Monday, November 9, 2009

* Cargoon Catharsis: Disney's Puny "Poetics"

Name this actor (_____)


Reginald Owen

Name this actor (______)

Alistair Sim

Jim Carrey

Somehow the Disney Digital Deception, A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey, seems almost silly. Tiny Tim looks like a rubbbery, goony Alfred E. Newman on Carrey's shoulder in this photo, and Carrey's nose makes Cyrano, Shylock, Pinnochio and Scrooge all swim in the same genetic pool. Disney was at his best with fairy tales and myths and cartoons, but this Scrooge and Company are cargoons, not cartoons.

I tried to find the original A Christmas Carol black and white film I watched on television in the 1950's but it seems not to be on Google images or wikipedia. I was looking for that original and most convincing hatchet faced Scrooge to date and couldn't find him. The best I could do is the 1935 Alistair Sim and a later Scrooge who looks like Felix Unger's sloppy roommate or Carl Malden or one of those actors with a torn pocket for a face. Even Patrick Stewart, who managed to turn the towering evil of Melville's Ahab into a baldheaded twit, elicits more respect from me than Disney's digital disaster, at least in the one photo I could find of Stewart as Scrooge.

And there was Lionel Barrymore, about whose Scrooge more need not be said than Barrymore.

What Disney fails to realize, is that our ability to be moved by this curmudgeon's transformation, depends on his being a real human being, not Jim Carrey wrapped in a digital shroud. Even the round-faced Sim or the Carl Malden look-alike version shown above grab me because they could be me.

Disney's Digital Deception just doesn't do it. It lacks the possibility for identification and thus the pity and fear necessary for catharsis.

It's just another silly Disney rubber duckey.

And if there's one thing Dickens is not, it's silly.