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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 12/23/00

1987 (2000) - Paramount

review by Greg Suarez of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Scrooged Film Rating: A-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A-/D-

Specs and Features

100 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, film-themed menu screens, scene access (12 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0), French (DD 2.0), subtitles: none, Closed Captioned

"Put a little love in your heart."

Here's the pitch: We'll take one of the most beloved holiday stories of all time - A Christmas Carol, turn it upside down and... oh yeah - Bill Murray's playing Scrooge. How could you not love that idea? With a crack cast of great comedic talent and a very funny script, all director Richard Donner had to do was sit back and enjoy the ride.

Scrooged is not so much a parody of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, as it is a retelling. Bill Murray plays Frank Cross (a.k.a. Ebeneezer Scrooge), a cynical, mean-spirited television executive who tramples everyone around him for the sake of his own ego. On Christmas Eve, Frank is visited by three ghosts who present him with his past (where he went wrong), his present (how he's negatively affecting people) and his bleak future, all in the effort to save his soul from an eternity of torment. Oh, c'mon… you know the story. This version, which is probably the millionth telling of the story, retains all of the integrity of the original novel, but adds a tasty modern zing. With all other versions of A Christmas Carol taking place smack dab in the middle of 19th century England, it's quite refreshing to experience this story in new surroundings with new types of characters. And Scrooged shows that Dickens' story can succeed as a comedy, while still communicating its valuable lesson.

I've tried my best, but I can't think of another comedic actor who could play Frank Cross with the absolute stinging sarcasm and biting hilarity of Bill Murray. Murray makes you want to snicker at his vile treatment of those around him, yet he's so elitist about it, I fully expected him to look into the audience and say, "What're you laughing at, dumb ass?" This is a good thing - Murray really gives the character the full treatment. But as any actor playing the Scrooge character should be able to accomplish, Murray successfully transforms his vicious character into a caring humanitarian, and he does so with believability.

Presented in anamorphic widescreen, Scrooged on DVD looks quite good. Colors and shadow delineation are decently conveyed, and picture detail is generally acceptable. There are a couple of brief instances of print damage, and the video takes on a soft quality in areas, but these are infrequent anomalies that do not detract from the overall experience. As with many of the newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks from Paramount, the audio portion of this disc is a nice surprise. Ambient effects are tastefully spread throughout the environment, providing the best aural treatment this film has ever received. But the film's theatrical trailer is the only supplement found on this disc… bah humbug!

While the Christmas season is definitely not lacking in humorous features to help celebrate the season, Scrooged is one of the best. You get to experience the classic Dickens' yarn, A Christmas Carol, and laugh your butt off at the same time. And Bill Murray is just deliciously venomous, and has the pleasure of lobbing plenty of scorching one-liners. Check out Scrooged. "Yule love it!"

Greg Suarez
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