I think we can all agree that The Muppet Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas film. I’ve watched it twice already this year and will inevitably watch it at least once more before it's actually Christmas Day, and I will admit that I do also have the soundtrack downloaded on my Spotify. It’s a brilliant film, and I would go so far as to say it’s objectively the best adaptation of Dickens’ novella.
First of all, part of the reason why A Christmas Carol remains popular in all its adaptations, whether Muppet or otherwise, is that it is a timeless tale which both warns about the negative consequences of greed and has a heart-warming happy ending; which puts readers and viewers alike in a cosy and festive mood. At its core, it’s a wholesome story that has been popular since its original publication in 1843 and remains popular today in its original form, as well as in the various adaptations, of which the Muppets is undeniably the best.
Also, The Muppet Christmas Carol is surprisingly accurate to the original novella, often quoting directly from Dickens’ text. For example, in an early scene the narrator, Gonzo as Charles Dickens, almost directly quotes the first sentence of the original text “Marley was dead: to begin with” only changing it slightly as the Muppets have two Marley ghosts, Jacob and Robert, as opposed to Dickens’ singular Jacob Marley. Similarly, the description of Ebenezer Scrooge as “a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!” is taken directly from Dickens’ text. I studied A Christmas Carol for GCSE English Literature and I may have watched The Muppet Christmas Carol the night before my exam; so I’m not saying I completely owe my A* to Kermit the Frog, but I like to think he helped, and if not he certainly made revision more entertaining.
Another positive for the Muppets is that the film has a very festive feel, it never fails to make me feel Christmassy. It’s become a bit of a tradition that I watch it with my mum in the run up to Christmas, we’ve already planned that we’ll watch it pretty much as soon as I get home from Uni for the holidays. My mum and I have a particular favourite scene which we’ve always loved, specifically the Marley and Marley scene where the two Marley ghosts haunt Michael Caine’s Scrooge; while singing to warn him of the three ghosts who’ll visit him later that night. I’m honestly not sure why we love it so much, but that scene will always bring back fond memories of childhood Christmases.
"I don’t think it’s possible to feel anything other than a warm, Christmassy joy while watching it."
It seems that a lot of people have similar traditions, many of my friends have also said that they’re planning to watch it with their families at home, everyone seems to agree that it’s the best adaptation and generally just a great film. Maybe part of the reason that everyone loves it is for the nostalgia we’ve all collectively attached to the movie. If it’s possible for a film to be cosy, The Muppet Christmas Carol is one of the cosiest films - I don’t think it’s possible to feel anything other than a warm, Christmassy joy while watching it. Likewise, a lot of our generation grew up watching the Muppets films and TV shows, and therefore attach a lot of nostalgia to the Muppets themselves, perhaps adding to why we all love their adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
The musical form and songs only add to the festive feel of the film, who doesn’t want to see Kermit the Frog ice-skating while singing about how there’s “only one more sleep ‘til Christmas”? It’s just so wholesome, especially the song called ‘It Feels Like Christmas’ which centres around the idea that “wherever you find love it feels like Christmas”, which is both a wholesome message and the central moral of the movie. The songs are just great too, not only do I have the whole soundtrack downloaded on my Spotify, but a handful of the songs are in my Christmas playlist too; Kermit and Miss Piggy sit alongside the likes of Wham and Mariah Carey, all classic Christmas songs in my opinion.
Overall, it’s clear that The Muppets have definitely made the best adaptation of Dickens’ novella, no other adaptation is as memorable. Don’t get me wrong there are some other good adaptations, but none of them are quite on the same level as The Muppets.