Every year I make it my mission to watch a festive film on Christmas day. This year the chosen film was 2000's Blockbuster hit 'The Grinch' starring Jim Carrey. Having grossed $340,400,000 worldwide at the Box Office, 'The Grinch' was one of the most successful films of 2000 and it is not hard to see why. I have now viewed this film several times and each and every time I have found the film to be massively magical and hugely enjoyable; a film that well and truly captures the atmosphere and magic of Christmas with an apparent ease.
Based on the 1957 Dr. Seuss story 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!', Ron Howard's 'The Grinch' is a live action film which adds background and depth to the original Dr. Seuss story in an attempt to explain as to why the Grinch himself has such a hatred for Christmas. Although the film has these added elements and as such is much longer than the original tale was meant, 'The Grinch' I feel is a strong film and this factor does not detract from the overall quality of the film.
- The Plot -
Christmas is just around the corner and all the people of Whoville are getting into the Christmas spirit and purchasing all the presents for the big day. Whoville is the mountain town home of the warm-hearted Who's, a town of people with a love for Christmas. Just next to the town and at the peak of a mountain lives the Grinch, a man with a hatred of Christmas and the festivities which it entails. The Grinch lives alone with his dog and is quietly thinking of ways to ruin Christmas for the people of Whoville. No one of Whoville can understand the Grinch hatred of Christmas, no one except Cindy Lou that is - a young girl who is not so massively fond of Christmas herself and can understand and appreciate the feelings of the Grinch. Young Cindy Lou attempts to persuade the Grinch to appear in Whoville to be presented with an award and so it all begins - will the Grinch show up for his award and join in with the celebrations of Christmas, or will he remain in solitude and refuse to celebrate the event he finds so utterly loathsome.
- My Opinion -
The first time I watched this film was a few years back now - it was one Christmas spent with the family and when the film came on TV it was decided that the film would be watched by us all and so I was sat, in front of the TV and anticipating the hour and 40 minutes ahead of me. I felt this film would definitely not be for me as I am extremely fussy when it comes to films and for the most part will not view anything given lower than a '15' certificate. The film is rated 'PG' and despite my reservations about the suitability, as the film began I found myself to be really enjoying this Dr. Seuss tale. Right from the offset there is something really rather magical about this film which has been captured by Ron Howard and I just felt that the visual sheen of the film was stunning. When this film was first rumoured to be in the pipeline, it was thought that Tim Burton may take on the directorial role for this one. This I can definitely understand as the film is very similar to a Tim Burton film in terms of the cinematography style employed and the magical sparkle which the film possesses.
The acting is of an extremely high standard I feel, with the lead role of Jim Carrey typical of he, and the young actress of Taylor Momsen coming off extremely well in her role of Cindy Lou. It is always fantastic when child actors impress and this was certainly the case here. As for Jim Carrey; I have always been a massive fan of his, and feel that he suits the role of the Grinch superbly. This part has 'Jim Carrey' written all over it, and had he not featured in the film I feel that this would have detracted massively from its appeal. Both Eddie Murphy and Jack Nicholson were considered for the part also, and although I can perhaps see Jack Nicholson in the part, I do not feel that the acting of Eddie Murphy would have worked at all well in this film. Although some of the lesser parts in this film are acted at times in somewhat of a cardboard manner, I feel that the performances of the leads, the fun storyline, and magical cinematic style help to carry this film.
The voice over of Anthony Hopkins was recorded in just one day, something I find to be extremely impressive given the quality of it. Having watched this film several times, I was actually quite surprised when I looked on the internet and found that he was in fact the man behind the narration of 'The Grinch'. I would not have associated him with films of this sort and never would have known had I not read it online; Anthony Hopkins will always be Hannibal Lecter to me, so to consider him as the narrator of a film of this sort was both amusing and bewildering. Hopkins narration I feel is absolutely fantastic, and goodness only knows how he managed to complete such an accomplished narration in the most stringent of timescales.
Derived from a Dr. Seuss book, the story of 'The Grinch' is one that many will know and love already. When viewing the film, a knowledge of the Dr. Seuss story may either add or detract from your enjoyment of the film. Given that the film expands upon the original story and adds insight as to why exactly the Grinch hates Christmas to such a large degree; it could be viewed that Ron Howard's 'The Grinch' is fantastic in its approach and adds depth to a pre-existing tale. On the other hand you may however feel that the extra bits added in here actually detract from the quality of the original story and may therefore find better viewing in the animated version of 'The Grinch That Stole Christmas' given that it sticks to the original formula to such a large degree.
Although the film was a Box Office smash, this can not always be viewed as the indication of a strong film. If you look to the list of the top 250 grossing films of all time for example I am sure you will find many a film you do not feel deserves to be there, however I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Grinch' and am of the belief that the film is thoroughly deserving of the success and support it garnered. Despite the negative press that surrounded the film at the time of release, it still battled through and people flocked to see the film in their masses. Bad press can often kill Box Office takings massively so, however this was not the case here which I am extremely glad about as I feel that 'The Grinch' is undeserving of the poor press it received.
- Final Thoughts -
Christmas films don't always do it for me; I have found a large number to have been massively disappointing and somewhat of a let down as far as quality goes over the years, however 'The Grinch' is definitely not one of those films. For me, come late December when Christmas is fast approaching you can feel it in the air; it's as if there's a festive spirit loose in the atmosphere which is overcoming us all. It's a wonderful time, and films like Ron Howard's 'The Grinch' for me embody Christmas and represent everything that this time of year is all about. The film is just so magical, and to watch the film is therefore a treat. Although fundamentally a film aimed at children, I found 'The Grinch' to be extremely enjoyable and in possession of a large number of amusing moments. It's hard to watch this film without feeling all warm inside, and I would wholeheartedly recommend 'The Grinch' to everyone. If you're a fan of the films of Tim Burton then the chances are that this film will appeal to you greatly; the sparkle and visual sheen which this film possesses make it extremely hard to watch without making comparisons to the work of Tim Burton. If you watch just one festive film this Christmas then make it this one; it will surely not leave you disappointed.
I dragged my friend along to see the Grinch at the cinema and it seems she has not forgiven me for the torture the I put her through. I watched her squirm throughout, at the end I turned to her and said: "It brings a tear to your eye doesn't it?". She explained that it certainly did and that is rare that a film reduces her to tears. The story is based on the book Dr Seuss 'How the Grinch stole Christmas'. The Grinch is green creature, who hates Christmas and the Who's that live in Whoville. He hates them so much that he lives inside a snowflake in a cave at the top of the mountain. I think if I was him I would do the same as they are so soppy and over the top. So the Grinch decides to steal Christmas. Christmas must now be rescued by Cindy Lou, a little girl from Whoville and for her to teach everyone the true meaning of Christmas. Jim Carrey does his best as the Grinch, and his sarcastic comments are the best parts of the film, so if you don't like Jim Carrey you really are in trouble. On the good side most children love it, which is bad news for the poor parents that have to suffer this Christmas nightmare. Children may be a little scared by the appearance of the Grinch and some adults may be scared that this film does last longer than an hour. My friend has still not forgiven me. Guess what I got for Christmas!