Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmarathon Day 8: Blackadder's Christmas Carol

As soon as I began my Christmas movie marathon, I immediately resigned myself to the fact that I would be watching a lot of versions of A Christmas Carol. There have been so many straight adaptations, parodies, and homages to the classic novel by Dickens that I'm beginning to think it may be the second most widely adapted book after the Bible. It's easy to understand why, of course, since it is at once a brilliantly deep study of the human condition, but also a fairly straight forward story. It's one of the great works of English literature. But still... I'm sick of it already and it's only day 8 of my month-long Christmarathon.

Blackadder's Christmas Carol was fantastic, however. This was by no means a proper adaptation of the classic tale, but it was certainly the funniest parody of the story that I've ever seen. If you've never seen or heard of Blackadder, it is a classic BBC historical sitcom that is quite possibly the funniest show of all time. I've been meaning to do a blog post about this show for ages now, because it is one of my very favorites. It stars Rowan Atkinson (who is probably better known on our side of the pond as Mr. Bean or Johnny English) as Edmond Blackadder, a conniving, deceitful, antihero who lives in different time periods (as different ancestors) over the course of the series. It also featured such great British actors as Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, and many more. Only the Harry Potter series has compiled as impressive a list of British Thespians. But Blackadder is a heck of a lot funnier.

Blackadder's Christmas Carol tweaks both the original Scrooge story (as well as the original Blackadder series) by having the main character start as a kind, generous man who gives his money freely to those in need. As the story goes on and he is visited by the Spirit of Christmas (played by Robbie Coltrane!), he learns that being bad looks more fun than being kind and generous. But as funny as the plot is, the real appeal of Blackadder is the snappy dialogue and wonderful performances by the stars, especially Rowan Atkinson whose comic timing is so incredible it almost borders on the supernatural.

So... I love this short little film and can't praise it highly enough. It's a must see if you are a fan of Blackadder, and well worth watching if you just want to watch a funny, snappy British sitcom. Two thumbs up.

Here's Robbie Coltrane's big entrance:


Justin Garrett Blum said...

I never knew this existed. Now that I do, I must see it. That clip is hilarious.

Donald said...

D00d it's funny. You can pretty much watch the entire thing on YouTube

Donald said...

I bought you some season of Blackadder on video once, right? I can't remember if you enjoyed it, nor do I remember which "series" it was.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

It was the Queen Elizabeth series, and yeah, it's great.

It's crazy what you can watch on YouTube. I'm not sure why these things don't get pulled down.