‘The Grinch’ (Film)

‘THE GRINCH’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Jim Carrey is the Grinch

This is a bit of a Christmas guilty pleasure for me!

In 2000, the movie called ‘The Grinch’ (or as the USA calls it ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’) was released at cinemas for Christmas time. It has a reputation for being a well-liked Christmas film to be watched around the festive season. Though that’s not to say it did please everyone who watched it.

‘The Grinch’ is based on the children’s book by Dr. Seuss called ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’ I’ve never read that book at all in my childhood, but I’m pretty familiar with the story. Before the live-action Grinch film was made, there was the 1966 animated Christmas Special based on the book.

I’ve never seen that either and I know that lasted for about 25 minutes or so. There’s also the latest 2018 CGI animated film version of ‘The Grinch’ made for the cinema, but I’ve never seen that either as I consider the live-action version of ‘The Grinch’ with Jim Carrey to be a proper version of the tale.

I never saw the 2000 film of ‘The Grinch’ with Jim Carrey at the cinema when it was released back then. Simply because I had no intention of seeing it and I assumed it might be scary. A year later though, a friend of my Dad’s purchased the DVD for me over Christmas 2001 and I soon got around watching it.

My first experience of ‘The Grinch’ was pretty pleasant. I know it’s not a great Christmas movie as it can be pretty zany in places in terms of its comedic value. But I can’t help to have enjoyed it since I saw it more than once around the Christmas season of 2001. I know the film off by heart nowadays.

The film itself is about the Grinch getting increasingly annoyed with the Whos’ love and enjoyment of Christmas. Very soon, he sets about stealing Christmas from the Whos as he goes on Christmas night, disguised as Santa Claus, to steal all of their presents. But can the Grinch really steal Christmas here?

This was also my first experience of Jim Carrey. Yeah! Before seeing ‘Liar Liar’, ‘Bruce Almighty’ and his performance as the Riddler in ‘Batman Forever’, this was the first time I’d seen Jim Carrey in any movie as a comedic actor. His Grinch performance is very different compared to his other film roles.

I like Jim Carrey as the Grinch. He’s very expressive in the prosthetic make-up he wears as the Grinch, which makes him look convincing as the title character. Sometimes he can be hard to be taken seriously with his zany acting, but then again that’s what you expect when you get Jim Carrey.

Despite his zaniness, Jim Carrey is also able to portray a serious side to his performance as the Grinch. He’s able to show off the darker qualities to the character since the Grinch is someone who absolutely hates Christmas and is determined to stop the Whos of Whoville’s massive enjoyment of it.

Speaking of which, ‘The Grinch’ story does feel unique. The world of the Whos of Whoville is set inside a snowflake. I’m not sure how that can be. But in terms of appreciating the zany quality of the story, I can accept this as a fantasy as well as the fact that the rules of logic don’t apply in this world.

The director of this movie is Ron Howard, who beforehand was an actor of ‘Happy Days’ fame. I found the direction Ron Howard put forward into this movie pretty compelling as well as imaginative. This is especially in how he creates the world of Whoville and the Whos that live within it.

The Whoville set designs are pretty unusual and weird for their appearance, but they seem to make sense in a wonderfully weird Christmassy way. A lot of the time, the action set pieces of Whoville take place outside. This is especially when the crowds of Whoville gather for certain Christmas occasions.

The Whos as characters are pretty interesting. In terms of their make-up, I’m not a huge fan of them. Their weird-looking noses are off-putting, even though this movie is set inside a fantasy world. Strangely the weird-looking noses of the Whos only apply for the adults rather than for the children.

Mind you, I’m able to get over that aspect of the film whilst I’m watching it and soon forget about it halfway through. In the film, the Whos seem pretty obsessive about Christmas and seem to act and walk in pretty weird ways in much the same way the set designs and Who cars are made so weirdly.

Most of the Christmassy stuff in the film feels very commercialised and less on family and intimate stuff, which reflects how Christmas is depicted in modern-day society nowadays. But as the film progresses, we find that there’s more to Christmas than the Whos and even the Grinch realises here.

