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'A Christmas Carol' at El Capitan

November 12, 2009|Liesl Bradner

The winter holidays have come early to the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, as it celebrates Disney-style with an eight-week run of the film "A Christmas Carol" and a stage show. As has become tradition at the El Capitan, the newest Disney release has been turned into a participatory live event for the kids.

Before taking in director Robert Zemeckis' rambunctious 3-D version of the Charles Dickens classic, moviegoers see a kid-friendly 15-minute theatrical performance of singers, Rockette-style dancers and live appearances by Mickey, Minnie and a Goofy Santa. Families are invited to sing and ring along to a medley of Christmas carols (jingle bells provided) as they make their way into a theater set up as a winter wonderland, complete with falling faux snow.

With all that going on, the El Capitan experience is little affected by the fact that the film opened to disappointing box-office sales and reviews. Jim Carrey stars in the remake of "A Christmas Carol" and plays several of the characters, including the four ghosts and the curmudgeonly Scrooge, who oddly resembles "The Simpsons' " bone-thin, creepy boss, Mr. Burns. The film was made in stop-motion animation created by ImageMovers, the same company that produced "The Polar Express."

"The amazing 3-D effects of the film, along with the theater and stage show, really bring the holidays to life at the beginning of the season," said Paul Baribault, vice president of special events for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

After the film, moviegoers can head downstairs to visit an exhibit that features concept art, models, maquettes, costumes and behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the film. Kids can catch a glimpse of the less glamorous and often comical side of moviemaking, as actors Carrey and Gary Oldman, who portrays Bob Cratchit and his son, Tiny Tim, perform in awkward motion-capture suits. These suits make them look like a combination of Oompa Loompas and members of the Blue Man Group.

Also on display are several artifacts from the Charles Dickens Museum in London, including a quill pen and copies of the original story.

During the previews, audiences can catch a glimpse of Disney's "The Princess and the Frog." Beginning Nov. 25, special screenings of "Princess" will be presented on a soundstage at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, with original props and costumes from the Disney archives also on view, and access to a bayou adventure with rope swings and tree climbing.

"A Christmas Carol's" rating is PG for scary sequences and intense scenes. However, any fears that little ones might experience could be alleviated once they walk through the door of the Disney-run soda fountain next door, which is offering a "Tiny Tim's Treat" sundae and "Candy Cane Crunch." On weekends, filmgoers can book a breakfast with a live Disney character, though these tend to sell out quickly week to week.

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liesl.bradner@latimes.com

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'A Christmas Carol' and Holiday Spectacular

Where: El Capitan Theatre, 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

When: Now through Jan. 3

Price: $16 adults; $14 children and seniors; $26 VIP; character breakfast $20 per person

Contact: (800) DISNEY6 or www.elcapitantickets.com

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