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How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

A movie directed by Ron Howard based upon the classic holiday book.

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Stick with the original

  • Dec 5, 2006
Rating:
-1
When Hollywood decided that the classic Christmas cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas needed updating, I experienced a quaver of fear. How, I wondered, could anyone bring the classic Dr. Seuss tale and its gnarly green villain to life as vividly as the 1966 animation?

I can give a mixed report. Jim Carrey, in the title role, does a marvelous job recreating the nasty antithesis of Yuletide joy. His actions and facial contortions are near-perfect (although his voice, I must admit, pales in comparison to the cartoon version's Boris Karloff). He dominates the entire film with energy and antics only slightly overshadowed by his prodigious makeup and costume. Anthony Hopkins also did good work as the narrator.

But director Ron Howard didn't do the Seuss story complete justice. Instead of reimagining the original through a new lens, he gave us a completely different story. The Whos of Who-ville are the primary victims here -- where once they were beatific inhabitants of a remote and pastoral village, they've become greedy, materialistic, hard-partying gluttons in a town based solely on marketing and capitalism.

Cindy Lou Who, the innocent tot who discovers the Grinch at his nefarious thievery, is now an older child (Taylor Momsen) bent on redeeming the famous hermit, who boldly braves his mountain fastness to spread her version of holiday cheer. Even the Grinch's pseudo-Santa sleigh has been reinvented, now boasting rocket boosters. And the new back-story, which attempts to explain the Grinch's Christmas loathing, doesn't make a lot of sense. While the cartoon gave us a villain who was evil, rotten to his core and filled with inexplicable rage at the world, this Grinch is simply misunderstood and overly mischievous. Also, should the Grinch's big redemption scene really involve so much heart-thumping pain?

I feel sorry for the children who will grow up associating this movie with Dr. Seuss' marvelous story, rather than the animated feature which still holds up so well after 35 years. A favorite Christmas tradition has been replaced with typical Hollywood glitz and glitter, and the season is poorer for it. Please, if you have children (or a childlike fascination for Christmas), stick with the original.

by Tom Knapp, Rambles editor

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More Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stol... reviews
review by . May 03, 2009
This movie, which was painful to view especially with my 7 year old present, totally destroyed the spirit of Dr. Seuss. In his book the Grinch was a Grumpy old person who just wanted in the end that the people like him. In this dark comedy we get a vicious beast that tries to kill a little girl without a thought. The same beast is sought after by a sex craved woman.     The director tried to rip off the Munchkin Land (a la Wizard of Oz) look of the town and does a real poor job …
review by . January 24, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
This movie, which was painful to view especially with my 7 year old present, totally destroyed the spirit of Dr. Seuss. In his book the Grinch was a Grumpy old person who just wanted in the end that the people like him. In this dark comedy we get a vicious beast that tries to kill a little girl without a thought. The same beast is sought after by a sex craved woman.    The director tried to rip off the Munchkin Land (a la Wizard of Oz) look of the town and does a real poor job …
review by . January 10, 2005
The original Dr. Seuss Story on How The Grinch Stole Christmas was a mere half hour cartoon. The original cartoon version kept it simple without any extended sidebars and remains more successful.    Ron Howard tries to exaggerate this story and more or less fails quite miserably. Jim Carrey tries his best but even he comes up short with his over-exaggerated antics. The other actors and actresses in Whoville just sit there and take up space. They just all look like a bunch of …
review by . December 26, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Being no fan of post-In Living Color Jim Carrey, I expected to thoroughly detest this movie, and I didn't. It was watchable - a mite hypocritical, perhaps, being a (somewhat) buried morality tale about the crass commerciality of Christmas Present (if you'll excuse the pun), but all the same aimed to cash in on the Christmas cinema market.Jim Carrey is, despite three inches of latex, fur and green spray paint, distressingly recognisable as Jim Carrey, and hardly recognisable as Dr Suess' Grinch: …
review by . December 07, 2000
Pros: Jim Carey is nothing short of brilliant; ideal for children.     Cons: Considerable poetic license taken with the movie     Twas the eve before Christmas and all through the land, the cash registers were clinging and money, sweet money, was exchanging hands. The people came rushing to spend their hard earned cash, to empty the store shelves of everything including Who-hash. The season came early before All Hallows Eve; come spend your money, your savings, …
review by . December 01, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: great sets; wonderful costumes; good script; Jim Carrey is AWESOME     Cons: The mayor (Jeffrey Tambor) annoyed me; lots of little kids in the theater     So, I've been on a bit of a movie kick lately. I can't seem to get enough of the stars and stories plastered on the screen, enveloped in the wonderful aromas of buttery popcorn and nachos while my feet stick to the ground. I love the cinema.      The latest film (not including the …
review by . December 01, 2000
Pros: great sets; wonderful costumes; good script; Jim Carrey is AWESOME     Cons: The mayor (Jeffrey Tambor) annoyed me; lots of little kids in the theater     So, I've been on a bit of a movie kick lately. I can't seem to get enough of the stars and stories plastered on the screen, enveloped in the wonderful aromas of buttery popcorn and nachos while my feet stick to the ground. I love the cinema.      The latest film (not including the …
About the reviewer
Tom Knapp ()
I founded the online review site, Rambles.NET, in 1999 and continue to operate the site with more than 200 contributors and more than 14,000 reviews in our permanent online archives. A fraction of my … more
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Wiki

Director Ron Howard casts comedian Jim Carrey in the title role in this live-action adaptation of the famous Christmas tale by Dr. Seuss, giving this rendition of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS a delightfully manic spin. Carrey is virtually unrecognizable in his elaborate green makeup, but his anarchic comic touch is unmistakable. He manages to fully embody the grumpy title character, while still supplying his own comedic touches, and it is his performance that makes the film a treat for adults and children alike. The candy-colored set design for the town of Whoville and the jubilant score contribute to the overall feeling of innocuous fantasy that the Grinch disrupts with his dastardly deeds. The familiar story of the Grinch stealing every present in town on Christmas Eve has been expanded to incorporate flashbacks to the Grinch's childhood, which serve to explain his hostility toward the Whos. As Cindy Lou-Who, a little girl so sweet she sees goodness even in the Grinch, young Taylor Momsen strikes jus...
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Details

Director: Ron Howard
Genre: Family
Release Date: 2000
MPAA Rating: PG
Screen Writer: Jeffrey Price, Peter S. Seaman
DVD Release Date: November 20, 2001
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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