Incidentally, Dr. Seuss’ writing tends to be entirely in rhyme in his books. ‘The Grinch’ film doesn’t really do that, although there are many instances where characters often speak in rhyme. The film’s narrator, Anthony Hopkins, also tells the story in rhyme with some of the characters interacting too.

I did consider writing my review for ‘The Grinch’ in rhyme, but I felt that would just take up a lot of time. See what I did there? 😀 Anyway these aspects of creating the world of ‘The Grinch’ and its characters are pretty impressive and it feels pretty imaginative and so visual by Ron Howard’s team.

The film features six-year-old Taylor Momson as Cindy Lou Who, the little girl who takes an interest in the Grinch and wants him to become a part of Christmas. I found Cindy Lou to be pretty cute in the film and Taylor Momson would later go on to star in the film ‘Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams’.

There’s Jeffrey Tambor as Mayor Augustus May Who, who is like a rival for the Grinch in the movie. The Mayor doesn’t like the Grinch at all and sees him as a bad egg at around Christmas time. He doesn’t like it when the Grinch has feelings for Martha May and he likes to be the centre of attention.

Christine Baranski stars as Martha May Whovier, a love interest for the Grinch and apparently a parody of Martha Stewart. I’ve no idea who Martha Stewart is as I didn’t register it whilst watching the film. It seems Martha May has feelings for the Grinch just as much as he has for her since he was a kid.

Bill Irwin stars as Lou Lou Who (Really? His first name and his surname are both Lou?), who is Cindy’s father and the Whoville postmaster. Lou is rather caught up in the Christmas festivities as much as every Who in Whoville is. But at least he does listen to Cindy when she’s concerned about Christmas.

Molly Shannon stars as Betty Lou Who, Lou’s wife and Cindy Lou’s mother. Betty seems competitive regarding Christmas decorations, especially when living next door to Martha May’s house. Betty also seems caught up in her own world. She is obsessive about Christmas as every Who in Whoville is.

But of course the big star of the film is Max the dog, played by Kelley! Max is the Grinch’s best friend at his home on Mount Crumpit. Max is reluctant to help the Grinch in his endeavours to steal Christmas from the Whos and he has to adopt the identity of Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer to do it. 😀

The DVD bonus materials are as follows. There’s ‘Spotlight on Location’; deleted scenes; outtakes; ‘Who School’; ‘Makeup Application and Design’; ‘Seussian Set Decoration’ and ‘Visual Effects’. There’s also the theatrical trailer of the movie; ‘Wholiday Recipes’; ‘By the Numbers’; production notes; cast and filmmakers biographies; DVD-Rom materials; ‘The Grinch’ game trailer and the Faith Hill ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ music video. Most of these bonus materials are subtitled on the DVD itself.

There’s also ‘Max’s Playhouse’ which is a fun place for kids of all ages. There you get to do ‘Fun & Games’ and ‘Music Time’. In ‘Fun & Games’, there’s ‘Rhyme Time’; ‘How Do I Find Things?’; ‘The Care and Feeding of the Grinch’ read-along and ‘Dress The Grinch’. In ‘Music Time’, there’s the Faith Hill ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ music video again as well as two sing along songs for ‘Where Are You Christmas?’ by Cindy Lou and ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ by the Grinch.

‘The Grinch’ is definitely one of my guilty pleasures at Christmas time. I enjoyed Jim Carrey’s performance as the Grinch when I saw this film back in 2001. It’s a Christmas delight for the family to see and I certainly enjoyed this live-action film adaptation that introduced to me to Dr. Seuss’ work.

There are some bizarre and zany moments throughout the film, especially with Jim Carrey’s comedic acting and the Whos’ weird mannerisms and their love of Christmas. But the film has special messages about Christmas, saying it doesn’t come from a store and perhaps means a little more.

‘The Grinch’ rating – 8/10


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