Released: 11/17/00 Rated: PG
As far as animation-to-live action adaptations go, I really don’t think you can get better than this. I mean, this project could have ended up being unbelievably horrible; Dr. Seuss is not easy to accomplish. How do you propose to bring a character like The Grinch to life? I don’t have the DVD, so I haven’t seen much of the behind-the-scenes process, but I do know that they definitely went through a bunch of different looks for Carey before they finally settled on one. Some of them were a little scarey, and one was basically just Carey painted green with crazy sideburns! I’m glad they didn’t choose that look!
Jim Carey is probably the master of facial expressions and movement, as well as voices. I can’t picture anyone else pulling off this role. The best thing is that he doesn’t look like Jim Carey. There is one moment–for me–where Carey shines through the makeup, but I may be the only one who sees it. I think he’s brilliant in this role and really brings it to life. He’s evil, but it’s to the extent of this goofy town he lives near. They rhyme for crying out loud! The film stayed very true to Dr. Seuss’ rhyming. I just love how they incorporated that throughout the feature.
Overall, in comparison to the cartoon, it’s the same story, but in a different tone. This is a comedy, hands down; whereas the cartoon portrayed the Grinch as a more sinister character. They dialed it down– I believe– for families. Let’s face it, if the cartoon was literally placed in live action form, it would scare the crap out of a lot of kids. Personally, I find it easier to believe the transition from “naught to nice” in Carey’s Grinch. I don’t buy being basically pure evil to switching to loving everything in a heartbeat.
I love that Ron Howard gave the Grinch a family and a back story. (I don’t know if any of that is in the written version of the story, but it sure isn’t in the cartoon) He lived in this town, they rejected him, so he ran away to spend the rest of his life terrorizing the town and inspiring fear. This movie is as much about the character as it is about Christmas. Howard also really expanded the message of the film of “Christmas doesn’t come from a store; maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Not only does the Grinch figure this out, but the entire town of Whoville does too. Cindy Lou questions the meaning of Christmas in the most superficial town ever; proving that it’s not about the gifts, but who you’re with. And let’s face it, Howard drew inspiration by imitating our own Black Friday craziness. You will never catch me out shopping on Black Friday because I’m afraid of the Whoville-stampede. 🙂
Overall this movie is a ton of fun. It’s entertaining, it’s crazy, and it’s quotable from beginning to end. Absolutely wonderful.