Flashback Review: How The Grinch Stole Christmas

In the year 1957, children’s author, Dr. Seuss, published a book called “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” The Story is about a hairy creature who despises Christmas, he attempts to cancel the holiday by literally stealing every gift, from various citizens of a peaceful town called, “Whoville.” Despite succeeding on his quest, the townspeople still celebrate Christmas without presents, with a change of heart, The Grinch returns all the presents to the townspeople, and he redeems himself on what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.

Over the years, the book became an influential legacy on Dr. Seuss’ reputation as a children’s author. In 1966, animator, Chuck Jones aired an animated special based on the book of the same name, starring Boris Karloff as the titular character. It went on to receive critical acclaim from television viewers, and as a result, the animated special continues to air on television every December as a Christmas tradition.

After Dr. Seuss died in 1991, his widow, Audrey Geisel, has officially allowed Hollywood producers to adapt her late husband’s work because Seuss himself felt reluctant to let movie studios adapt his beloved classics. The first film to ever adapt a Dr. Seuss related work, is none other than How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

How The Grinch Stole Christmas, was released in 2000. (same year Unbreakable came out) Jim Carrey portrays The Grinch, and Ron Howard directed the picture. It received mixed reviews from critics and it was a box office success. Like Boris Karloff’s animated special, the film continues to air on television as a Christmas tradition.

Universal Pictures has confirmed that a C.G.I. remake starring Benedict Cumberbatch, as the title character, is slated for a 2018 release date.

This review contains big SPOILERS. Let’s be honest, we’ve all read the book and witnessed the animated special with Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the lead character.

Clean & Dirty Aspects

Clean: Jim Carrey did a great job for his performance as the titular character. His voice is based on Sean Connery’s Scottish accent. I have to give him Bonus Points for undergoing all that Prosthetic Makeup he had to endure.

Fun Fact: Jim went on to play Ebenezer Scrooge, in Robert Zemeckis’ “A Christmas Carol.” Both of the main protagonists he played, have a change of heart in a Christmas related tale. Scrooge was the inspiration for Dr. Seuss’ iconic character.

Other Cast Members including Jeffery Tambor, Bill Irwin, (TARS from Interstellar) Molly Shannon, Christina Baranski, Taylor Momsen, & Clint Howard (Ron’s real life brother) all did a good job on their performances.

Ron Howard did a good job directing the film.

Ron’s business partner, Brian Grazer produced the film courtesy of their production company Imagine Entertainment.

Anthony Hopkins, (Hannibal Lecter/Odin/Ford from HBO’s Westworld) narrates the story.

Oscar Winning Makeup Artist, Rick Baker (An American Werewolf In London, The Nutty Professor) applied prosthetic makeup to transform Jim as the title character.

Set Pieces such as Whoville, The Grinch’s Lair, were all created by hand, rather than a fake looking Blue Screen from “The Phantom Menace.”

During a flashback of The Grinch’s early years, a Smash Mouth song plays in the background. Three years later, “The Cat In The Hat,” also featured another Smash Mouth song doing a cover version of The Beatles song called “Getting Better.” By the way, The Cat In The Hat is an epic clunker.

“Chariots Of Fire,” plays in the background with The Grinch competing at a sack race. Three years later, Jim’s other film, “Bruce Almighty,” also plays the same musical piece.

I’m gonna give this film an Extra Point for The Grinch, breaking The Fourth Wall. At least it’s not Mike Myers as The Cat.

My favorite line in this film is, “Uh oh, somebody’s fabulous!”

The Grinch goes on a family friendly version of GTA’s “Five Star Wanted Level.” I want to see a Grinch mod added to “GTA V.”

Unlike Mike Myers’ god awful Cat who can’t rhyme like he’s suppose to, The Grinch speaks in rhymes. He even mentions that he’s speaking in rhymes.

As he builds his sleigh, The Grinch sings his iconic theme song, “Mr. Grinch.” To put the cherry on top, he has a license plate on the sleigh labeled, “Mean 1.”

The Grinch made a meta-reference to Ron Howard by acting like a film director.

Nostalgia Critic pointed out that The Grinch did a “barrel roll” from “Star Fox 64.” As a gamer myself, it gave me a chuckle.

The Third Act is a recreation of The Grinch’s quest to steal gifts, ornaments, food, and of course, the Christmas tree.

The Mayor Of Whoville, finally gets a taste of his own medicine for mocking The Grinch since childhood.

Dirty: The Filter in this movie looked like it came from a truck stop, it’s as if the camera hasn’t been polished properly. Kids, that’s what happens if you encourage Zack Snyder to use a dirty filter for “Man Of Steel.”

Cinematography contains Dutch Angles. Oh My God! This came out the same year as The Razzie Award winning film, “Battlefield Earth” that killed John Travolta’s career as a leading man!

Before Taylor Momsen grew up as a full fledged singer, her singing ability at the time wasn’t that good. I unintentionally laughed at her, it’s like Mariah Carey feeling constipated while singing a high note. Perhaps she pooped out Ariana Grande.

The Grinch’s origin on why he developed a deep seeded hatred on Christmas, felt backwards, because the citizens of Whoville are the ones responsible for isolating The Grinch by making fun of his appearance. Ironically, there’s no reason for The Grinch to hate Christmas, this makes The Who’s the actual bad guys, while The Grinch himself felt like he was the good guy from the very beginning. In the book/animated special, he was already a villain, until he had a change of heart, and The Who’s were nice people.

There’s a fake looking Green Screen Effect showing kids bouncing on hoppity hops.

Annoying Cartoon Sound Effects are often used. If the movie is animated, I’m willing to give it a pass.

Look, I understand Cindy in the book didn’t recognize The Grinch as Santa, but in the film, she’s aware of what he looks like. Ron Howard accidentally made Cindy act like Lois Lane on not recognizing Clark Kent who’s obviously Superman. As Mr. Potato Head from “Toy Story” once said, “Did you take stupid pills this morning?”

The Final Verdict: B-

In my opinion, The Grinch has some moments that are good, and a few that are cringeworthy. I was gonna give my Final Verdict a C, if it weren’t for all the pros I’ve listed. A solid B- will do. If you have a family, I recommend this movie for a gathering to spend time with your kids, nephews, nieces, or grandkids.

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