dragging Scrooge behind him like Mjolnir pulling Thor. Well, maybe not so gracefully as that.
There's no touching Scrooge's heart and all together it appears that Scrooge has backslid in this scene. He seemed willing to change with Marley, but he doesn't respect this little Spirit. He's going to need some more convincing.
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This is my son's favorite version of the tale. Jiminy is a good choice for this role, they really did a great job picking the Disney characters in this take. And the film itself does a great job getting the heart of the tale across. Wonder how many kids have had this version as their gateway to the original Dickens tale?
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