Wednesday, December 15, 2021

“Come In! And Know Me Better, Man!" | Jim Carrey (2009)

After his apocryphal fall from orbit at the end of Christmas Past's visit, Robert Zemeckis' Scrooge is still flat on the floor when the clock tolls One and he hears a distant chuckling that grows louder as the dark bedroom grows brighter. Scrooge looks to where the light is coming from and sees it twinkling and spilling around the edges of the parlor door. 

Once Scrooge has gotten to his feet, the door flies open on its own to reveal a golden lit room bountifully decorated with candles and garland. In addition to being more festive, the room is also much bigger and taller than it was when we last saw it. A variety of chiming clocks fill the air with sweet sounds as the Ghost's laugh gets still louder and more boisterous. And as the camera pans across, it finally reveals a mountain of food with the Ghost perched on top of it. 

The Ghost is so high above Scrooge that it's tough to get a sense of scale, but he certainly gives the impression of being enormous, both physically and spiritually. His horn-shaped torch is decorative, but doesn't have the usual, ridged texture of a cornucopia. It works though and the light from it is extremely bright. He's bare chested and has long, brown hair, though once again his holly crown has no icicles.

His green robe is also ornately decorated with embroidery, but the fur trim is light brown instead of white. And it's so long that we never see his feet and whether or not he's wearing any shoes. I peeked ahead and we don't even see his feet when he pulls back the robe to reveal Ignorance and Want. He has another robe underneath. Modest about his toes, this Ghost.

He's wearing the empty sheath and Scrooge even comments on it. Like the rest of this Ghost's clothing and accessories, there's a lot of detail on it and it looks quite old, but it's not rusted. When Scrooge points out that it's empty, the Ghost looks at it and seems surprised and shrugs. "Peace on Earth! Good will toward men!" I like that the movie pauses to explain that detail. It's not necessary to understanding what's going on, but if you're going to include the scabbard, as most versions do, you might as well acknowledge its symbolism.

I also like that when he talks about having 1800 older brothers, he adds, "Eighteen hundred and forty-two, to be exact." It's like we're getting helpful little annotations.

That said, though, I don't love this version of Christmas Present. Like the other Christmas Ghosts in the movie, it's also played by Jim Carrey, which is a gimmick. There's no reason for it in the story and he's not the best choice for the role. He looks like Jim Carrey in a wig and fake beard, his laugh is manic, and his half-hearted Scot accent isn't contributing anything.

Carrey's Scrooge continues to be strong though. He continues to be humble and respectful, even though he doesn't explicitly say anything about the lesson he learned from the previous ghost. "Spirit," he simply says, "Conduct me where you will."

So the Spirit laughs again and lowers the belt of his robe to the floor so that Scrooge can grab it. When Scrooge does, the belt lights up, the mountain of food begins to disappear, and the room changes in a way that's unique to this version. We'll save that to talk about next year though.

1 comment:

Caffeinated Joe said...

Yeah, not a fan, either. I'm sure some like it, but he just wasn't suited to the role - any of the roles - to me.


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