Saturday, December 24, 2011
Michael Caine is Ebenezer Scrooge in Muppet Christmas Carol
Over the years, several people -- including, I must admit, Michael Caine himself -- have reacted with bemused skepticism when I've told them that I think Caine's performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in The Muppet Christmas Carol not only ranks with Caine's all-time finest performances -- it's also, in my view, the best portrayal of Charles Dickens' miserly character in any movie, ever. Seriously. The beauty part of it is, unlike a lot of actors who perform opposite Muppets, Caine isn't merely trying to be a good sport -- he's being a great actor. After watching the movie again recently -- an annual tradition, I must admit -- I remain convinced: If you could somehow digitally lift this performance from Muppet Christmas Carol and drop it into a more conventional adaptation of Dickens' story -- that is, a movie in which all of Caine's co-stars would be, well, you know, human beings -- it would be every bit as effective and affecting.