on January 29, 2003
Before even seeing it, I knew this live-action remake of the Dr. Seuss classic wouldn't hold a candle to the animated version, but I still found it to be a dull movie. The visuals are fantastic; Who-ville is peppered with enough quirky production design to make even Tim Burton blush. But the buck stops there, folks. The script is nothing more than a shoddy extension of the original story, and it completely fails. There's no heart to this new story at all. And what's with the toilet humor? I'm a silly person who laughs at the dumbest things imaginable, but I know when to laugh and when not to laugh. How could I find this movie funny? It ruined a beloved childhood character of mine. Since when does the Grinch eat glass? Since when is he so rude to Cindy Lou Who? Even at the end of the film, the Grinch is still a cranky son of a gun. Don't buy this for the kids. Instead, opt for the original animated classic, which is being sold for a bargain price. They'll remember that for the rest of their lives, but this movie will soon be long forgotten.
P.S. - Jim Carrey was a little too Carrey-esque for the role of the green guy, but he wasn't terrible. I think a better choice would have been Tim Curry.
on November 14, 2002
I've been a fan of Dr. Seuss's book and the original TV version of this story for as long as I can remember. When I first heard about this movie, I was skeptical yet hopeful. As I saw pictures, I became encouraged. But when I actually got to see the movie, I was highly disappointed.
First, the good. Everything from the costumes and people to the sets looks exactly like a Dr. Seuss story brought to life. The cast does a wonderful job, even Jim Carrey, who I'm a marginal fan of at best.
However, the best part of this movie is the 30 minutes that tell the original story. The back story, while needed to make this a full length movie, does nothing for the plot and lessons the impact of the themes regarding Christmas. Frankly, I was bored waiting for The Grinch to start stealing Christmas.
My recommendation? Skip this movie and get the Boris Karloff cartoon. Or better yet, read the original book. Either would be a better holiday tradition then this disappointing movie.
on July 26, 2002
Is the DVD different than the VHS? Tell me and I'll purchase the VHS. Every review that was negative seemed to have the Dvd version at the end of the review. I purchased the grinch because I have always loved the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who. I could not get through a Christmas season without my boys and myself sitting down to watch the animated version at least a dozen times! It's short, sweet and gets the point across to even the smallest tykes. This movie? Keep in mind that I love both Jim Carrey and Ron Howard please! It scared even me...my seven and one+ year old slept with mom and dad for a WEEK. It did not even come close to putting me in the Christmas spirit. It would have been a better Halloween movie. Forgive me Jim and Ron, but this movie is just not "Christmasy" at all......It was kinda weird, and Jim Carrey may have been a bit too weird - he does tend to go overboard on the seriously odd .......I returned my copy and now will only stick to the wonderful, magical and captivating animated Grinch......No amount of makeup or special effects could ever come close!
on December 11, 2001
I generally like Ron Howard as a director, but boy did he strike out with this stinker. "The Grinch" is just awful! Jim Carrey's muggings garner a few half-hearted chuckles, but the movie is so pointless, plotless, and heartless that all of Mr. Carrey's considerable talents as a comic actor cannot save it. Of course, the butchery of Dr. Seuss' wonderful tale and the Chuck Jones animated feature is quite disturbing to witness.
Its creators threw everything but the kitchen sink into this movie, but left out THE crucial part of Dr. Seuss' story- its Christianity. When all the Whos gather in Whoville to sing "Welcome Christmas" a star rises above them- a clear reference that Christ's birth is the point of Christmas. However, Opie Cunngingham and his gang made sure that "The Grinch" contained no politically incorrect references to Christianity or religion, and thus stripped the story of its spiritual element. So the viewer gets a crassly commerical and spiritually empty movie, which is ironically just the sort of thing Dr. Seuss was trying to show what is wrong with Christmas.
on November 30, 2001
I like Dr. Suess's "The Grinch" book a lot.
But Ron Howard, who wanted to make a Grinch movie, did NOT!
Ron Howard HATED the book, about the green guy.
Please don't ask how. No one really knows why.
But I think the most likely reason, of any sort.
Was the fact that the book was 20 pages too short.
Then he got an idea. An awful idea.
RON HOWARD HAD A WONDERFULL, AWFUL IDEA!
"I'll make this story longer, without any rush. I'll simply give that old Grinch a long, lost third grade crush"!
And that's what Ron did, and not only that.
He made Cindy-Lou Who into a sweet and obnoxious brat!
She's yet another of those kid characters with a lesson for the grown ups. And her hair's shaped like a cone, Down-side up!
Max the dog is still cute, while his tail wags.
