A Christmas Carol 

If "A Christmas Carol" is Disney's present to holiday moviegoers, I'm tempted to ask for a gift receipt. The motion-capture animation may look nifty "? and ever more so in 3-D "? but the story moves at a glacial pace that tries the patience of all ages.

Charles Dickens' classic tale has been made and remade so many times that I don't see the point in doing it again, even in this new technological format. Robert Zemeckis is a gifted filmmaker, but after "The Polar Express," "Beowulf" and now this, one hopes he's gotten the computerized cartoons out of his system and will return to live action.

Jim Carrey ("Yes Man") plays Ebenezer Scrooge "? as well as the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come "? in the story of seasonal redemption. With the exception of a little clowning around as Past's candle, he pretty much plays them straight. For such a physical comic, he's given little to do in that department until the third act, when Scrooge shrinks to insect size for an out-of-place slapstick sequence.

All of the criticism about Zemeckis' past motion-capture films hold true here "? namely, people's faces still look creepy and dead behind the eyes. Of particular unsettling nature is Scrooge's employee, Bob Cratchit (Gary Oldman, "The Unborn"), who looks like Mad magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman.

More worrisome is that, for a family film, the bleak, boring "Carol" is a lump of coal in your stocking, complete with a phony, unearned Hallmark Card of an ending."?Rod Lott

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