One of the few departures Muppet Christmas Carol made from the source material is that it added another Marley ghost to the mix. But do two Marleys make for a better adaptation than the 1999 TV version starring Patrick Stewart? Find out on this, the third day of the 12 Days of Muppet Christmas.
Jacob (and Robert) Marley
Bernard Lloyd as Jacob Marley in Christmas Carol ’99 is an unabashedly frightening ghost, and yet provides some comic relief. While it is initially unsettling when his jaw becomes unhinged, it soon becomes funny in a creepy sort of way, especially when Scrooge has to help him put it back into place. It’s dark comedy, admittedly, but it still qualifies.
Statler and Waldorf make for funny Marley ghosts (Robert Marley’s name is an extremely subtle joke) but nevertheless, their appearance is unsettling for a different reason: though they sing about all the rotten things they did while they were alive on the pretext of warning Scrooge to change his ways, their spoken dialogue suggests that they haven’t quite learned their lessons yet. Rather than expressing true remorse for the suffering that they caused others, they mostly seem to be sorry that they’re being punished.
On the other hand, Bernard Lloyd’s Marley from Christmas Carol ’99 demonstrates genuine, palpable remorse. Even from beyond the grave, he still shows true concern and affection for Scrooge, while Statler and Waldorf’s Marley ghosts seem to be getting enjoyment from taunting and berating Scrooge.
I find the relationship between Marley and Scrooge in Christmas Carol ’99 to be odd yet touching, so that’s today’s pick.
Advantage: Christmas Carol ’99