But the poor mutt is caught in one of the film's meanest gags!
And when the Grinch grabs some mistletoe, he waves it in front of his tush. OH, NO! OH, NO!
It turns out the Grinch is really a hairy Who. He had a big crush on the cutest girl in school. When he was eight, he had fallen in love. With Martha May Who, who was as sweet as a dove.
But the school bullies thought that the Grinch looked weird.
"You're eight years old, and you already have a beard"!
All that teasing finally made the poor Grinch run away.
To a far away cave, where he would stay.
He learned to hate Christmas, and vowed revenge on the Whos.
But how could he do it? What to do? What to do?
Yes, the grinch book was not very long.
But it was so perfect. Nothing was wrong.
And so, dear Ron Howard, say this, I must.
Your take on "The Grinch" is a complete holiday bust!
on November 28, 2001
I know what you're thinking: Jim Carrey was a sure-fire hit to play the antagonist-turned-protagonist in the live-action remake of "Dr Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas." And why not? His sheer whimsy and comical delight have proven him a master at tickling our fancy. In addition to this casting choice, the project also includes Ron Howard, director of the the winning "Apollo 13" and the child fantasy film "Willow," which has become a classic hit.
Carrey throws everything he has into his performance as the famed Grinch, and Howard creates a film that is visually stunning in its production design and special effects. With a terrific supporting cast and an atmosphere of glee, one would think that this would be the perfect answer to our thirst for holiday entertainment. But in the end, does this reenvisioning live up to the standards set by its predecessor? My answer is a wholehearted no.
The film centers around the classic Dr. Seuss book, in which the Grinch becomes so consumed with hatred for all things cheery that he decides to steal Christmas from the Whos, who live in the small town of Whoville below his perch on Mt. Crumpit. Screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman add their own touches to the story, including the reason for which the Grinch despises Christmas, which centers around an attraction to a sultry Who played by Christine Baranski. There's really no imagination to this plot point: it's merely there for the sake of stretching the story to feature length. Impish Cindy Lou Who is also given more screen time, searching for the true meaning of Christmas as we are searching for the joy in this weak material.
Perhaps the biggest folly of this remake is its commercialized feel. The book, as well as the animated feature, is embodied with a message of the true meaning of Christmas, which can be found in the fellowship of friends and family making merry together. Here, the Whos have become obsessed with purchasing gifts and trappings, and even a lights competition between two Whoville residents. This is in complete contrast to the source material, making this version all the more shallow and detached.
In the movie's favor is its glorious wallow in visual excess. The creation of the wintery wonderland of Whoville is absolutely stunning, from the colorful sets and costumes, to the looming peak of Mt. Crumpit itself, which is constantly surrounded by swirling clouds and billowing winds. Of course, there is never a moment where our doubt is shaken by a believable effect, but that only serves to add to the storybook quality of its appearance. I can only think of one other movie as visually impressive, that being Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow."
The Grinch himself is equally impressive, boasting Carrey in a wonderful costume that brings to life the character we love to hate. Matching his make-up with in-jokes and humor, Carrey employs a wit that followers will lovingly adore.
And yet, this is one of the most cheerless films I've seen in a long time, a complete rip-off of something that has come to mean so much to lovers of the Christmas season. It's a given that children will fall in love with the film: the magnificent production design is dazzling and exuberant, if not mesmerizing. Some adults may find comfort in their children's enjoyment, though I myself was unmoved by this attempt to recreate something that, in my opinion, was better left untouched.
on November 25, 2001
Why is it that Hollywood moviemakers seem incapable of understanding the simple fact that works that start off as drawing art (be they in the form of stills or animated cartoons) have a tough time translating to the live action format? It didn't work with "The Flintstones," for instance, and it works even less well with "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," Ron Howard's labored and lumbering attempt to bring the whimsical Dr. Seuss classic to the big screen. Unlike the beloved half hour animated version made for television in the 1960's, this non-animated edition ends up burying the wise and witty tale under gobs of overproduction. Despite the best efforts of the costume designers, set decorators and makeup artists in bringing the Grinch, the Whos and their village of Whoville to life on the screen, the sad fact is that what appears charming on the two-dimensional printed page can often become grotesque when transferred to the more three-dimensional world of live action filmmaking.
