Robert Zemeckis is still trying to make motion capture happen. His upcoming Jim Carrey-starring version of “A Christmas Carol” will be his third made using the process, despite the fact that neither 2004’s “The Polar Express” nor 2007’s “Beowulf” was an overwhelming triumph at the box office.
There’s little indication that the public cares what sets “motion capture” apart from original recipe CGI; at press time, it does not yet appear to have escaped the uncanny valley. That Zemeckis keeps getting away with this suggests that being willing to test-drive unwieldy new technology is still worth a large investment to studios who can use it later when the bugs have been worked out, a trick he worked before with “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”
But even when expectations are low, Disney aims high. Since May, the Mouse House has been crossing the country with a trainful of props from the movie, beginning in LA and ending at Grand Central. And for its latest trick, Disney will drop one million pounds to flip the switch on London’s holiday lights early, a deal that took them two years to negotiate.
As Cahal Milmo reports in the Independent, instead of the traditional gradual illumination by neighborhood through the first half on November, all of the West End’s lights will come on at once on the 3rd to coincide with “A Christmas Carol”‘s premiere.
Though Milmo gets a bit churlish about the “apparent subjugation of one of the bulwarks of the Christmas calendar to the marketing timetable of a corporation with annual revenues of $37bn,” no one else seems willing to kick up a fuss about this bumping up of the holiday season a full fortnight, though there is a mention of “the hitherto unknown Movement for the Containment of Xmas,” which sent out notes threatening to superglue store locks shut if Christmas cards were put on sale too early. Carrey better watch out.
[Photo: “A Christmas Carol,” Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, 2009]