Whether you are listening to Boris Karloff reading the story in the original cartoon or Anthony Hopkins narrating the Jim Carrey Grinch or indeed reading it to your kids or having it read to you (or just reading it because you can of course) one story everyone knows and loves, one story everyone reads and remembers every Christmas time is Dr Seuss The Grinch who stole Christmas.
Today we’ll be looking at the 2000 film starring Jim Carrey but the cartoon is just as good and of course the book is the best.
“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot…
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, Did NOT!”
The Grinch, like most live action Dr Seuss movies recently, took the tale and made it more. The thing that I enjoyed the most about this take on the Grinch was that it did take the story and just expanded.
The Grinch is a creature who hates Christmas, the Who’s in Whoville love Christmas, this makes them terrible neighbours. As they say in the story “It could be his head wasn’t screwed on just right. It could be, perhaps, that his shows were too tight. But I think that the most likely reason of all, May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.” but we never got a reason to why his heart was two sizes too small and when the story ends with his heart growing three times it doesn’t give you a reason why just because he lost to the Who’s (who wouldn’t be sad just because he stole Christmas) that his heart would suddenly grow instead of shrink even more (OK maybe it was just learning the true meaning of Christmas…. But still….)
In this movie they don’t make the Who’s the good guys. Their mayor is a bully who causes most of the problems by being jealous of the feelings Martha May Whovier has for the Grinch. As a kid he was picked on which lead him to leaving Whoville to live in Mt Crumpit, when Cindy Lou makes him the Cheermeister the Mayor proceeds to play a horrible joke on the Grinch whilst proposing to Martha May in front of him.
A lot of what he says though when he finally loses his temper is something as adults you can truly understand. When you are a kid you have nothing to worry about, you get given presents and the worst thing you have to do is go with your mum or dad or guardian to get presents for others but it is them that is paying. When you get older Christmas still is magical but there is a stress around it. What do you get everyone? When you are on limited money what can you do? And these feasts as a kid suddenly have to be brought by you and cooked by you, Santa no longer wraps the presents you do…. And what actually happens?
Well when I was a kid no amount of toys were broken on Christmas, most of the day was spent putting paper and cardboard boxes into the bin with a tiny bit of plastic left over… Even now I have bath stuff I haven’t touched since last Christmas in my bathroom, this year I’ll surely get more, I could bathe the world twice over with the bloody amount of bath stuff I get from people who don’t know what to get me! My partner gets clothes that he either gives away or never wears, people at work trying to be nice buy us chocolates that we don’t like so they go in the bin….
It isn’t what Christmas is about but it is something all adults stress about. The Grinch movie actually portrays this stress through the Grinch (he is still a random Christmas hating person but his speeches hit home) whilst showing the change most adults have in the end. For all the stress you end up having Christmas and everything is OK. Its like a metamorphosis story. The breakdowns, the tears, the hatred of knowing you’ll be wasting money….. And then on Christmas you just relax and its Christmas.
The adult humour mixed in also makes it worth the watch for adults as well as kids (I laugh every time you see the aunts Christmas party…)
Then again why this works is that it keeps the story and the feel of the Grinch and that is where Carrey comes in. As a kid I loved anything I saw of Jim Carrey, as a adult I don’t. This was probably the last film I truly liked with him in and he plays it well. He has the perfect voice for it and the perfect mannerisms. It really felt like the Grinch out of the cartoon come to life. He honestly was just a great Grinch.
Its fun for the whole family with a heart warming ending where the “bad” guy comes good and everyone gets to enjoy Christmas together. It is a rare Christmas film where you can actually enjoy Christmas with everyone around you because the jokes are both childish and adult.
I feel like I’ve over analyzed the movie and not really told you why I like it! Visually it is a beautiful movie, the colour scheme is perfect for Christmas (the reds and the greens) and the Grinch is a story that is more fun to read/watch then say the Christmas Carol which has the same sort of story.
It is one of the better Seuss adaptations and this is mainly down to the fact that it perfectly keeps the feeling of the story but also expands on it to make it mean something to people now. And it is a timeless story for all the family.
I’ve always loved the Grinch as a character and this is the first film to be watched every Christmas time for us.
One of the really good ones.
And just because it wasn’t in our Playlist for this year here is Where are you Christmas by Faith Hill which was sung by Cindy Lou Who (played by Taylor Momsen) in the film (she’s actually in a band called The Pretty Reckless now!)