Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that, unlike The Polar Express, this Robert Zemeckis adaptation of a classic holiday tale is too intense both visually and in content for families with very young children. At its heart, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a ghost story, and not only are the many spirits very creepy at times, but the 3-D technology makes certain scenes -- as when the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come's red-eyed black stallions jump out at the audience -- all the scarier. And the realistic nature of the motion capture technology often makes the movie seem more like live action (and thus more intense) than animation. But on the other hand, the language is mild (British slang like "bugger" and "blast") and the drinking limited to Christmas toasts. And the messages are all quite positive, as Ebenezer Scrooge's (Jim Carrey) transformation is one of literature's ultimate stories of redemption and hope, even in the bleakest of times.
A young Ebenezer dances and exchanges longing looks with a woman, and it's later clear that they were engaged.
Several frightening images of skeletons, corpses, and ghosts, from the very first scene of a dead Jacob Marley lying in a coffin to an open grave in scenes from Christmas future. The ghost of Marley -- along with the three spirits of Christmas, especially the Grim Reaper-esque Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come (and his stampeding, red-eyed horses) -- can be disturbing, as can the hissing, threatening figures of Ignorance and Want. Some of the 3-D scenes are also intense and startling, and there are several sad scenes, particularly one in which a family mourns a young child.
Some British slang like "bugger" and "blast." The words "hell" and "ass" are used, too, but not as curses. One character says "oh my God."
Dickens' classic tale is full of important, relevant messages: Even in economically difficult times, there is hope and happiness; money isn't the most necessary ingredient to live a happy, successful life; those lucky enough to have money should be generous toward those who are less fortunate; everyone should be kind and charitable, no matter how rich they are; and family and friendship are far more fulfilling than work.
Drugs / Tobacco /
Adults make Christmas toasts with what is presumably wine.