In the most anticipated movie of the holiday season, Jim Carrey recreates
Boris Karloff's famous Grinch role in HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Based
on the well-known Dr. Seuss story, the Jim Carrey version, directed by Ron
Howard (EdTV), is a live-action movie. The 1966 television original, an
annual Christmas tradition in the Rhodes household, is an animated film.
Even if the remake pales in comparison to the original, it is a cute and
funny movie in its own right.
As you probably know, the Grinch is a "bah humbug" kind of guy who tries to
keep Christmas from coming to the sweet Whos by stealing all of their
presents and decorations. In a tribute to the original show and book, the
remake keeps most of the lines but adds in more story in order to triple the
length of the original half-hour show. In a flashback to the Grinch's
childhood, we finally get some insights into what made him into the
Anthony Hopkins, as the narrator, is the perfect choice to replace Boris
Karloff, whose voice was the best part of the original production. With the
exception of his speeding up and slurring a few lines, Hopkins provides a
wonderful rendition of the Seuss rhyme.
In order to accurately recreate the Seuss images, production designer
Michael Corenblith carefully reviewed the illustrations in all of the Seuss
books. With this knowledge he created a visual vocabulary in order to
ensure that every tower and every bridge would be as close as possible to
what Dr. Seuss would have imagined them. The inventive result is a
snow-covered cross between WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and THE
WIZARD OF OZ.
Five-time Academy Award winner Rick Baker's special make-up effects turn
Carrey into a creature bearing little resemblance to the man inside the
suit. Only Carrey's expressive mouth is recognizable.
The story's laughs come from both the gadgets and the dialog. Martha May
Whovier (Christine Baranski), for example, is able to outdo her neighbor
Betty Lou Who (Molly Shannon) through the aid of a Gatling-style machine gun
for shooting Christmas lights onto the outside of her house.
When the Grinch first checks his heart, he declares proudly, "Down a size
and a half, and this time I'll keep it off." This is a guy whose daily
calendar entries include, "wallow in self-pity" and "solve world hunger --
tell no one." Working against his desire for grumpiness is one little Cindy
Lou Who, played sweetly by Taylor Momsen in her major motion picture debut.
She sees goodness in the Grinch that others don't. And when he tries to
scare her with massive screaming, she tells him, "Maybe you need a time
One of the funniest scenes occurs when the toddler Grinch is offered
Christmas cookies on a plate made in the image of Santa Claus. Biting off
Santa's head rather than eating a cookie, the little Grinch announces,
Sometimes, it's the small things that make a difference. The sweet little
dog, Max, in this version is a wonderful dog who acts and even looks kind of
like the original. I like that.
HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS runs 1:38. It is rated PG for crude humor
and would be acceptable for all ages.
My son Jeffrey, age 11, thought this version was funnier than the original,
but not better. He gave it ***, mentioning how much he liked the gadgets.
His sole complaint was that only Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch were fully
Copyright © 2000 Steve Rhodes