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Friday Film Review: Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol

Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol (1988)
Genre: Spoof
Grade: A

“Bad guys have all the fun.”

No, right now I’m not in a very serious Christmas mood. Let’s have some fun with it, I say. And what better way than with Edmund Ebneezer Blackadder (Rowan Atkinson), his trusty sidekick Baldrick (Tony Robinson) and most of the regular Blackadder cast of Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, Miriam Margolyes, Robbie Coltrane, Jim Broadbent, Patsy Byrne plus a few other assorted gits.

Ebneezer Blackadder is the kindest man in all England. He never laughs at bathroom humour and gives out humbugs, the sweet not the saying, to all. But after visits from extortionary Mrs. Scratchit, gin shop boozer children, a screeching god-daughter and fat gits, Blackadder and Baldrick are picked clean. Their only hope for any Christmas prezzies is if Father Christmas, as he comes down the chimney, can overcome the fumes from Baldrick’s stocking. Still, nothing can dampen the Christmas spirit for Ebneezer Blackadder. That is until the Spirit of Christmas visits Blackadder in his sleep and shows him how awful Blackadder’s ancestors were and what might be in store for Blackadder’s descendants should Blackadder not change his ways. It’s an eye opener to say the least. Will Blackadder remain the kind spirited, generous man he is – or will he have a change of heart?

Well, peel my tangerines and baste my steaming puddings but this one is fun. It’s a complete send up of “A Christmas Carol” in the Blackadder style. Actually, it’s a little unnerving to initially see Blackadder being so kind. I keep expecting him to punch Baldrick or let loose with his usual pithy insults to the morons and idiots around him. But as soon as the Scottish Spirit of Christmas shows up in Blackadder’s dreams and the scenes change to, first Blackadder’s Elizabethan ancestor keeping his head and getting Melchitt to lose his, then a Georgian Blackadder trying to squeeze prezzies and the silver service from a thick Regent and, finally, to a future Blackadder who might end up ruling the universe if he is ruthless enough, things felt right at home. I’m glad that they avoided revisiting Blackadder the First – which I’ve always disliked – and can see why a trip to the trenches of WWI would be a downer for a Christmas special – though if anyone could make that funny then it’s Blackadder.

The Victorian setting is hilarious too. Due to the high infant mortality, Spot ends up playing the baby Jesus in the workhouse nativity play and Blackadder’s Christmas tree twig ends up making Charlie Brown’s tree look downright magnificent in comparison. But as Ebeneezer says, “it’s not what you’ve got, it’s where you stick it.” Then there’s the visit from Vickie and her German sausauge….

So, don’t be serious and ruin the X-Mas atmos – watch Blackadder’s A Christmas Carol on Netlix (streaming) or youtube (up in three parts). And “A Messy Merry Kwelfnuve Kweznuz” to you all.

~Jayne

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

25 Comments

  1. Jane Lovering
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 04:15:22

    I’ve always rather fancied Tony Robinson (my lifelong shame) even as Baldrick. Is there a cure?

  2. Maili
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 04:51:53

    @Jane Lovering: Yes. Tony as Robin in Spider-Plant Man. Y-front alert!

    If that doesn’t work, then here is a possible cure: he’s newly married. And from Leytonstone.

  3. Jayne
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 06:28:43

    @Jane Lovering: Ah-ha. So I should have been looking for pictures of Baldrick in the leather loincloth…

  4. MarieC
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 07:28:48

    Ah! Finally, a Christmas special that we can all enjoy! How can you not love this, with such supporting cast members as Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Miranda Richardson, and Jim Broadbent?

  5. Danielle D
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 07:32:07

    I never heard of this movie before, I’ll have to check it out.

  6. Sunita
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 07:49:11

    Curses, Jayne, now I have to pull my Blackadder collection and rewatch it! This and the Muppet Christmas Carol are going in the DVD queue for the weekend.

    I must admit I too have a bizarre attachment to Tony Robinson. Is he sending out subliminal messages to us somehow?

  7. MarieC
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:02:21

    @Sunita: It’s all part of his cunning plan….

  8. Donna
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:07:01

    It’s also streaming on Netflix right now. Hurrah for instant gratification!

  9. Theresa Romain
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:44:21

    Yay! Thanks, Jayne, for this review. I haven’t watched this for a few years, and now I’m remembering all the hilarious bits (of which there are many). My brother and I like to wish each other a “Merry Messy Kweznuz” every year. Time to follow that up with another viewing.

