Dashing through the shelves, In a one horse media sleigh. Over the music we go, listening all the way! Books on bookshelves ring, Films and shows are bright. Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Media all the way! Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time! Oh Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Media all the way! Oh what fun it is to review the media at Christmas time!
Hi everybody, I’m the Media Man and after taking a long break from the horrors of Home Alone, I’m back to do another review today. And what am I reviewing this time? Well…I pulled this out of the sack.
(He shows us that he has a DVD copy of Blackadder’s Christmas Carol)
This is Blackadder’s Christmas Carol. What is it you may ask? It was a Christmas special that was released after Blackadder the Third and stars the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Jim Broadbent, Miriam Margolyes, Miranda Richardson, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Robbie Coltrane, all of which were stars in the show during Blackadder’s run at various points with Atkinson himself being the main star. Like all other Blackadder material, it was written by the comedy duo of delight themselves, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton.
I’ve already talked about how good the show was so is this a good special that should be enjoyed as much as the show? Or is it a special that should be ignored like all the “specials” Spongebob Squarepants loves to make? Let’s find out for I’m the Media Man and we return to the hilariously historical world of Blackadder for Blackadder’s Christmas Carol…
Here’s the story in a nutshell: imagine A Christmas Carol being written in opposite land.
OK I’ll be more specific, the story is about a man named Ebenezer Blackadder who is the nicest man in England but sadly, his kindness is often taken advantage of and he ends up being skint by the time Christmas comes. His attitude soon changes when he gets a visit from the Ghost of Christmas…whatever the hell visits him and shows him visions of his ancestors and he decides he wants to be a jerk from now on, leading to some pretty hilarious moments and a very funny ending.
The story is just fantastic. It’s the perfect execution of a simple idea, A Christmas Carol in reverse. Not only that, it pretty much keeps all the elements of A Christmas Carol in the story. We have a man named Ebenezer, he gets a visit from a ghost, he sees visions of different timelines and he wakes up a different man in the morning. So it’s A Christmas Carol with a twist but we can still tell it’s meant to be based on A Christmas Carol.
Being as this is part of Blackadder, the story contains many references to other Blackadder material. For example, Ebenezer Blackadder gets flashbacks that coincide with Blackadder II and Blackadder III. The clips themselves are NOT from those series, they’re entirely new and made up for the special, thus avoiding the dangerous trap of making this special a lousy clip show. The fact that the flashbacks are all new and not just borrowed from Blackadder II and Blackadder III make this special more creative and shows that despite being stand alone, it acknowledges it has a continuity to stick to as well, which is very good indeed. I do have to not there is one continuity error in the flashbacks though. In the Blackadder II flashback, Queen Elizabeth decides she’s going to execute Melchett and yet Melchett survives to the end of Blackadder II, making it very hard to pinpoint where in the continuity of Blackadder II the flashback can fit. The Blackadder III flashback however has no continuity errors at all so it’s pretty much up to you where it can fit. As well as flashbacks to other Blackadder material, we get a completely made-up flashback for the future in how it shows is what a future Blackadder could be like. That was pretty funny and very creative of the writers to decide and tease the possibility of maybe making a future Blackadder sometime soon. But as we all know…that’s not gonna happen at this time now.
I also like how Blackadder sort of comes to the conclusion of being bad is a good thing and yet the story reminds us that it’s not as good as it sounds. The flashbacks sort of justify Blackadder being bad but the ending just shows that being bad really isn’t all that good, showing that despite being a sit-com, it still knows that a good moral is important. I dare not spoil the ending for you though for it won’t be as satisfying to watch when you get to it. I trust you though, the ending WILL make you laugh.
So that’s the story pretty much. It’s a good story with much comedic possibilities and is a great twist on the classic Christmas Carol story…a job well done guys. 9/10
For the characters, you have Ebenezer Blackadder. Best way to sum him up is “Ebenezer Scrooge played by Blackadder”. He’s as funny as he was back in Blackadder and the fact that he’s meant to be nice instead of mean this time around just makes him even funnier in this one. If you know Blackadder for being the jerk that he usually is then you just giggle at the very idea of Blackadder being nice. After a visit from the spirits though, he ends up becoming his usual character and thus the Blackadder we all know and love is back. After seeing him be nice, it’s funny seeing him be nasty again and he gives off some pretty epic insults that are just HILARIOUS given how they’re worded and how over-the-top they are. And of course, Rowan Atkinson. Need I say more?
We have Baldrick again as usual, played again by Tony Robinson. He’s as lovable as ever in this special and gives us a good laugh or two. It’s funny seeing him being treated well by Blackadder before he turns mean again and once you see him being abused like he used to be in the show, you just end up laughing while thinking “Bet it was fun while it lasted for poor Baldrick”. Bladrick’s just such a lovable oaf no matter which version of him you see in Blackadder.
