A Christmas Carol (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Robert Zemeckis extends the performance-capture 3D technology he deployed on Beowulf to this version of the Dickens story, and if there's nothing here quite as eye-catching as Grendel's mum (Angelina Jolie in heels), it scores high on swooping visuals and meticulous draughtsmanship.

Jim Carrey is rather good as the flint-hearted Scrooge, every contour of his face quivering with cupidity, though Carrey's Yorkshire accent for the Ghost of Christmas Present is more notable for its enthusiasm than its accuracy. Gary Oldman as his meek clerk Bob Cratchit properly anchors the tale in Dickensian Cockney. The camerawork is superb, whether soaring over the vertiginous rooftops of Victorian London during Scrooge's long night of the soul or else focusing upon the wobbling candleflame at which poor Cratchit tries to warm his fingers. The depth of detail impresses, even if the last-gasp conversion to altruism seldom does.

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