Even more detrimental than the film's garish visual style is the fact that the beautiful simplicity of the streamlined tale has been padded out and stretched to the breaking point to fulfill the demands of a 105-minute running time. Although the film adheres fairly closely to the original plotting in its final third (even using a portentous recitation by Anthony Hopkins of Dr. Seuss' original rhyming text), the first hour or so is overloaded with dreary subplots involving the various Who characters, a silly flashback showing how the Grinch came to hate Christmas, and enough Jim Carrey shtick to make us wish he had never left "In Living Color" to embark on a movie career. Much as I have loved Carrey in some of his earlier filmic efforts, I must say that his act is fast losing much of its original freshness and charm. Not that he can be forced to shoulder all the responsibility for the film's failure, since the writers, Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, have neglected to provide a single line of witty or creative dialogue to go along with the stunning makeup, art direction and special effects. It's a particular embarrassment when the screenplay shifts between the soaring ingenuity of the Seuss poetry and the flatfooted triteness of the Price/Seaman prose. The grinding of the gears becomes almost audible.
One wonders why an industry, which used to do so well by Christmas in the past ("It's a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street," the various versions of "A Christmas Carol"), seems to have had so much trouble lately putting together a decent picture with a yuletide theme. In fact, in the past 20 or so years, Hollywood has managed to produce only one film with a Christmas theme that can truly be called a certified classic. I am speaking, of course, of the wonderful 1983 film, "A Christmas Story," the only work that has been able to successfully combine the gentle cynicism of the modern world with the sweet sentimentality one traditionally associates with the holiday. Perhaps that perennial delight will forever stand as the one exception to the cold crassness of overproduced and over-budgeted dreck like "Jingle All the Way," "Santa Claus - the Movie" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," which, by their very nature, drain Christmas of its childlike magic and charm. Now more than ever, "A Christmas Story" is the yuletide tonic we yearn for and need.
on September 26, 2001
This movie could have been so much better. It had everything going for it, when you think about it. Jim Carrey, Ron Howard, a good score and a big budget.
I tried looking at this movie from both angles: as an independent film and as a remake. I don't know in which department it failed more. The whole thing feels frantic and unsettling. I felt like I had too much coffee watching it.
They could have made it so powerful, such a touching, funny classic. Consider the ending. Why not tell Carrey to let up for at least one scene? Let Faith Hill's voice (or just the music) swell, then show the Grinch lifting the gifts with tears running down his face. Or when his heart grew three sizes, don't turn it into another sight gag. Use it! Let the movie have some charm! Let people walk out of the movie with the joy of Christmas in them.
Another thing wrong with this movie. There is not enough contrast in all the characters. The Grinch is not a bad person; he is just misunderstood. The Whos are supposed to be protagonists, but they are greedy and self-focused. And that whole love thing between the Grinch and Martha May was pointless and unneeded. The Grinch doesn't change at the end. He is still mean to the mayor. He gets together with the antagonist girl.
Who are you supposed to root for?
Carrey is funny, and he is his funniest when in moderation. You would think such a successful actor/comedian would have learned by now. Maybe Ron Howard gave him too much freedom in the movie. Maybe he respected him too much.
It is such a shame. Hollywood only got one shot at it, and they blew it. I suggest we all try to forget it ever happened.
on December 27, 2001
Ok, basically, I must admit that I did enjoy this movie. I saw it with my sister and I liked it very much. It was a fairly satisfying movie. My favorite parts included Cindy Lou's (Taylor Momsen) version of "Where are You, Christmas?" and the ending part where the Grinch's heart "grew three sizes." It's a classic story that has won the hearts of people worldwide. I'm pretty sure I'd recommend this movie to older audiences, but certainly not young children. While Jim Carrey is a good actor, his version of the Grinch was, in my opinion, way too intense for little kids. He speaks language that I personally wouldn't want my own kids to witness (if, of course, I had kids, which I don't). Too violent and inappropriate for young ones--give them a different Christmas movie to watch or show them the cartoon version of "The Grinch," but don't break out this one. The kids can definitely stand to take a pass on the crude humor and sick jokes presented here.
on November 9, 2003
Never before has an actor carried a movie like Jim Carrey has in "The Grinch." This movie takes a thirty minute story ("How the Grinch Stole Christmas") and drags it out for about two hours. Thats right. Its an hour and half before the Grinch even THINKS about stealing Christmas. Oh yes, I nearly died laughing when the Grinch saw his old caretakers and muttered, "You're still alive?" or when he read off his list of things to do ("Find a cure for world hunger...tell no one!"). But he's not in every shot of the film and he's not the only character.
If this film had been shorter, stuck with the original storyline, hadn't smushed the moral in our face, or had had less of Little Cindy Lou Who (I couldn't help but think in one scene, "Oh my god she's going to sing isn't she?") it could have been better. Otherwise, it really just fails as a movie.
I'll take the original animated short with Boris Karloff any Christmas.