I envisioned more of an animated, humorous, Mary Poppins-like, don't-we-all-feel-like-a-Merry Christmas-now kind of movie. What we saw was a very dark, scary, and creepy version of this classic tale.
I know, I know. You're all shaking your fingers at me and thinking, "Hasn't she heard the story of 'A Christmas Carol' before?" Yes, of course I have, and yes, I knew it would have ghosts that visit, but I was fooled into thinking that they would be a happy, Casper-like ghosts, smiling and gently reminding our beloved Scrooge to be more giving and kind. These ghosts were more of the 'your-soul-is-bound-for-Hell' kind of ghosts and the scenes were actually pretty scary. Added to that, we watched it in 3-D so every twisted, dissolving corpse and ghoul-ridden chase seemed to land right in our laps.
To my credit, I did conduct some research before we went, and my kids are well-aware of the fact that "PG" means "Parental Guidance" and that it translates into "Mom and Dad get to decide."
I read the summaries (like this one) ...
Ebenezer Scrooge begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk and his cheery nephew. But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths Old Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it’s too late.And I was aware that it was rated PG for "scary sequences and images" but watching the previews of Scrooge flying through the air and sliding through an icy tunnel made it seem like the scenes would be more action-oriented that downright horrifying.
Even one of my favorite parent review sites, Common Sense Media, rated it as "ON" for 8+ kids at A Christmas Carol Review.
So imagine my surprise, and dismay, when rotting corpses and demented children (that crawl from under the robe of "Christmas Present") are featured in the film. Ugh. It goes without saying (but yes! I'll say it anyway!) that I recommend that you NOT take your kids to see this without some serious thought first. My almost-ten-year-old hasn't complained of nightmares yet, but it definitely was not the happy-holiday movie I envisioned.