JFS the Reviewer
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) review
How the Grinch Stole Christmas was a kid’s book, which came out on October 12, 1957 by Theodor Seuss "Ted" Geisel or as he is known by the world Dr. Seuss. It was later adapted as an animated television film, which premiered on December 18, 1966. It was directed by Chuck Jones and Ben Washam, with Boris Karloff voicing the Grinch. The film became a success, receiving positive reviews from critics and loved by those who’ve watched it.
The film would later get adapted live-action on November 17, 2000 with a budget of $123 million dollars. The film was directed by Ron Howard, who had worked on Night Shift (1982), Apollo 13 (1995), Cinderella Man (2005), the Da Vinci Code (2006), In the Heart of the Sea (2015), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), and the final film being the 2020 Hillbilly Elegy.
Ron Howard was also a producer of the film along with Brian Grazer, who worked on other films that Howard worked on, except for The Nutty Professor (1996), Liar Liar (1997), Fun with Dick and Jane (2005), and American Made (2017).
The film made back $345 million dollars in the box office but received poor reviews with critics and fans. However, over the years it has won fans over despite its flaws. Although, it’s mostly because of the other Dr. Seuss films that came out after this one didn’t turn out well. Still, after 20 years later, does the film hold up from beginning, middle, and end?
And was it a good adaption to the original source material?
The plot for the movie focuses on two of our main characters, the Grinch and Cindy Lou. The Grinch’s origin is explored in the film, when he arrived to Whoville as a baby. He’s adopted by two elderly sisters, who raised him as their own. As he grew up, he formed a crush to a girl named Martha and wanted to make her a nice gift. Until, his bully Augustus mocked him for having facial hair.
The Grinch ends up trying to shave his hair off but ends up with some cuts on his face. When he arrived to school, he is mocked by all the children and this causes him to lose his temper. Declaring that he hates Christmas and runs away up Mount Crumpit, where he has been living ever since. All while the citizens of Whoville tell their children stories about how the Grinch is a monster and they shouldn’t go near him.
The other half of the plot focuses on Cindy Lou, who believes the people of Whoville have forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is. She sees the townsfolks all focused on wanting expensive shiny gifts and only focus on themselves. She even begins to have trouble wondering what the true meaning of Christmas is due to seeing how everyone seems okay with being the way they are. So, during her trip to the post office, she almost gets injured in one of the machines, but the Grinch saves her life.
She decides to find out more about him and learns about his tragic past. This motivates her to try getting the Grinch to become accepted by the people and help him feel better after what he went through.
She decides to try getting the Grinch to come down to the town to celebrate Christmas and become accepted by the town.
The plot for the film is actually paced well and they do a good job giving us a backstory about why the Grinch hates Christmas. Cindy Lou’s reason for wanting to help the Grinch is very noble and you understand her reason for wanting to help the Grinch. The idea that people have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas is something I think we all can connect with. We have seen that people have forgotten what the true meaning of Christmas is all about.
Not about gifts or big celebrations. But rather to spend time with one another, to be with the ones you love, and celebrate the holidays together.
The best parts of the story is really more with the Grinch. Jim Carrey did an amazing job with his performance and when he was on screen, he stole the show. He did his best to make each scene count and have them be filled with laughs. However, there in lies the problem.
When he isn’t on screen, things do slow down in the story. The movie loses momentum and you lose interest. It’s not a bad story, but when the Grinch isn’t on screen it can be slow. The final act though is where it really does pick up the pace.
When we get to the Grinch stealing from the homes, to the town the town coming together despite losing their gifts, to the Grinch finding out what the true meaning of the holidays is about, when the Grinch returns the gifts, and celebrates with everyone. It gives you a nice satisfying ending, but it does take a while to get here. Luckily with Jim’s performance, it can get us through parts of the story that are boring.
As I mentioned before, Jim Carrey played the role of the Grinch, while Taylor Momsen played Cindy Lou. Both actors did a good job with their role, with Jim being the star of the show. Every scene he was the main focus with his jokes, through the expressions he made, and his body motion. He did a good job playing his role as the Grinch, while not acting completely like the character from the book or animation.
Yes, he can act grinchy and can be at times mean. But it’s all mostly friendly and not at all as mean as we’ve seen the Grinch can be. He is able to balance the character out well. Acting grinchy, but also have some comedic moments that makes the character entertaining.
Now, as for Taylor, she did a good job with her role as Cindy Lou, while also showing why she wants to help the Grinch. She isn’t doing it to make her parents mad or to get back at the town. She’s doing it because she believes there is good in the Grinch, while wanting to show there is more to the holidays than gifts. She struggles to find that because of how she sees everyone acting, especially her parents.
She also had some good chemistry with Jim and glad during some scenes between the two she didn’t break character. Now yes, her character has some minor flaws, but between her and Jim, they did a great job with their roles. The other actors, they did all right and they did have some funny moments. But the focus is all on Jim and the comedic moments he is able to give.
However, when he’s not on screen, there are times the other actors aren’t able to keep their scenes entertaining as much as Jim did with his last one. They try their best, but it’s like going on after someone who gave the best jokes that made the audience laugh so hard. It’s hard to do the same after the person before you got the audience to that kind of laughter. So, for the other actors, their scenes weren’t at all that interesting and I blame it more on how they were written.
Since this film is live action, this means they had to set up how Whoville will look like and I have to say, they did a good job. Granted the town did look a little cluttered together, but it did look like something out of Dr. Seuss’s book. From the buildings, to the vehicles, to the tools, and to the toys. It was very impressive how much hard work they put into making this town look like something from the book.
The makeup at times though did look a little, well it didn’t look that great on the people of Whoville. It was nothing The Cat in the Hat movie makeup on Thing 1 and Thing 2, but it didn’t look that good. The Grinch suit on the Jim Carrey though did look well done and allow him to move around to do this thing. They also did a fantastic job with the makeup to allow him to make facial expressions.
Now, Jim Carrey did talk about how terrible it was being in the suit and when the makeup was put on it felt like hell. Jim did explain how he was able to endure it, how he fought through it, and was able to give it his all despite how torturous it must have felt having all that on him.
As far as the music, it was done by James Horner, who also was involved in past films like Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982), Aliens (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), all the way to the final film he was involved in 2016, The Magnificent Seven. The music was done well, and I really enjoyed how well the songs were done. Granted the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” wasn’t as good as the original, but it was still a better adaption than the 2018 version. It was also fun to hear Jim Carrey singing the song and how much fun it looked like he had doing it.
The film did have some special effects, which honestly? Weren’t that bad. I still like how it was all shot, how the town looked, the Grinch’s home looked like, and the sled that he made. Now, the 2018 did a better job with how the Grinch’s home looks and the inventions he used to steal the gifts. However, that was an animated film and they had to do this live-action.
So, despite that and the time period the film came out in, I feel like they did a good job with the special effects. Using them as best they can and only when they need to. Most of the film has it shot with the sets and less on CGI, which is a good thing. Don’t want to rely too much on something and not enough on something else.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is still one of my favorite stories to read and I love watching the animated short film. The 2000 movie may not be perfect and may have some flaws, but it is still a fun movie to enjoy. Jim Carrey stole the show and made the movie very enjoyable. I did wish the story had the same kind of heart and magic as the original. However, it is still a fun movie to watch with your family and with your kids.
It’s not perfect and the 2018 film, does a much better job being close to the original source. This film though is still entertaining, and it is still worth watching. I highly recommend checking it out when you can, while also checking out the original animated short film and the 2018 film. So, you can enjoy all three versions of the Grinch and enjoy them with your loved ones.