Few, if any, books can boast of so many different screen interpretations as “A Christmas Carol.” One of the most unusual versions has to be “The Muppet’s Christmas Carol,” released theatrically in 1992. With part of the characters played by familiar Muppet faces, and others by human beings, it is a strange mix of reality and fantasy that somehow works.
It is also the first screen version to have Dickens himself narrating the story… even if Dickens is played tongue-in-cheek by Gonzo. This brings the welcome addition of much of Dicken’s prose, heard throughout the film. The comical bits and asides that he and Rizzo the Rat sidekick add, supply much of the humor in the film.
Scrooge is played with aplomb by Michael Caine, and Steven Mackintosh portrays his nephew Fred. Kermit the Frog plays Bob Crachit, Miss Piggy as his wife Martha, Robin as Tiny Tim (in a moving portrayal), and Fozzie Bear as “Fozziwig.” The role of Marley’s ghost is split between the balcony hecklers Statler and Waldorf, as Bob and Jacob Marley.
In a wise move, the three Spirits are new Muppet characters created for the film. The Spirit of Christmas Past is a floating, other-worldly young girl, Christmas Present is an jolly, affable giant, and Christmas Future a silent specter with a large oversized, yet empty hood, in a nice creepy touch.
There is a remarkable undercurrent of spirituality that shines through, more overtly displayed than in any of the other more conventional films. The song “Bless Us All” invokes the blessing of God on their home, with thanksgiving for what they have expressed in the song “Thankful Heart,” which is reprised in the finale.
These are touching moments, and makes me wish that some of the others had been as open in expressing the Christian spirit so prevalent in the original story.
One amusing bit of information is that they originally planned on having the children be a hybrid of pig and frog, but realized this was too bizarre, and wisely made the girls to be pigs like Miss Piggy and the boys frogs.
Below is an article from the publication “Starlog” about the movie. Click on the pages below to open full-size; when done reading, click your browser’s “back” button to return to this page.