So Disney spends $200 million on the production
of screenwriter/director Robert Zemeckis' computer-animated adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," a story of redemption, reconciliation and forgiveness proven to have strong universal appeal. And what do they let Zemeckis go and do in their big-budgetted holiday tentpole aimed at families excited about celebrating this most holy of seasons...?
Add his own piece of dialogue trashing organized religion.
First off, I want Zemeckis to know he didn't get me. Oh, hell yes I was ready for it. After a decade of watching this industry crap on its own art and box office in order to childishly get off on insulting their customers, you need not be a genius to understand that there was no way a story with a number of overt positive Christian moments could survive intact.
Oh, Zemeckis gave it everything he had to lull me into thinking this one
was safe: A soundtrack loaded with classic carols about "Christ being born" and all that, but I'm not Charlie Brown with the football, and sure enough...
Because I was scribbling notes, there's some paraphrasing here, but the set up for the leftist sucker shot went a little something like this...
Scrooge (the voice of Jim Carrey) and The Ghost of Christmas Present fly high above the city. The soundtrack blares a beautiful version of "Christ is Born in Bethlehem" and then they hover for a beat near a large lovely cross set atop a church steeple. Scrooge says, "Quite beautiful," and they fly on.
At this point you can practically hear Zemeckis chuckling as he imagines all us racist, tea bagging, Christianists smiling warmly ... right before he strikes.
Scrooge and the spirit hover above a bakery, and then from completely out of nowhere comes the following:
Scrooge: Spirit, these poor people have no means to cook their food and yet you seek to close the only places in which they can warm their meager meals every 7th day.
Gotcha' teabaggers! You thought this one was for you? Are you crazy? We is Hollywood! Bwahahahahahaha....
Ghost of Christmas Present: Hear me scrooge. There are some upon this earth of yours who claim to know me and my brothers and do their deeds of ill will and selfishness in our name. These so called men of the cloth are as strange to me and my kin as if they never lived. Charge their doing to them, not us.
For the record, here's what Dickens wrote:
There are some upon this earth of ours,” returned the Spirit, “who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name, who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.
Dickens was no fan of organized religion either, but as you can see Zemeckis thinks he knows better and took it upon himself to change a general warning about hypocrisy into a very specific
slap at organized religion -- at "men of the cloth" in general. No qualifiers, no "some" men of the cloth... Nope, the whole lot of them.
Why do it, Bob? (That's a rhetorical question)
For the same reason "The Blind Side" had to take a shot at George W. Bush
. Either driven by his own bigotry, a need to inoculate himself in a town full of religious bigots who wouldn't appreciate a purely pro-Christian film, or both -- it was mandatory that something offensive
to the tens of millions of us stupid enough to believe in organized religion rear its story-stopping, heavy-handed head.
From a purely artistic standpoint, to say this where-the-hell-did-that-come
moment sucks all the goodwill out of the story is an understatement. And "goodwill" was all this soulless production had going for it.
This is the most clinical, uninspired, by-the-numbers adaptation of the Dickens' classic yet. And to use a style of animation incapable of bringing life to the eyes of your characters in a story brimming with humanity might be the dumbest big studio decision of the year ... even dumber than the sucker shot and a couple of silly, unmotivated chase sequences.
When you add advertising expenses, Disney's "A Christmas Carol" probably cost a total of $300 million, which means it will have to make close to $600 million just to break even -- and thus far, after over a month in release, the worldwide box office has yet to crack $250 million.
If you had to clear over a half-billion dollars just to break even, would you allow an out-of-nowhere shot at organized religion in your Christmas
Not if profit was more important than ideology.
I'm not saying Zemeckis' artless insult is why this Disney production is in deep, deep financial trouble, but it sure as hell doesn't help that someone like me is spreading the word right before their last-gasp weekend to clean up some of that red ink.
And please do tell me again how Hollywood is money driven...
Anyway, in the spirit of the holiday season and to quote the mighty Clark W. Griswold, I'd like to say to Leftist Tinseltown:
Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, kiss my ass. Kiss his ass. Kiss your own ass.
...and in the spirit of adding my own little slice of dialogue to a classic: Don't forget to go to Hell.