A Little Love in Your Heart

For its first hour, Scrooged is a genuinely bleak, even morbid tear down of contemporary society, just told like a story everyone already knows. That it works so effortlessly, transposed from Christmas’ past to present, doesn’t say much for Charles Dickens’ ability to transform society.

If anything, by the time of Scrooged, Dickens’ material fit even better than at the dawn of industrialization. Bill Murray, playing the perfectly named Frank Cross, is a perfect amalgam of 1980s corporate America. Making millions off bogus programming ideas (Lee Majors as Lee Majors, fending off an attack on Santa’s North Pole), he forces his secretary to live in poverty – albeit with sensationally fluffy towels as a bonus.

… there’s a definite smile to go alongside Scrooged

Scrooged’s Ghost of Christmas present brutalizes Frank Cross. Nothing else seemed to work – Cross remained an unwavering, greedy scumbag. Watching him take shots to the groin, headbutts, and a toaster to the face seems fair in this situation, which works for Scrooged. The slightly off-kilter, unreality of its world allows for a little violence, or even a cab ride on the edge of death. It’s the tone that gives Scrooged leeway, and use it well it does.

Murray spends most of the movie reacting. A few comic quips aside, Scrooged generally puts the camera in close-up to catch Murray’s befuddlement. The charming world puts reality around him, as if his wealth literally allowed him to live a completely different existence. Karen Allen’s charm, John Murray’s soft brother role, and young Nicholas Phillips suggest Scrooged’s inevitable heart.

In the final act, with Bobcat Goldwaithe toting a shotgun around the TV studio and Murray providing the morality speech, Scrooged changes into Dickens’ form – still modern, a little awkward and abrasive too, but heartfelt. It’s as if the script enters an apology tour, unsure as to whether or not the darker material landed, so the turn toward niceness becomes absolute. It’s always a way to make sure the audience leaves happy, even making right with a homeless man who froze to death because of Cross’ action. Regardless, there’s a definite smile to go alongside Scrooged.

Video

Stunning work by Paramount brings Scrooged into the modern era flawlessly. Sharpness and texture make an immediate impression. Grain remains intact, natural, sustained, and consistent; that goes for the finest detail too. In close, facial definition stands out, and infinitely more so than on the previous Blu-ray.

Stellar contrast and thick black levels hit their marks, infusing Scrooged’s visuals with spectacular image density. Depth sustains itself on brightness around the city, lights vivid and intense.

Those lights of course stem from the holiday setting, introducing a flurry of color too. Organic flesh tones match well to the more vivid saturation seen on decorations. It’s quite lovely.

Audio

In 5.1 (DTS-HD specifically), the bass doesn’t work that well, muddy, imprecise, and loose. That’s unfortunate.

But, the surrounds kick in and ghosts work their way into the film. Surrounds separate cleanly, the natural directionality organic, as if always part of Scrooged. Stereos nicely split too, while the fidelity hasn’t aged a day.

Extras

Director Richard Donner chimes in with a commentary track, joining other ported bonus features, namely generic making-of material. Clips from ShoWest and on set clips with Murray stand out as highlights.

Scrooged
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

While telling a story we all know by heart, Scrooged’s fun modern twists turn it into a contemporary holiday classic.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 41 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


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