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Scrooge U: Part XXXVI -- GoodTimes Home Video delivers a very bad "Christmas Carol"

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Scrooge U: Part XXXVI -- GoodTimes Home Video delivers a very bad "Christmas Carol"

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Does the name "GoodTimes Home Video" sound familiar to you?

If you're an animation fan, it probably should. Given that this is the infamous production company that churned out all of those cheap Disney knock-offs. With the hope that consumers might then get confused and accidentally buy the GoodTimes version of "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty & the Beast" and/or "Aladdin." Rather than the legitimate Disney versions of these same stories.

Copyright GoodTimes Home Video

Now it may seem like sort of a cheap shot to bring up this aspect of GoodTimes' production history while discussing this production company's version of "A Christmas Carol" ...

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

... Except that the introductory sequence for this GT Media DVD basically flaunts GoodTimes' whole "We're-the-animation-studio-that-rips-off-Disney-films" history. Given that -- before we see Frame One of "A Christmas Carol" -- we're treated to an image of GT's version of "The Lion King" sharing a seat on a roller coaster with GT's version of "Pocahontas." And who's riding in the car directly behind these two characters? The GoodTimes Home Video version of "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs."

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

The impression that the folks at GT Media would like you to get from this opening montage on their "Christmas Carol" DVD is that this animation studio tells classic stories well.

Well, if that were really the case, and GT Media were a production company that actually prided itself on delivering quality work ... Then how do you explain this error? Though this version of "A Christmas Carol" is clearly supposed to be set in 1840s London, the furniture in Scrooge's office is clearly modern. Danish modern, if I'm not mistaken.

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

That -- in a nutshell -- is what's wrong with GT Media's version of "A Christmas Carol." This animated version of Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale was obviously thrown together quickly. With the production crew at GoodTimes Home Video cutting corners wherever they could.

Of course, to be fair, I guess I should also point out that this particular adaptation of "A Christmas Carol" does feature a seldom-used piece of Dickens' original text. Which has Ebenezer catching brief glimpses of Jacob Marley on the tiles over his fireplace before Scrooge's long-dead partner officially makes his entrance in this holiday tale.

The fact that the folks at GT Media included this particular moment in their "Christmas Carol" adaptation, rather than just sticking with the old tried-and-true Jacob's-face-on-the-doorknocker stuff, suggests that there was at least a half-hearted attempt to turn this 49-minute-long cartoon into a decent version of Dickens' classic tale.

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

But -- for every thing that GT Media gets right on this DVD -- there's yet another obvious thing that this animation production company gets wrong. Take -- for example -- the Ghost of Christmas Past sequence in this version of "A Christmas Carol." Which (due to some sort of bizarre technical screw-up during production) actually shows Ebenezer & this holiday spirit flying backwards as they head into the past to visit Scrooge's youth.

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

Mind you, the GoodTimes Home Video version of "A Christmas Carol" does manage to get the bigger moments of Dickens' classic holiday tale right. In that the Ghost of Christmas Present still brings Ebenezer to the Crachits house so that Scrooge can then experience what this holiday is really supposed to be about.

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

Likewise, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Be still brings Ebenezer to the graveyard. So that Scrooge can then see that -- unless this miserable miser changes his ways -- he's going to die alone and unloved. Which prompts Ebenezer to beg this holiday spirit for just one more chance.

But -- as I mentioned earlier -- for every thing that the GT Media version of "A Christmas Carol" gets right -- there's another part of Dickens' story that the production team gets horribly wrong. I mean, was it really necessary to show Scrooge taking the Crachit family out on a shopping spree?

Copyright 2003 GoodTimes Home Video

Cutting right to the chase here, folks ... If you're a real fan of "A Christmas Carol," you're going to have a bad time while watching the GoodTimes Home Video version of this classic holiday tale. Which is why I advise you to give this particular DVD a very wide berth.

Tomorrow ... Kelsey Grammer & Alan Menken team up to bring us "A Christmas Carol : The Musical." Is this tuneful TV movie really worth tuning in for?

Your thoughts?

