Sunday, 20 January 2013

Scrooged (1988)

Tis the season folks! so here's an oldie, but a goodie for ya...

I can't believe this was made in 88! My god that's a long time ago and I remember when it came out. We all know the plot here I should think, the classic Dickens tale revamped and modified for the modern era...well the 80's.

Straight off the bat this is a classic film based around a classic tale. Like the 'Muppet Christmas Carol' its one of the best versions of Dickens fable around and really gets you in the Xmas spirit. I always loved the title for a start, such a simple idea yet really original in the way its been slightly tweaked.

I never knew that Danny Elfman did the musical score for this either, as I watched this again recently and the film started you hear this typical Elfman score, 'Batman Returns/Beetlejuice' type of thing. You know what I mean...that kind of spooky, gothic, Halloween-ish tune accompanied by a young choir to give that crispy old English Xmas atmosphere. These days that typical Elfman score is a bit samey I'll admit but it always works.

The film is so so dated now but you gotta love that 80's look n feel right? The old Gordon Gecko style high flying business corporate world with its glossy offices, greasy suits and large plastic looking technology hehe. Murray is the perfect cast for this concept, the film was made for him (probably was) as he uses his deadpan, wry, dry stinging humour to really create a sleazy, immoral, disreputable, executive suit wearing Scrooge.

Of course he's not called Scrooge here, the whole film doesn't really mention or use any wording that refers to the old tale (well if you don't count the in-movie plot). This is merely a clever little recreation using the basic story but setting it in the business world. What's really great is the effects and general visuals still hold up today, they aren't hugely overdone effects but simply utilizing makeup and the odd bluescreen. The three main ghosts really add to the film with their performances. The Ghost of Christmas Past (Johansen) easily being the best for me as a dirty, grumpy, pug ugly NY cab driver who shouts abuse at other road users, smokes, probably drinks and generally acts as if he's just sobering up.

The Ghost of Christmas Present (Kane) is close behind with her fantastic performance as a sort of bitchy, spoilt, pixie-sized fairy with violent tendencies. Despite her delicate appearance in a kind of little girls Halloween pink fairy costume complete with tiny wings and lots of sparkly glitter, she acts like a bully. The swing from softly spoken fairy to a swift kick in the balls is quite amusing if childish.

The Ghost of Christmas Future is a nice bit of visualisation and simple effects. A large man in a suit approach with some puppet work and a TV screen for a face, to make him seem more modernised I guess. Didn't really see enough of this guy I reckon and he could of been a bit more creepy really, but the sequence where his large hooded face looms up behind Frank across his multiple TV screens is brilliantly done. There he looked good.

The best ghost visually is probably Lew Hayward who is Frank's old boss who comes back to warn him of his pending situation. A great bit of makeup and prosthetic work which really does look real haha loved his snapping arm moment complete with plumes of dry dusty decomposition.

Alongside many other quirky characters there is Glover as Brice Cummings who epitomises the image of an 80's office type and complete arse kissing suck up, love it!. You know he afters Frank's job and that makes him such a good character.

The end to the film does get a bit too vomit inducing for me, never really liked how it all gets so mushy and almost turns into a 'behind the scenes' piece. Frank breaks the fourth wall in the end and it kinda spoils the film even though its a unique thing to do in a major movie. Up to the very end the film is really enjoyable and chock full of spine tingling atmosphere with great performances, its just a shame the finale goes off my opinion.

'Yule love it!'