Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

  • Co-Produced and Directed by Ron Howard
  • November 8, 2000 (Los Angeles) / November 17, 2000 (US)

The Grinch, living on the outskirts of Whoville, plans on ruining Christmas for the town’s citizens.

My issue with the adaptions of How the Grinch Stole Christmas beyond the Karloff adaption is that with all the padding they lose the point of the story. In the original story the Whos understood Christmas. They liked the bells and whistles but in the end they just got it. Here they seem to have missed the point completely. The Whos focus on commercialism and getting gifts and discounts and one upping their neighbors with decorations.

Most of my issues with this film come from the need to pad the original story out in order to justify a feature-length presentation. With all the extras they begin to muddle the point and the heart of the story. It moves away from How the Grinch Stole Christmas and closer to a reboot of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and by reboot I mean a story that is connected in broad strokes that takes many of the names and some of the elements and slaps it onto a story that is barely related.

The Whos are genuine jerks in this movie. Truth be told I feel they kind of deserve whatever The Grinch (Jim Carrey) does to them in this movie. Here The Grinch was not grinchy because of his head not being screwed on quite right or his shoes being too small but rather because he was being treated like a jerk by those people. The Grinch’s attitude towards Christmas and the Whos is justified.

In the original story (and I’m talking the book at most) the reason for his disposition was that he just didn’t get it. Something in his experiences caused him to not get Christmas but here because of how he was treated by the Whos and their obsession over Christmas he hates Christmas. His hatred of his neighbors is projected onto the holiday. Adding a reason is unnecessary. Allowing the mind of the viewer to come up with why makes the story more personal and thus more impactful.

Originally in part The Grinch’s change of heart came from the purity of spirit of Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen here) who was not more than two (but here she is around six). In other words, they never met until that night but here she is an annoying neighbor that just won’t seem to go away.

I know there are people who love this film, but I am not one of them. It’s not terrible but it’s not great either. It’s merely okay when it comes to the story. Visually it is very engaging and perfectly captures the look and feel of a Dr. Seuss book. And that is what helped me get through to the closing credits.

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an adequate film adaption of a classic Dr. Seuss story. Visually it gets things right but from a narrative perspective it deviates far too greatly to the point that it removes the message originally presented. I can see its appeal but it’s not something I would recommend if you’re a fan of the book or the Boris Karloff special.

Published by warrenwatchedamovie

Just a movie lover trying spread the love.

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