  10. Jayne
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:55:35

    @MarieC: All of the supporting actors are just so great. It was great to see them again.

  11. Jayne
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:57:03

    @Donna: That’s how I watched it. Netflix instant gratification. Had it not been for that, you’d be reading a review for MST3K “Santa Claus” or MST3K “Santa Claus vs the Martians.”

  12. Jayne
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 08:58:59

    @Sunita: Oooh, I’ve been thinking about getting a Blackadder Collection.

  13. Barb in Maryland
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 09:00:37

    I am laughing already and I haven’t even started re-watching it. Thanks for the upbeat choice today. My favorite part was the Blackadder Future segment. The leather Speedo is just mind-boggling.

  14. Jayne
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 09:05:50

    @Barb in Maryland:Frondo: What news of the foul Marmydons?
    Cmdr. Edmund Blackadder: Scattered to the nine vectors, m’lord.
    Frondo: And the Sheepsqueezers of Splatticon Five? Have they been suckcreamed as a Qvarnbeast’s nobbo?
    Cmdr. Edmund Blackadder: Well they’re dead, if that’s what you mean.
    Pigmot: Plus Commander, did you vanquish the Nibblepibblies?
    Cmdr. Edmund Blackadder: No, my lord Pigmot, I did not vanquish the Nibblepibbles because you just made them up.

  15. Jane Lovering
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 09:18:32

    So glad I am not alone in my Tony-worshipping. I plead the fact that he has lovely eyes…

  16. Isobel Carr
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 10:01:43

    Adore this one! It’s in regular rotation in my house, not just at Christmas (and I too always skip the medieval Blackadder!).

  17. Angie
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 11:11:01

    This was wonderful. :D I’ve always loved Blackadder, although I agree that the first season wasn’t the best. But watching Blackadder maintain good humor and a generous spirit through all those visits was hilarious, hee! I had this mental image of Rowan Atkinson thinking up all these great razor-sharp putdowns in his head while he recited his mealy-mouthed lines; I’ll bet a commentary track from him would be hilarious.

    Angie

  18. Sarah Morgan
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:58:05

    I love this film but for some reason I hadn’t thought about it this Christmas so I’m dragging it out to watch when we come back from happy seasonal frolicking with our neighbours this evening. In the UK, Tony Robinson has for years presented an archaeology programme called Time Team (not sure if it went to the US) which has also made him a real favourite but nothing beats his performance as the completely adorable Baldrick. Buy the collection Jayne, you know you deserve it :)
    Merry Christmas

  19. Kate Pearce
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 13:41:17

    I love BlackAdder so much and this one is priceless! Thanks for reminding me to dig it out for Christmas. :)

  20. erinf1
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 13:57:10

    Thanks sooo much for the post! I saw this years and years ago and couldn’t remember the title!! And trying to describe it… well… it was gently suggested to me that maybe I was mashing together a few movies :)

    Happy Holidays!

  21. Kaye55
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 17:05:19

    This is a classic! What is it about British humor that
    makes American humor pale in comparison. I need this type of silliness this time of year. Thanks for the review

  22. dri
    Dec 23, 2011 @ 20:31:43

    @Jayne: Oh gosh yes!

    I too was so unnerved and so delighted by Blackadder’s journey in this. That Rowan Atkinson, what a marvellous marvellous strangely attractive man. Although yes, I totally hear youse on the Tony Robinson love. Hee. :p

    And Miriam as Queen Victoria! I always squeal my head off whenever she pops in anything, she’s so wickedly wonderful. *sigh* Good pick, Jayne, good pick.

  23. Ali
    Dec 24, 2011 @ 02:47:54

    What a great choice of Christmas movie :) LOVE the Blackadder collection!

  24. Jayne
    Dec 24, 2011 @ 07:42:00

    @Sarah Morgan: @Ali: Alrighty then. Everyone talked me into it and I just ordered the Ultimate Collection – or whatever it’s called with all the series and the specials and lots of other goodies. It’s my Christmas gift to myself.

  25. Azure
    Dec 24, 2011 @ 08:44:12

    I’ve meant to buy the Blackadder Ultimate Collection for a while now…watching the Christmas special again just gave me a reason to treat myself! (Hey, it’s Christmas, why not??)

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