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  • Well, I have never watched a GoodTimes animated film, but *ding* yes now I remember!

    Whenever I search on Amazon.com for a Disney Classic, in the list that shows up, the Disney film I'm looking for is always curiously followed by a film of the same name saying "GoodTimes Animation - Not Disney" in brackets.  I've often wondered why they'd want to churn out so many films based on the same stories Disney adapts, as I guess chances are the Disney versions are...ahem...better.

    Oh well...I'm certainly not watching this!  Maybe I should get around to seeing "Mickey's Christmas Carol" before the festive season is out.

  • Hey Jim. Could you please give us another toon story, like about future disney projects. i'm dyin to know whats happened up in burbank, since the whole stuffs been happenin

  • Why purchase a GoodTimes video to see a cheap knock-off of a classic Disney movie when you can purchase a cheap knock-off of a classic Disney movie made by Disney? :)

  • There's lots of cartoon versions of Christmas Carol - you've done most of them. I don't see the Good Times version as any better or worse than any of the others. I am more concerned by the fact the review seems to centre on the irrelevant issue of them stepping on Disneys toes.I don't think Disney have the copyright in ripping off fairy tales and making them cutesy. I don't know anyone who would rather watch a Good Times rip-off than the Disney equivalent but I do know of people who can't pay the high prices for the real item and end up watching this stuff.Since the 1840's stage versions and publications have been cheapening Dickens' classic. It hasn't suffered a jot, in fact there are people who have commented on these boards who think they're getting the full story ! No reason to think then, that Disney will have anything to fear.As an outsider, I don't feel anymore threatened in seeing Bob played in bad animation or by the character of a mouse. Its just another interpretation. The Australians made a whole series of Dickens animated films a while back that used to be a staple of  English TV. Probably they're not artistically very good but they may introduce kids to the stories and if a couple go away and tackle the books that has to be an improvement.

  • I have to admit that I really enjoyed GoodTime's release of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer: The Movie". Yes it completly changed the story line from Rankin/Bass's original classic, but the characters were charming and the songs were memorable. GT even put a float in the Macy's parade to promote the release that year.

  • JoeHaro07 said:

    "Hey Jim. Could you please give us another toon story, like about future disney projects. i'm dyin to know whats happened up in burbank, since the whole stuffs been happenin"

    I kinda agree with this JoeHarwhatever... (:P) These Scrooge U articles are interesting, but we're dying to know what's happening up in Burbank.  I, for one, am praying that Lasseter doesn't touch Keane's Rapunzel and leave it in CGI (although my hopes are dim).

    By the way, is "Scrooge U" a play on the words "Screw You!"?  :D lol

  • Heh. That picture with the several Marley heads by the fireplace made me snicker. I'm curious now. BTW, before this is over, are you going to do the BKN/Kidtoon CGI all-animal version of A Christmas Carol? (http://www.bknhomeentertainment.com/images/CC.wmv) I haven't seen it yet, but it looks SO bad, I have to know more about it.

  • Get your facts straight before you make such low accusations.  First of all, "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast" were not produced by GoodTimes, only distributed.  They were produced by Golden Films, a non-profit, charity-drive company run and founded by Diane Eskenazi.  The rest of the films mentioned were produced by Jetlag Productions.  All of which offer great *children's* entertainment at a low price.  Not to mention Don Bluth's pathetic rip-off of the 1992 Golden Films "Thumbelina" which tops Bluth's it with one toe.  Jetlag Productions did not produce a film called "The Lion King" either, it was called "Leo the Lion: King of the Jungle" and told a completely different story from Disney's film and you have to be quite dumb to mistake it for Disney's "The Lion King".  Thanks for the images from JETLAG PRODUCTIONS' "A Christmas Carol" though, they look great!

  • Oh and for the record, Jetlag's "A Christmas Carol" came out in 1994, not 2003.  Second, Goodtimes Entertainment is not a production company, it only distributes films.  And third, we have Jetlag Productions to thank for offering one good alternative to Disney's popular crap-fest "Pocahontas".

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