Scrooged review (Blu-ray)

It's now 25 years old, and is roundly loathed by film critics across the globe, but Scrooged is one of the best (and funniest) Christmas films ever made.

It's based on the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, and sees Murray playing Frank Cross, a miserable, hard-headed and cruel IBC network TV executive who cares only about ratings and nothing about people. He's the sort of man who will happily fire an employee on Christmas Eve, and for Christmas gives his only brother a bath towel for a gift. The story takes place as the network is preparing for a live global broadcast of a new retelling of Dickens' story, here called Scrooge, and sees Cross visited by the traditional three Ghosts in a effort to get him to see the error of his ways.

It's nothing like a "traditional" Christmas film, but that's a large part of it charm. It sticks fairly closely to Dickens' basic plot, but often veers off in its own wacky direction. Murray is on fine form, as is the supporting cast – particularly Goldthwait as Eliot Loudermilk (the Bob Cratchit character) and Kane as the somewhat violent Ghost of Christmas Present. And it's wonderful to see Lee Majors pop up at the start to save Santa Claus in the trailer for the TV movie The Night The Reindeer Died (yes, Lee has been a good boy all year). And utterly delightful and enchanting is Allen as Claire Phillips, a former girlfriend of Frank's who comes back into his life.

Scrooged has the odd scary moment, and goes to some pretty dark places, but it's enormously funny and warm-hearted too. Ignore the haters; in my home, at least, Scrooged is an annual Christmas tradition. Yule love it too.

EXTRAS ★ This is a terrific 1080p Blu-ray transfer. It's sharp and clear – perhaps a little too clear, with some of the make-up showing at tines and Murray's pock-marked face a little scary. Sadly, the bonus material amounts to no more than the theatrical trailer. And that's a shame. Surely, after 25 years, they could maybe give us a commentary with Donner and Murray? Or a gag reel or some deleted scenes? There must be somethng lying about somewhere.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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