A Christmas Carol is one of the most well-known Christmas stories of all time.It’s been adapted numerous times—for television, the stage, and the big screen. If you can think of an angle, it’s probably been applied to A Christmas Carol. In that light, I don’t know how novel an idea Starkid’s A VHS Christmas Carol—someone must have done A Christmas Carol in the style of 1980s pop music—but honestly, I don’t care. A VHS Christmas Carol is exactly the kind of thing I wanted this holiday season. It’s an album (and virtual live visual album) that’s packed with catchy, earwormy tunes, energy, and heart. It’s the perfect holiday pick-me-up. (4.5 out of 5 wands)
A VHS Christmas Carol (written by Clark Baxtresser, directed by Corey Lubowich) Join StarKid for a new holiday tradition blending Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with 80’s music videos into a synth-elating Live Visual Album experience! This reimagining of the classic tale from composer Clark Baxtresser features and all-star(kid) cast serving up vibes from Christmases past, an escape from Christmas present, and a cutting edge blend of live and filmed performances straight out of Christmas future!
All of us saw the trailer for this movie, and I’m pretty sure all of us felt the same wave of confusion and borderline-revulsion. Even if you were familiar with the hit Broadway musical that inspired this film, there was something about how uncanny the CGI looked that bordered on the horrifying instead of the cute. Not exactly the best start, yeah? Going into CATS, most of the audience probably expected a train wreck. I certainly did. That being said, whoever cut together the trailers for the film should not edit trailers for a living as the trailers were an awful representation of the movie. At the end of the day, CATS is neither as consistently weird throughout as you want it to be, nor is it as good as the film seems to think it is. There are plenty of weird moments, too, but once you get used to the CGI, it’s basically exactly the stage musical as you remember it. Is it fun? Yeah, most of the time. Is it worth seeing? Sure, at least once. But your overall enjoyment will depend almost entirely on how much you like the musical. I liked the movie a bit more than I liked the musical (for reasons that will become apparent) – but I also really don’t like the musical. (Very mild spoilers ahead.)
CATS (written by Lee Hall & Tom Hooper, directed by Tom Hooper)
Featuring Andrew Lloyd Webber’s iconic music and a world-class cast of dancers under the guidance of Tony-winning choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler (Hamilton, In the Heights), the film reimagines the musical for a new generation with spectacular production design, state-of-the-art technology, and dance styles ranging from classical ballet to contemporary, hip-hop to jazz, street dance to tap.
A tribe of cats called the Jellicles must decide yearly which one will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new Jellicle life.