This is my favorite version of A Christmas Carol. Sir Michael Caine is brilliant, and the songs have strikingly beautiful lyrics.
I would give it five stars if they hadn't cut out "When Love Is Gone." (I am reviewing the Amazon Instant Video version.)
Without that song, the artistic integrity of the film falls apart. I know, I'm taking a Muppet movie very seriously. The reason given for removing the song was that it was "too sad for kids." I watched it as a kid. I cried. I still cry if I really get into watching this scene. That's not a bad thing. Heartbreak is sad. From this scene forward, Scrooge's journey is to heal his broken heart, and to lift the audience up with him. The emotional arc collapses without this song.
It makes no sense that Rizzo and Scrooge are quietly observing one second, and sobbing the next.
Caine's amazing performance comes off as overacting, when you take away the song.
The Ghost of Christmas Present's entrance has no impact, because it no longer contrasts with the previous scene.
Present's song makes no sense: the message "wherever you find love, it feels like Christmas" is no longer a direct response to "when love is gone."
The finale has the same problem: "when love is found" has no resonance as a reprise of "when love is gone."
Taking out this song just destroys the plot. In the original, the past serves to break Scrooge as he relives the tragedies in his life (absent father, dying sister, bad break-up). The present shows him the joy he's missing, now that his heart is open to emotion. The future takes that open heart and shows him he's not the only one who suffers, that selfishness prolongs the suffering eternally whereas charity and compassion heals.
You've got to break Scrooge, but you've got to break him as a human to whom we can all relate. Disney, when you re-release this movie intact and whole, it will be a huge money-grab. DO IT. TAKE MY MONEY. You insult Dickens and Henson's memory by butchering this film.