**½/**** Image A- Sound A Extras B
screenplay by Robert Zemeckis, based on the novel by Charles Dickens
directed by Robert Zemeckis
THE FOURTH KIND
starring Milla Jovovich, Will Patton, Corey Johnson, Elias Koteas
written and directed by Olatunde Osunsanmi
by Ian Pugh If Robert Zemeckis hasn't quite left the Uncanny Valley behind, at the very least, the heart missing from his latest effort--what seems like the trillionth retelling of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, and the billionth animated one--correlates directly to its absence of personality, rather than to an absence of humanity. A backhanded compliment, to be sure, but the character designs finally resemble something closer to artistic interpretation than to a failed attempt at replicating human beings exactly as they are, with Marley (Gary Oldman) and Scrooge (Jim Carrey), for example, rendered almost expressionistically to evoke rotten apples and hunched skeletons. From that standpoint, the actors' sudden bursts of acrobatic grace, no longer so incongruous, capture some of computer-animated cinema's wonder, the kind at which Zemeckis has grasped since The Polar Express--a true example of bringing the impossible to life. The only problem is that Zemeckis's own script isn't worth more than a shrug, and the film relies too much on its visuals to carry the extra weight.