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How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

The Grinch, Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You better watch out!

Directed by:

Ron HowardRon Howard

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

UK Certificate: PG


Country: United States

How The Grinch Stole Christmas |Dr. Seuss wrote short books. Wonderful, inventive, funny and enchanting books, yes. But short, all the same. And there lies the main problem with attempting to take one of his tales, in this case ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, and turn it into a full-blown feature-length movie. Part of what was great about Seuss’ books was their sheer simplicity – and that’s something that’s virtually impossible to translate into a film bursting through the 90-minute mark.

As a result, Ron Howard’s attempt at creating a live-action version of the tale, about a hairy green villain who decides to raid the stockings of the piggy-nosed people of Whoville, only works in places. The rhyming narration, lifted straight from the book and read masterfully by Anthony Hopkins, works well. As do the songs, which are also lifted – this time from the wonderful 22-minute Chuck Jones cartoon made way back in 1966 but still enjoyed on TV every year. Best of all are the marvellous sets, which impressively capture the look of Seuss’ world. The twisty-turny backdrops are colourful and consistent, the OTT use of Chrimbo décor is spot-on, and the townsfolk, most importantly of all, all look a bit like Joan Rivers.

And then there’s Jim Carrey, who would no doubt be gutted to see a review of this film that goes so long without bringing up his name. I’m not entirely adverse to his work – I thought he was terrific in both ‘Man On The Moon’ and The Truman Show, and I’m even a fan of ‘Dumb & Dumber’. In fact, on face value, he would seem the perfect choice to play the Grinch. But his ad-libs are largely out of place with the character those of us who’ve read the book or seen the cartoon will remember. In short, he just seems to be working TOO hard. He creates a persona for the Grinch which may well be funny in places, but it just isn’t right. Not everyone has to be a character from a Farrelly brothers’ movie.

It's Got: A dog cunningly disguised as a reindeer.

It Needs: The old cartoon to be included on the DVD. Then again, perhaps someone was worried people would realise how much better it is than the film.

DVD Extras Spotlight on the Whoville location, deleted scenes & out-takes, ‘Who School’ (which has nothing to do with Pete Townshend), make-up application & design, visual effects, and some interactive games for the kiddies. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10


Has the look, though not the heart, of Dr Seuss’ tale – but it’s worth a look.

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