The Muppet Christmas Carol was first released in cinemas in December 1992, succeeding in a rather modest if not slightly disappointing return at the Box Office. In a similar fashion to other Holiday favourites that found popularity through syndication (like It’s a Wonderful Life), the advent of the VHS and the DVD has ensured that the film has become a firm Christmas tradition for many. So much so that it has become the definitive screen version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” for a large group, and is responsible for an entire generation mistaking that Scrooge was business partners with two Marleys rather than just one.
The Muppet Christmas Carol was also the first theatrical release during The Muppets’ troubled partnership with Disney. Despite Disney’s lacklustre legacy since their full takeover of The Muppets brand in 2004, A Christmas Carol enjoys a unique place in the Muppets chronology, benefitting from that sweet House of Mouse money yet enjoying more creative control. This concoction of incredible production value from Disney alongside the imaginative and creative prowess of The Jim Henson Company was the perfect storm. As such, The Muppet Christmas Carol is a chart-topping showstopper, considered by many to be the best of all Christmas films.
In this Movie List from The Film Magazine, all of The Muppet Christmas Carol has been put under the microscope and evaluated. Having explored each individual moment to see why this particular Muppets movie has become such a special festive favourite over the last 30 years, we have compiled a list of the most fun, emotionally resonant, powerful and beloved bits, for these: the 10 Best The Muppet Christmas Carol Moments.
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10. Christmas Scat
By 1992, the technological innovation of the Jim Henson Company had come a long way since Jim himself had cut up his mother’s dressing gown to make his first sock puppet. The Muppet Christmas Carol is distinct from the previous cinematic releases of the Muppets as the direction took a bold step from camera angles akin to ‘The Sooty Show’, finally having the CG technology available to erase away pesky visible puppeteers. No more shots exclusively from the waist up! Thus, far more dynamic and exciting shots were finally achieved to truly fool us that the Muppets can inhabit our human world.
This technological innovation reaches its peak in this single scene of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim returning home from church whilst singing to each other. It’s hard to believe that this cute little scene was the most challenging to film, but the efforts in creating a free standing and dancing puppet will convince children that Kermit the Frog is just as real as Santa Claus.
Recommended for you: ‘The Muppet Christmas Carol’ at 30 – Review
9. One More Sleep ’til Christmas
For those who share in the tradition of watching The Muppets Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, it is very likely due to this single song. Nothing is guaranteed to get young children as hyped and excited for Father Christmas’ imminent arrival as much Kermit the Frog does. After our first introduction to Michael Caine’s frankly terrifying Scrooge, no wonder his book-keeping staff are overjoyed by the prospect of having a day off.
This moment doesn’t just capture the excitement of the season, but also the solemnity. As Kermit sings the final notes of “One More Sleep ’til Christmas”, staring into the distance as a shooting star streaks by, a tangible melancholy fills the screen. The anxieties and hopes of the season come to a fruition for this single moment; will peace finally reign this Christmas? The whole mood is made more palpable knowing that Kermit’s performer Steve Whitmire was full of anxiety, filling his beloved mentor’s boots in the first feature film since his passing. Kermit’s pensive moment is as if a reassurance that Henson’s legacy is in safe hands.