A Christmas Carol vs A Christmas Carol – TV Review and Audio Book Review *spoiler alert*

Guy Pearce features as Ebeneezer Scrooge in this three-part TV adaptation of the classic Dickens novella. We all know the story… Scrooge is a grump who hates Christmas and people and life in general, and he employs Bob Cratchit (Joe Alwyn) who is barely making his meagre wage stretch to keep his family going. He grumbles about giving Cratchit the day off for Christmas and calls everything Christmas ‘humbug’. Then, on Christmas Eve, he is visited by the ghost of his dead business partner, Jacob Marley (Stephen Graham) who warns that Scrooge must change his ways. Scrooge is then visited by three ghosts, Christmas Past, Present and Future, who show him visions that make him a nice person who loves Christmas and is generous and kind.

The television show takes a lot of liberties with the story, adding subplots and backstory to give Scrooge reason for being the way he is, giving a much larger role to Bob’s wife, Mary (Vinette Robinson), giving Jacob Marley reason to be as he is. Given I’d never read the novella, I wondered just much had been changed. Time to rectify that: I got an audiobook and listened to it. There are heaps of versions of A Christmas Carol available on Audible, with a wide variety of readers, but in the end, I settled on Sir Patrick Stewart, and I was very happy with this decision. The only thing was that this was 1hr 40 while others were over 3 hours. I’ve been back and can’t see that it was an abridged version, so I can’t really explain it.

The original novella is sparce, telling a good story well, though it does feel that Scrooge very quickly atones and changes. I wonder if just the concept of ghosts was more scary back in the 1840s, or if the creators of the TV show decided that today’s audience needed more. I liked that there was more of Mary and the family in the TV show, though suggesting magical powers seemed a stretch. Several of the reveals of Scrooge’s past seemed to either be giving him and excuse for being an arsehole, or making him more evil rather than just grumpy. All seemed valid within the world created, especially his poor business practices.

For me, I don’t think all of the expanded and reimagined parts of the tale were great choices, but I enjoyed the beauty of the show. I felt the terror of Scrooge (and his attempts to excuse or reason the visions he was having), and I felt that regardless of whether the audience was sympathetic or not, his change of attitude seemed genuine. Overall, I reckon definitely worth a watch.

X-Men : Days of Future Past (2014) Film Review


Do time travel storylines do your head in? Then this may not be the best film for you. Because I love time travel stuff, but I drifted off for a moment in this and suddenly was totally lost.

Essentially, it starts in a future where everything is a bit crap, with bad guys coming from everywhere and the X-Men can’t cope. So, somehow (mutant skills. Don’t question it), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back into the past to change history. And things get awesome.

There are all of the usual fighting and explosions and all of that stuff. Plus the older X-Men folks and the younger ones – we got them all. Really, if you are a fan of the X-Men films, I think you’ll like this. Be hard not to.

X-Men : Days of Future Past was nominated for an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects


X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) Film Review


The mutants are out, the whole world knows about them. Then someone comes up with a cure (source from a mutant whose power is that he strips people of their powers) and there is outrage. Some mutants want the cure and to be normal, but there is also the sinister side of things – the government will force the cure on the mutants. Plus, it will be weaponised. Oh, and the good chick who died at the end of the last film? She’s not dead. But she’s evil. Awesome.

I quite liked this film, although I didn’t like Wolverine’s attempts to be cheeky. He is brooding and, for once, I like that brooding. Don’t make him have snappy one-liners and the like. Just don’t. Oh, and there was a guy with amazing wings. Oh, and finally, how is this the last stand when there are more films to come? Stupid title for a film.



X2 (2003) Film Review


Magneto (Ian McKellen) is in prison, a plastic prison that he can’t control the metal bits and pieces. Stryker (Brian Cox) has turned up, a military guy who, as it happens, wants to destroy all of the mutants. He goes after Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his school and it is all on.

Heaps of explosions, fighting, supernatural stuff, and yet I was a bit bored. There were certainly part that were most impressive, but whatever. But everything was made better by the presence of Alan Cumming. Let’s face it, he can make anything better.


X-Men (2000) Film Review


There’s a girl, Rogue (Anna Paquin) who drains people of life, and mutants of their power. And a guy, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who has a skeleton made of a weird metal called Adamantium and has claws and can’t get hurt. They go to a school run by Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) with tutors including Storm (Halle Berry), Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden). But, because it is a superhero film, there are the bad guys: leader Magneto (Ian McKellen), Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), Toad (Ray Park) and Mystique (Rebecca Romijn). And politics. And taking over the world. And some running and explosions.

Yup, I liked it, although perhaps it was just knowing that it is part of a series of films that made it feel like an extended television episode. Even though things were full on and exciting and life threatening and all of that, I didn’t really fire up on it. I quite liked Wolverine, loved Xavier and Magneto, Mystique was pretty awesome. Wasn’t much of a fan of the other characters, and found Cyclops just really annoying… I can’t tell if it was just because his character was treated as a main character yet portrayed in a very two-dimensional manner or if it was just because I couldn’t see his eyes. I wanted to like it more than I did. But, as always, I will keep watching. I’ve heard the more recent films are pretty darned fabulous.