In the year 2000, Ron Howard of all people, director of such films like Frost/Nixon, A Beautiful Mind, and Apollo 13, made a movie called How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey, and it was one of the best horror movies of the year. The terrifying makeup along with the weird fog over the lenses makes this movie- what?
According to the person who barged into my writing room, this Grinch is actually supposed to be a family-comedy? Then how do you explain all the creepy imagery, adult jokes and awkward pauses… Oh, it’s a Dr. Seuss movie from the 2000s, okay I get it now. Anywho, they made a non-horrifying version this year simply titled The Grinch, starring Belligerent Cabbagepatch and… yeah, let’s talk about it.
So, as always, let’s talk about the good, and there is actually one really good thing which is the animation. Now, as with The Lorax and Horton Hears a Who, the visuals are actually extremely pleasant to look at, with heaps of good imagery that looks like it was ripped out a Dr. Seuss book with the weird cone shaped buildings.
Unlike other Grinch adaptations, the colors in this version are not muted, but in fact quite bright and vibrant. I was lucky enough to see it in IMAX in fact, and the designs and colors make the film a spectacle to behold. It may not be the best looking animated film of the year (Spider-verse, Incredibles 2) but it certainly is top 4.
The other thing I want to talk about is the comedy, well, the visual comedy. This could have been lumped in with the animation, but I think it deserved its own category, as there is some legitimately good jokes that are entirely visual here.
The ones which immediately come to mind involve a scene where the Grinch is attempting to steal a sled from a house, which really shouldn’t be funny, but the sound and colors really work here, along with the best character in the movie, Bricklebaum, the man who loves Christmas most of all. It’s a fairly funny scene, and that’s not the only one. There are plenty of comedic moments which make it worth your time.
That wraps up my list of compliments to pay the film, and now it’s time to talk about the negatives, and the first thing I want to talk about is the comedy that isn’t visual, the jokes which are said by characters. Many of them are extremely “cringeworthy”, including many things said by Cindy Lou Who, who while sweet and does things for the right reasons, is so annoying. Speaking of, while the Whos are not downright creepy as they have been in the previous film, they still aren’t very funny (excluding Bricklebaum) but one saving grace does not redeem the surprisingly poor comedy of the film.
However, what I really want to talk about is the character of the Grinch, as that was the worst aspect of the movie in my opinion. In the previous films, he hated the Whos. He never entered the town, he scared everyone else, and was the most feared being in that snowflake. In this version, he goes shopping! Now, while I somewhat understand the reason that he doesn’t like Christmas (no family) and I suppose the loneliness could harm anyone’s view of the holiday.
However, Jim Carrey made that character amazing with his creepiness and bravado which gave so much to the character. Now, with Cabbagepatch, he just can’t do as much, which I find ironic as with this medium the Grinch should be so much more expressive and, well, animated! There was so much opportunity to make a seriously good movie in both terms of family and Christmas, but they just missed the mark here. A massive disappointment with heaps of potential.
So those are my thoughts on the Grinch, and in all honesty, it’s about on par with my thoughts on the Jim Carrey version. It’s one of the most aggressively average movies of the year and is just kind of there. It had no reason to exist at all and this movie doesn’t give it one. If you’re going to reboot a film, you need to do something different with it to justify its creation, all 75 Million dollars of it.
This movie doesn’t do that and is simply dull in both storytelling, comedy (for the most part), and it’s characters. I wasn’t expecting the greatest Christmas film ever made, it had no chance, but it was simply average, and a totally average film has no reason to exist.