UPDATE: You can now view 62 photos from the event here!
This morning, Disney officially launched its A Christmas Carol train tour, a traveling presentation bound for over 40 cities across the US between now and the film’s November release.
ComingSoon.net was there, today, at Los Angeles’ historic Union Station as director Robert Zemeckis and star Jim Carrey officially christened the engine with a bottle filled with water from both coasts and ceremoniously donated $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Opening to the public tomorrow in L.A., the exhibit is free of charge, but only available for one to three days, depending on your city. In addition to props from the film, the train also includes artifacts from the life of Charles Dickens, hanging portraits of the entire cast of characters, a sample motion-capture suit, models and concept art, and a chance for visitors to take their pictures and have them morphed into one of four characters from the film.
The tour also includes a few brief scenes of the film itself in full 3-D. The look is comparable to Beowulf or The Polar Express, but with a decided leap forward technologically in terms of the visual design.
First, we see an interaction between Scrooge and his son played by Colin Firth. The two have a conversation about the merits of Christmas and you can imagine what side Scrooge is on.
The second clip has Marley returning as a spirit, warning Scrooge that three ghosts will visit him. Afterwards, there’s the briefest glimpse of the first ghost (also Carrey) whose head is made of a flame with a face.
Though the first clip has that certain unfortunate stiffness to it that we’ve seen in mo-cap before, the second really shines, especially when the ghost enters. As is to be expected, the more photo-real characters look less natural than those with a a heightened visual reality. The ghost is near-perfect and surprisingly disturbing (in a good way) for a family-friendly film. His jaw becomes detached at one point and he’s forced to talk by moving it with his hand. It’s almost like something Sam Raimi would have come up with.
The overall tone of the footage is interesting, too, in that Zemeckis eschews modern jokes and over-the-top dialogue. Carrey is suitably toned-down (at least as Scrooge) and there’s a classic feel to the writing as though Zemeckis is truly making the most faithful version of “A Christmas Carol” possible.
Aboard the exhibit, the train’s framed portraits reveal many of the film’s supporting cast for the very first time and include Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge as a kid, a teen and the more-familiar old-man as well as Robin Wright Penn as Belle as both child and an adult, Bob Hoskins and Jacquie Barnbrook as Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig, Colin Firth as Fred Scrooge, Leslie Zemeckis as his wife and Gary Oldman as both Bob Cratchit and, most amazingly, Tiny Tim.
Check out photos of the train by clicking the image below!