The Muppet Christmas Carol, dir. Brain Henson, scr. Jerry Juhl, based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, st. Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo, Michael Caine, Frank Oz
The Muppet Christmas Carol, now a staple of background Christmas teeveeing, and made (prepare to feel well old) a staggering twenty-two years ago, was the first Muppet movie to feature felt interaction with real human characters - and alas it shows. Caine's Ebenezer Scrooge is a drab affair, but it's Ebenezer's first love Belle's song When Love Is Gone, performed by Meredith Braun, that'll really have you out of your seat - and out of the room, foraging for that tube of Milkybar buttons with which to pass the time until the real stars of the show come back on screen. Thankfully, TMCC is packed with otherwise memorable songs, singing fruit 'n' veg, cute families of cheeseless mice, gags that alternate between the groan and grinsome, and not least a fabulous pair of narrators in the form of Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat (in the guise of Charles Dickens and, erm, Rizzo the Rat) who slide in and out of the action at will Pirandello-like. Even the Kermit-Cratchit family might have you laughing off an undeniable lump in your throat, and Robin as Tiny Tim might very well have you sniffling into a decoy clementine. In other words, a low-cal, guilt-free Christmas treat. Apart from the Milkybar buttons.