Sunday, December 22, 2013

Scrooged (Richard Donner, 1988) Review

I'm going to find myself reviewing some version of A Christmas Carol, aren't I. I reviewed The Muppets Christmas Carol last year and now find myself looking at a more modern interpretation of the story (well...more 80s version). Scrooged is probably the most unique of the adaptations since there is no Ebenezer Scrooge, no Jacob Marley, no Tiny Tim and so on. It uses it's own characters and setting however it loosely follows the story. Does it still work though? Let's find out.

Frank Cross (Bill Murray) is cynical, selfish and all round unpleasant president of a television broadcast company which is currently planning their adaptation of A Christmas Carol. Frank is met by the ghost (or rather, zombie like corpse) of his mentor Lew Hayward (John Forsythe) who warns him off three ghosts coming to visit him over the course of the next couple of days. Frank reluctantly goes along with it as the ghosts try to make Frank a better man.

The most notable thing the film offers, probably a result of it's Oscar nomination, is how good the make-up is. The ghosts become memorable as a result (Ghost of Christmas Past and Lew Hayward look especially good). I also love the design of the Ghost of Christmas Future which has the traditional Grim Reaper look but with a TV screen for a face for sake of irony and uniqueness. It also is quite freaky at times. For example in the original story, Marley just spoke to Scrooge but here, Hayward scares the life out of Frank. It's much darker than any interpretation that I've seen yet...which makes the film much more memorable.

Bill Murray is his usual self in this film so that should give you a good idea of what kind of performance he brings but I can't get enough of Bill Murray so I'm fine with it. One of the most memorable performances in this film is Bobcat Goldthwait as one of the workers Frank fires in the first scene. He was very enjoyable to watch along with the actors who portray the ghosts. The humour is good but I think it isn't really a film for all audiences. I can see some people thinking it's a pretty stupid movie but I enjoyed it enough.

Scrooged is an interesting interpretation on the classic story and lends itself to great make-up work, good humour and an enjoyable cast. While I can't really recommend it to everyone, I will say that if you enjoy Bill Murray's other works such as Ghostbusters or Groundhog Day (both of which I have previously reviewed) then I would say have a look at this one. Well, join me on Christmas Eve where we take a look at our last Christmas film this year...and it's freaking awesome.

It looks good and offers good humour with Bill Murray's typical performance.

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