Long and furry fingers grace two horrid, bony arms,
in their middle is a tummy full of smelly, trash bin charms,
when night fall comes, he watches all that sleep,
for evil plots are conjured in this green and spoiled creep.
Jim Carrey is in the role of Grinch, Dr. Seuss’s beloved Christmas villain. Excuse my astonishingly bad rhymes there, but I thought the best way to start off a children’s character is by couplet-ing my way in. The film was directed by industry titan Ron Howard, who holds movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) & “The Da Vinci Code” (2006) under his belt. Now that we know both cast and mastermind are skilfully chosen, let’s venture into the plot itself.
Whoville lays tucked in the snowy mountains of a snowflake. Its people are polite and helpful, living together in their small town community. Towering above them, in the depths of a hill, is the Grinch’s dusty abode. He watches them throughout his days, as Christmas approaches, and makes evil plans to steal away the joy. That is until a little Cindy Lou Who, one kind and thoughtful child, remembers the lonely creature and decides to present him with a gift of friendship. She nominates the Grinch for a prestigious award, making him socialise with past family and friends in Whoville, rather than hide. We become acquainted with a past, which triggers sympathy and sadness, but can ego-centric mayor Augustus and his girlfriend Martha May turn their attitudes around? Can they right the wrongs of a childhood long-concealed? The Grinch isn’t willing to wait for an answer even a second longer, setting a plan to sweep Whoville’s houses of their precious offerings at once. It’s Cindy Lou’s last chance to change his mind and heart. It’s the final plea to make him see a light within the darkness.
Well, here comes our show-stealer – Grinch himself, who absolutely nails the eponymous archetype with flying colours. Although Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) sticks close behind, it’s Jim Carrey’s slapstick movements and brilliant grump portrayal that take the prize home. Mannerisms are an important attribute to any good comedy and Carry is famous for his physical capabilities, so being able to transfer them onto the Grinch gives the Dr. Seuss creation an entirely new dimension. Don’t get me wrong, the storyline had been explored in a television series many a-year before that. However, live action gave both kids and adults a fresh look at things.
Taylor Momsen was fluid and clever – carrying the phantasmagoric Whovian costume as naturally as her own outfit. No teeth, ears or braids felt out of place, props to the six-year-old girl, who carried them like a champion. Although Taylor has changed direction with a singing career in rock music, the role will remain a part of her professional affiliations for ever. She was the sweet child who saved a hopeless Grinch and turned hatred into love.
As far as production design is concerned, it’s refreshing to see a physical set up, opposed to a green-screened computer animation. We see the convenience of manufactured graphics entirely too much nowadays, so a large part of “The Grinch”‘s charm comes from its adorable set. To kids, this wouldn’t make much of a difference, but trust me, grown-ups of the world, that fuzzy Christmas feeling will flow a lot easier after watching a throw back like this. Ron Howard’s vision of the production definitely surpassed any expectations Dr. Seuss fans could have conjured. The live action rendition of “The Cat in the Hat” (2004) proved to be another challenge, which, however, failed to please audiences and was generally received badly by both viewerships and critics.
In summary, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is an amazing, heart-warming tale of grand imagination and comedic threads. Ron Howard’s spin of the all-time book classic has now become a classic in its own right. Jim Carrey’s green creature is an image I grew up with and never want to part, Taylor Momsen’s Cindy Lou gives children an image of kindness to strive to. All of these ingredients combine perfectly in a Christmas dessert worthy of a film night home.