A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Charles Dickens immortal classic has been given a new shine and polish in this latest incarnation. Patrick Stewart (Capt. Jean Luc-Picard) is Ebenezer Scrooge. A crotchety stingy curmudgeon of a man who has made making and keeping money his number one priority. If it has nothing to do with making money, Scrooge wants nothing to do with it. Christmas is one holiday that Mr. Scrooge particularly despises. Every year he scares the holiday joy out of any and all around! Never failing however is the love of his nephew. Knowing the response before the question, Fred always comes to wish his uncle not only a merry Christmas but to also extend the annual invitation to Christmas dinner. Every year the same response. This year however, Christmas will be a little different for Ebenezer Scrooge. Upon returning home on Christmas Eve he is visited by the spirit of his late partner, Jacob Marley. Morley informs Scrooge that this is his last chance at redemption. This evening he will be visited by three spirits. Each of which attempting to impart the need for change within the life of Ebenezer Scrooge before it is everlastingly too late. This is a Christmas classic that has stood the test of time. Every time it is retold, a new element is added. Here Patrick Stewart provides an incredible performance to an already incredible story!
The Dolby Digital stereo platform is quite full and perfectly balanced. While there are no surround effects to speak of the audio is still very well presented. The dialogue is clean and the soundtrack for the film is pretty incredible! The film was produced by TNT (Turner Network Television). As such it's presented in a full frame format. The colors are rich and full. The transfer is so well done that in the colder scenes of the film…ie..snowfalling/outdoors, you can really feel a chill about you as you are watching these scenes. The transfer is impeccable. There were no signs of pixellation or chroma noise evident throughout the whole of the print. For a full frame TV presentation, it's an incredible transfer. There are a great many black scenes throughout the film and they are very true and exceedingly black.
The extras included are two roughly five-minute segments entitled "Behind the scenes with Patrick Stewart" and "Remaking a classic". They show not much for their time but cast just enough information the viewers' way to peak your interest. Additionally, there is a trailer for the film, which is more of a promo for the VHS/DVD release of the film than it's actual initial run. The usual static cast/crew profiles are included to round out the extras for the disc.
Patrick Stewart played this role onstage for 10 years and has an incredible vantage point from which to play this character. That having been said, Patrick Stewart is easily one of the most under recognized actors in American cinema. Most know him as the Captain of the Enterprise in Star Trek: Then Next Generation but his skills go so far beyond that role it's amazing! While most of the versions of this film are very well done, I would have to say that this current incarnation is definitely one of the best. From start to finish, it's captivating and excellently produced! Highly Recommended