I’m not really one for the cheesy, romanticised Christmas movie; I prefer my festive films to be fun, and rich in silly humour. So it stands to reason that my favourites for this time of year are ‘Elf’ and the Dr. Seuss tale, ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’, the latter of which I decided to watch after putting my tree up this year.
Everyone knows the story of the Grinch, right? Hairy green kid has a bad experience one Christmas and develops a hatred for the festive period. So much so in fact, that he retreats to a mountain-top cave, his presence hanging over the quaint town of Whoville and its inhabitants (the Whos), who unfortunately for the Grinch, are rather keen on Christmas. That’s a lot of “who” to take in, but there’s more. Little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) is fascinated by the Grinch (Jim Carrey) and is determined to discover the true meaning of Christmas whilst warming the heart of this odd creature. The Grinch however, has other ideas.
I have referenced the talents of Jim Carrey before in my review of ‘The Mask’, and his theatrical and comedic skills are just as strong – possibly even at their peak – on this showing. Until the age of about 10, I imagine it’s pretty standard to find the Carrey brand of humour hilarious; what’s not to love about immature, wacky characters and excellent one-liners? But upon my revisiting of ‘The Mask’, and now ‘The Grinch’, I have been brilliantly surprised by just how funny this stuff is. Maybe there’s something special about Jim Carrey when he goes green, but I was laughing more at ‘The Grinch’ than I have at any comedy release this year that’s for sure. Carrey is just so animated and ridiculous in everything from his mannerisms to his movement and facial expressions; it’s sheer genius to be quite honest, the way he takes a good character and turns it into a Christmas hallmark.
I may have watched ‘The Grinch’ pretty much every Christmas since its release in 2000, but one thing did surprise me this time around; I never realised Ron Howard was behind this project. Whilst I really like ‘A Beautiful Mind’ and ‘Rush’, I feel like generally, Howard is not my kind of director. His latest film, ‘In The Heart Of The Sea’, stinks of a box-office flop to me and looks plain boring. But maybe I’ve been hasty. With ‘The Grinch’, a beautiful, surreal world is created with such attention to detail; the swirling, ominous sky around the Grinch’s lair is particularly striking and impressive. Whatever my opinion of Ron Howard’s work may be – I’m not even sure myself now – there can be no question that this effort does justice to the classic story from Dr. Seuss.
Whether you’re a Scrooge or a softy, ‘How The Grinch Stole Christmas’ is the perfect Christmas movie, delivering the best of both worlds with the foul humour of the titular character and the overwhelming sense of Christmas spirit from the citizens of Whoville. There’s plenty of crap on the TV over the festive season, but you can easily avoid all that by sticking on ‘The Grinch’ and enjoying a merry masterpiece.
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Jim Carrey, Taylor Momsen, Jeffrey Tambor