We also have the Spirit of Christmas, played marvellously by Robbie Coltrane. He’s pretty much the Ghosts of Christmas from the original Christmas Carol story only there’s just him this time and he shows Blackadder flashbacks from the past and future, but NOT the present. He’s an enjoyable character and he give us some good lessons on virtue and morality. And of course, he’s funny too, particularly with his “I’ve got four more hauntings and a scare-the-bugger to death” line. That line is so funny!
We also have rather comedic portrayals of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, played by Miriam Margolyes and Jim Broadbent respectively. Those two are enjoyably funny characters, especially compared to their real life counterparts. Albert’s just a dim-wit who’s hilarious as heck and Queen Victoria manages to garner a chuckle or two in there as well. If you know what they were like in real life, it just makes them funnier in all honesty. Jim Broadbent sure gives off a funny German accent in the role, you’ll be laughing at him every time he speaks. Also, their presence has some use since it sets us the time and place of this special, Victorian London. Good one guys.
We also have characters who just come in and take stuff from Blackadder such as a woman named Mrs. Scratchit (hee, hee!), Blackadder’s godfather Millicent (played by Nicola Bryant of Doctor Who fame and gives off some VERY piercing but funny cackles), some fat guys and a little orphan. They all have karma come back to bite them in the ass when Blackadder turns mean, which just makes it funny to watch and makes you feel glad Blackadder got back at them for taking advantage of his kindness.
Other characters mostly include ones from Blackadder II and Blackadder III such as Lord Melchett, Queen Elizabeth and Prince George and they’re all in the flashbacks since the flashbacks are during their times and all and they’re still as funny as ever.
The characters are all round perfect and just fitting for a comedy. They’re the same charming and funny characters we know from the show and they haven’t lost their touch at all. A job-well done everybody. 10/10
The acting is very good too. Everybody acts their characters to perfection and help us to feel like we’re in a sit-com and not once does the acting feel off or awkward. Nobody ever forces their lines out or hams up their performances, they deliver the jokes at the right time and at the right place and speed. It’s acting like this that helps to sell the comedy value that the show is meant to be about.
I think Rowan Atkinson deserves the biggest pat on the back since he technically has to play four different versions of the same character. He has to play Ebenezer Blackadder, then he has to play Blackadder the Second, and then Blackadder the Third and then Future Blackadder. He plays all of them brilliantly and never once does he forget the character he’s playing. His performance helps us to feel like we’re seeing different versions of Blackadder and we can definitely say “These guys are definitely all Blackadder”. It also helps since we’re supposed to believe they’re all ancestors of Ebenezer Blackadder so the performances of Rowan Atkinson proper help to convey that fact.
So overall, little to say about the acting other than…it’s perfect for this special. A job well-done guys. 10/10
Oh boy is the comedy of this special good! Just the very premise alone is hilarious! With a premise like that, you will often get some very funny humour won’t you?
It has the same usual humour I described from Blackadder only this time we have some other things to laugh about. Like I said, just seeing a nice Blackadder makes it funnier to watch since we’re used to him being a jerk so to see him be the opposite of that is just golden. And when Blackadder turns mean, he just returns to his usual funniness and gives us some very memorable quotes that just reek of hilarity.
The humour has some very funny one-liners and the occasional slapstick such as whenever Blackadder punches Baldrick. The delivery of the jokes is perfect and never once do the jokes fall flat or feel like a missed attempt.
One of the funniest scenes for me might have to be when in the Blackadder III flashback, a passed out Horatio suddenly wakes up and screams that he’s gone blind only for Blackadder to move his eye patch over to the other eye and he says “That’s better”. The fact it takes him so long to wake up and suddenly do something makes it even funnier to watch and just shows how good the comedy of this show is.
As for the one-liners, there’s many different kinds of humour in there such as Christmas humour, black humour and even some rather humorous fat jokes when the fat orphans come in.
I dare not spoil much of the humour for you for it’ll be less funny to watch but believe me when I say, this is a Christmas special that will have you in stitches…10/10
If you’re a Blackadder fan then you will LOVE this special. It’s festive and funny and I guarantee, you’ll have some Yuletide chuckles when you watch this amazing special. Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is a Christmas Carol I will always enjoy every year I watch it…9/10
Well that’s it for this one. Let’s see what I’m reviewing next time…
(He reaches into Santa’s sack and pulls out a DVD. He looks at it and gasps.)
Oh my gosh…I’ve been ACHING to see this movie all month! And I’m gonna see it tonight! Ladies and gentlemen, things are about to get…“frozen” around here next time…
Mixedfan8643’s REAL thoughts: If you hate this special then you have no sense of humour. It’s a very funny special and is perfect for fans of Blackadder.