Illustration by Glenn Horne
How the Grinch Stole My Money
The Grinch Review
Of the multiple great holiday traditions that many look forward to as Thanksgiving nears, one of the most infamous is watching the many feel good holiday movies. One infamous Christmas movie in particular has been remastered for even more holiday joy and laughter.
The 1966 movie Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! began the wave of obsession with the cynical Christmas character, the Grinch. The Grinch became an extremely relatable character for those that are tired of the madness that surrounds the holidays, while also bringing a source of laughter for those holiday gurus that begin making their house sparkle with lights like Clark Griswold’s the moment Halloween ends. While this movie is great for its time, it becomes outshined by the 2000 version How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
In this non animated version (like the original) Jim Carrey perfectly portrays every aspect of the Grinch. He is grumpy, sarcastic, mean, and just downright grinchy! While the 1966 version started the wave, this version of the movie solidified the die hard Grinch fans who constantly defend How the Grinch Stole Christmas as the best holiday movie of all. I think that is why I cannot totally get behind the new 2018 version The Grinch.
In The Grinch, the producers switch back to the original animated theme, but on a much higher level. The art style of this version is beautiful and represents exactly how I imagine the silly, happy, town of Whoville would look. However, I do not think they quite got the look of the Grinch correct. When I think of “grinchy” I imagine the greasy, nasty, devilish look of the Carrey Grinch. In the new one, he honestly strikes me as sort of cute.
Along with having an amazing art style, for the most part, The Grinch provides an interesting and modern twist on Cindy Lou Who’s family dynamic. In this version a large part of the movie centers around the fact that the Lou Who family is taken care of by her single mother. I think this was a great way to advance the story farther, as there are many single parents in today’s world. As a matter of fact, according to a report titled Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009, there were 13.7 million single parents in the U.S. at that time. This was the perfect way for the story to connect to viewers today, as well as keep with the meaning behind the original story.
While story writers nailed the Lou Who family aspect, they dropped the ball a bit on the story behind the Grinch’s reason for loathing Christmas. They went into detail about how the Grinch was orphaned and had no family to celebrate Christmas with, but they did not give as much context as the 2000 version. In How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a large part of the story line is how the citizens of Whoville mock the Grinch for his looks and play impractical jokes on him as a child. He is humiliated on Christmas, teased, and never gets a sense of the holiday joy due to it. Watching the Whos make fun of the Grinch makes viewers sympathize for the Grinch and see the Mayor as the true villain. In The Grinch, while it does pull on the heartstrings watching child Grinch not receive any presents, holiday dinner, or have any friends or family to celebrate with, it does not make the audience empathize with the Grinch as much as the 2000 movie. There is no other villain in the newest Grinch movie besides the Grinch, which makes it a bit harder to relate to him and be on his side in the beginning. Due to this, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has an overall better plot line.
Nevertheless, while the Grinch is the only “villain” in the new movie, he never really seems that horrible. He has a few mean moments in the beginning, but then fairly quickly afterward shows glimpses of compassion that make those few mean moments not enough to really make me think “Grinch.”
Now, I may be a little harsh on The Grinch due to how great the 2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas is. It is always hard for a remaster to outshine or even compete with the classic. So, I have to give the creators some props for making a pretty good movie, even if it is out shined by the one before it. Overall, I would have to give the 1966 How the Dr. Seuss’ Grinch Stole Christmas! the bronze, The Grinch silver, and that leaves the 2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas to take the gold. The Grinch kind of has the best of both worlds; it has the cute animated style like the first, a solid plot line and character development like the second, and a great holiday heartfelt message that makes all of the movies what they are. I believe this version is worth watching, but not in theaters with the high prices. The other two versions definitely suffice until it is released on a cheaper DVD version.