How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) – Hollywood’s Take(?) On the Seuss Christmas Classic (Day #11)
Title: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Release: November 8th, 2000
Director: Ron Howard
Writer(s): Jeffrey Price, Peter S Seaman
Starring: Jim Carrey, Jeffry Tambor, Christine Baranski, Bill Irwin, Molly Shannon
*Warning, this review may contain spoilers
Come on, you knew this one had to be coming. It isn’t any form of a Christmas Bonanza without mention our favorite green Dr. Seuss Christmas character. One of Seuss’s most iconic works, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, embraced the idea and spirit of the snowy holiday for children all around the world. Well, once Hollywood got their mits on it, it may have lost a bit of that pizazz.
The story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a rather simple one. The Grinch is a creature who lives upon the peak of a mountain, shunned by his nearest neighbors, the Whos, for his nasty outlook of Christmas and lack of cheer. When one of the younger Whos, Cindy Lou Who, meets the Grinch and struggles to get him involved in the festivities, The Grinch decides to take away all of the gifts in town, thinking that will damper the Whos’ outlook too. On the way, he learns the true meaning of Christmas and returns to Whoville to join in with the rest of the Whos. In this remake, that is maybe the final act of the movie. This version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas spends its sweet time explaining the background of the Grinch’s screwing-over of the town and needless side stories we don’t particularly care for.
Despite how desperately bad this remake of the original is, the cast couldn’t have been more perfect. Jim Carrey was just the right amount of craze to fit right in as the live-action Grinch, fitting him right down to a T. To put it bluntly, when I picture anything involving the Grinch, I don’t think of the original. Carrey’s absurd portrayal complimented the rest of the film’s own absurdity. Taylor Momsen’s own performance as Cindy Lou Who weirdly balanced out Carrey’s madness, creating this odd and creepy yet hilarious chemistry between the two.
If there is one thing that you have to mention when talking about 2000 How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the design. Starting off with our titular character, neither the original story nor the animated television special gave much detail about the Grinch’s makeup. Due to this obstacle, Universal had to figure out how to decide on some workup that would make him… believable? Through a combination of creepy yellow contacts and a spandex suit smothered with yak hair, they crafted the image of the Grinch we have today. Fun fact, over the year-long shoot the production lasted, Carrey was in the mess of a suit for 92 days… gross. Don’t even get me started on Whoville, I have my own thoughts on that.
Besides the obvious plot changes, there are two more major changes that should be noted. When How the Grinch Stole Christmas was first in production, there were thoughts to include a more spiritual route with the story. Honestly, I am glad that they didn’t take this road, as there are enough Christmas stories that center around that particular topic. However, a large part of the film is about the true meaning of Christmas and I feel that the character struggling with this isn’t necessarily the Grinch. Sure, he doesn’t understand and decides to thrive in his own villainy, but I don’t remember Cindy Lou Who struggling with it as well. Perhaps due to her increased age, from 2 in the original to 6ish here, they wanted to give her more clarity.
One of the biggest messages of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a major statement on the idea of anti-consumerism. In the remake, this lesson feesl lost among the townsfolk in Whoville. Just take one look at Whoville and even a glance will show you how excessive the town is, not to mention it feels more like a damn theme park than a town. In Cindy Lou Who’s quest for the Hope Diamond, she eventually settles for the significantly less valued cubic zirconia. Sure, it shows that she learned her lesson about the “true value” of Christmas… yet it feels shoehorned in and much too subtle.
Not going to lie, I didn’t realize until recently just how much this version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is hated. Almost universally claimed as Jim Carrey’s worst career performance, despite him being perfect for the role. Hell, Eddie Murphey and Jack Nicholson almost starred in the role with Tim Burton behind the helm. Chaos, I swear. Critics go so far as to say how opportunistic and “Hollywood” the remake feels in comparison to the original that it has lost all credibility and meaning.
How do you feel about the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Do you agree with our thoughts or have a different perspective? Let us know in the comments! Also, keep a lookout for the original TV special coming down the pipeline soon!
Thanks for reaching the end of the article! This piece is apart of our Modern Neon Christmas Bonanza, where we are looking at 25 of our favorite or well-known Christmas movies. So click through to see the previous and next movie, or go back to the home page to find your favorite movie!
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