Saturday, December 23, 2017

My Review of Blackadder's Christmas Carol (1988)

Written by Richard Curtis & Ben Elton
Directed by Richard Boden

Ebenezer Blackadder: "So, let's get this straight: If I was bad, my descendants would rule the entire universe!"
Spirit of Christmas: "Maybe... Maybe... But would you be happy? Being ruler of the universe is not all it's cracked up to be - there's the long hours... I mean, you wave at people the whole time. You're no longer your own boss."

There have been many adaptations of A Christmas Carol and essentially, it's always the same in each version. The Scrooge of the piece is shown the error of his ways and is scared into changing for the better. Except this version has a somewhat different take on the situation.

For Ebenerzer Scrooge (Rowan Atkinson) is already the most generous man in all of Victorian London, so much so that between his shrieking niece Millicent (Nicola Bryant) and Mrs Scratchit Pauline Melville) and everyone else, he's often taken to be a complete mug during the Christmas period with only Baldrick (Tony Robinson) being the one person who doesn't outsmart him.

Ebenezer is then visited by the Spirit of Christmas (Robbie Coltrane) who gives Blackadder a glimpse into the past of his ancestors Lord Blackadder and Mr. E. Blackadder, Esq, giving the current Blackadder the idea that perhaps being so generous is a fault. However it's when the Spirit decides to show Blackadder a rather galactic future, which includes appearances from Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie that Ebenezer is compelling to change his good ways.

It's a predictable change of events but one that is rather delightful as poor Baldrick suffers the brunt of Blackadder's newly acquired mean streak but even he somewhat fares better compared to a visiting Queen Victoria (Miriam Margolyes) and Prince Albert (Jim Broadbent) as the latter's newfound rudeness seems losing out on a reward for good measure.

- The bit about the dog in the nativity scene has been edited in some versions but I've seen it in recent repeats on television.
- This and Blackadder Back & Forth are the only time we've seen previous roles reprised.
- You could see an influence for Hagrid's look here with the Spirit of Christmas's attire and bit of Blake's 7 for Blackadder's galactic descendant.

Probably one of the funniest and memorable adaptation of a classic tale. Blackaddet's Christmas Carol is also for me the best installment of that particular comedy franchise. It might be a little mean spirited but it's also a festive treat to catch over the next few days as well.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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