Let your ghost from Christmas past, present, and future take you on a journey through the best A Christmas Carol adaptations from Charles Dickens classic novel.
Christmas is almost here, and that means long queues to buy gifts, Christmas carols everywhere you go, strange and creepy Santas in public places, and eggnog-flavored foods and drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I love them all; they’re the real Christmas spirit of Capitalism. Naturally, along with the Christmas spirit come lots of festive stories everywhere and, of course, these include tons and tons of A Christmas Carol adaptations. Charles Dickens’ short novel is the main origin of the traditions we still follow, and since we all have a little Scrooge in us, it’s always good to remember the cheesy yet important moments of the festivity.
In case you know nothing about life, A Christmas Carol tells the story of a bitter and cruel old man who’s visited by three ghosts who take him on a journey to the past, present, and future to help him change his ways. With that in mind, let us take you on a journey through time to appeal to your inner Scrooge and understand the true meaning of Christmas through emotional (and in some cases, very funny) stories.
The Ghosts of Christmas Past
First, let’s look at some cool adaptations from years past that take us to other periods in history. This might’ve sounded a bit boring, but our Ghost of Christmas Past selection is actually quite funny and entertaining.
A Flintstone's Christmas Carol (1994)
We have to start with what’s perhaps the weirdest adaptation of them all. It’s The Flintstones' Christmas special that, naturally, takes place in our favorite prehistoric city, Bedrock. However, though we see Fred as Scrooge and all our beloved characters retelling the story, the weird part is that they’re actually dressed in nineteenth-century garments, which makes it that much more irreverent and funny. Run to your couch and get comfy to see Fred Scrooge reform himself with a loud and clear Yabba-dabba-doo!
A Christmas Carol (2009) Dir. Robert Zemeckis
This one is one of the best contemporary adaptations of Dickens' classic, and with Jim Carrey as Scrooge, you can expect a really entertaining film. This animated version is so well-made: with amazing visuals, a great script, and endearing moments, this film will definitely give you the vibes of the original text and make you feel like you’ve traveled to experience a nineteenth-century Christmas.
A Christmas Carol (1999) Dir. David Jones
Talking about very accurate and faithful adaptations of the classic, we have to mention this TV movie special with the one and only Patrick Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge. Our beloved Professor X had already played the part in a couple of Broadway and West End shows, so the movie was just the culmination of his personification. Let’s be honest, the movie is kind of cheesy compared to others and the novel, but it’s a delight to see Patrick Stweart’s performance.
The Ghosts of Christmas Present
Our next visitor’s movie selection is a bit strange and less traditional than the ones above. So, all of these were made more than ten years ago, which would be considered ancient history. However, the point of this section is to talk about A Christmas Carol adaptations that are set in the time they were produced, capice? Well, let’s look at our less traditional selection.
Scrooged (1988) Dir. Richard Donner
We have to start with this eighties hit, starring the hilarious Bill Murray. The movie tells the story of Frank Cross, a TV network executive who’s just a jerk when treating his subordinates and, basically, every single person he comes across. As the story goes, Cross is visited by three spirits who will make him realize what a horrible person he has become. However, the great thing about this movie is actually the comedic element that really makes us relate to this modern Scrooge.
Ms. Scrooge (1997) Dir. John Korty
This made-for-television movie is a classic, Hallmark-like, cheesy story, but it’s actually quite smart how they reverse the gender roles of the classic to adapt it into this contemporary version of Ebenita Scrooge. The film does this major change in the plot to tackle subjects like gender inequality and racism. It’s a nice alternative, if you want to see something different yet with the right amount of endearing.
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009) Dir. Mark Waters
This classic chick flick is actually one of the smartest adaptations of Dickens’ novel. With the same message and structure, here we have the story of a womanizer who has to review his life and possible future to make amends and accept that behind his reckless ways there’s a simple and kind man who only wants to be loved. Also, it has so many great and funny moments that make it perfect for a lazy Sunday.
The Ghosts of Christmas Future
Of course, there’s no good inner journey without a good look at what’s yet to come, and since we can’t do this (yet) what best way to get the vibes than going to those beloved imaginary and futuristic shows.
A Jetson Christmas Carol (1985)
Since our prehistoric friends got a spot in our show, I couldn’t help but add our favorite residents from Orbit City. In this Jetsons' special episode we see how poor George and his coworkers have to endure the horrible treatment of their boss Mr. Spacely. This guy hates the holidays so much that he ends up making his subordinates stay late on Christmas to ruin their night. All in all, it's a pretty faithful adaptation with futuristic and funny quirks (like the ghosts being machines).
Dr. Who: A Christmas Carol (2010)
This Christmas special features Matt Smith, The Doctor, in a conundrum, when he lands in an unknown planet owned by a grumpy and petulant man called Kazran Sardick. This man has the controls to deactivate a spire that’s affecting the atmosphere. To convince him, The Doctor decides to pull a Scrooge-like scheme to make Sardick a kinder person. You can’t ever go wrong with Dr. Who and their Christmas specials, if you ask me.
Devil’s Due: Star Trek: The Next Generation (1991)
To finish our time-traveling experience filled with Scrooges and ghosts, we have an ultimate sci-fi favorite, Star Trek, with one of our previous Ebenezers, Sir Patrick Stewart. This highly strange episode starts with Data performing a scene from A Christmas Carol for Jean-Luc Picard. The scene ends, and Picard congratulates Data for his performance. Suddenly, the Enterprise receives news from the Federation Science Station that the planet is in terrible chaos. From this moment on, we see some classic adventures with this iconic crew.
We’ve finally come back from our journey, and I hope you have thought about on your own life and are now willing to be a kinder and humble person. Or, at least, that you’ve had an awesome time, watching these very cool adaptations from the classic story we all love.
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