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Bharat Nalluri
Dan Stevens, Jonathan Pryce, Christopher Plummer
Writing Credits:
Susan Coyne

The journey that led to Charles Dickens' creation of A Christmas Carol.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$1,357,129 on 626 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $22.98
Release Date: 3/13/2018

• “The Story Behind The Man Who Invented Christmas” Featurette
• Previews


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The Man Who Invented Christmas [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 28, 2018)

Virtually no holiday story gets more play every year than Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. If you ever wondered how that tale came to exist, 2017’s Ths Man Who Invented Christmas offers a look.

Set in the 1840s, writer Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) finds himself in a slump, as his last few works flopped. With little money available and debts on the rise, Dickens encounters potentially desperate times.

Determined to lift himself out of his financial and creative concerns, Dickens decides to write and self-publish a Christmas tale. As he digs into this task, his estranged father (Jonathan Pryce) and mother (Ger Ryan) come to stay, a development that complicates his endeavor and threatens its success.

At the onset, I posited that Man would appeal to those who wondered about the circumstances that led to the creation of Christmas Carol. Do I count as a member of that club? Not really, but I like “behind the scenes” sorts of information, so I figured Man might deliver an enjoyable experience.

Alas, such hopes don’t really come to fruition. While Man musters a modicum of intrigue due to its premise, the end result lacks cohesion.

Tonally, Man hops all over the place. It goes from melodrama to farce to sentiment without a lot of logic, and all these shifts leave it without a unified feel.

Much of the time, Man comes across as little more than an alternate way to retell Christmas Carol. Maybe that’s not a terrible idea, as we’ve seen umpteen variations on that story over the decades, but this one really doesn’t work, partly because it tries to have its proverbial cake.

In other words, Man wants to be a docudrama while it also embraces the story and spirit of Carol. It doesn’t pull off these attempts, so it becomes muddled and inconsistent.

Man does come with a nice cast, but Stevens’ campy performance as Dickens leaves me cold. Though he feels a little more grounded as the film goes, he seems too silly and broad most of the time.

None of these factors make Man a poor film, as its basic premise musters a modicum of entertainment value. However, the execution remains inconsistent, so it fails to coalesce into a strong movie.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

The Man Who Invented Christmas appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a fine transfer.

Overall definition seemed positive. Only a little softness materialized, so the movie usually appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

In terms of colors, Man went for a heavily orange and teal tint. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Man fell into expected realms. A few scenes – mainly related to fantasy elements – used the various channels well. Usually the track remained oriented toward ambience, though, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed perfectly adequate for the project.

The Story Behind The Man Who Invented Christmas runs two minutes, 46 seconds and provides info from executive producer Paula Mazur, screenwriter Susan Coyne, author Les Standiford, director Bharat Nalluri, and actors Christopher Plummer and Dan Stevens. The piece brings thoughts about story and characters. It’s a basic promo reel.

The disc opens with ads for Ethel & Ernest, The Breadwinner, Aliens Ate My Homework and Woody Woodpecker. Previews adds clips for Meagan Leavey and Trolls Holiday. No trailer for Man appears here.

Overly sentimental and inconsistent, The Man Who Invented Christmas feels more half-baked than I’d like. While a few charms emerge, the end result suffers from too much forced emotion. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and audio but it lacks notable supplements. Man just makes me wish I watched a version of Christmas Carol instead.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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