With the release of Illumination Entertainment’s “The Grinch,” on Nov. 9, it’s safe to say that the live action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” from 2000 is the best adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s Christmas classic.
Director Chuck Jones’ animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas ” from 1966 is an iconic original television special that perfectly captures Dr. Seuss’ illustrations. It also introduces the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” with lyrics written by Seuss himself.
Its only fault is its overall blandness. There is no attempt at humor, nor is there much depth as far as conflict goes. This film was fantastic to watch as a child but easy to grow out of post-childhood.
Director Ron Howard’s live action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” released in 2000, is by far the most developed of the three versions, especially in its characters. Jim Carrey plays one of his most memorable roles as the Grinch, and his cynical view and dry, cruel humor appeals to children and adults alike.
Howard cleverly included the Grinch’s bittersweet childhood, revealing the root of his menace and the love story between the Grinch and Martha May Whovier. Brilliantly, all of these aspects added to the preceding film did not ultimately confuse Seuss’s main story.
The most recent movie, “The Grinch,” directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier is somewhat well-made when taken as a whole, with characters having the most noticeable change. Cindy Lou Who, in particular, went from just being sweet and intelligent to wanting to trap Santa– with good intentions. Her family scene now consists of a single mom, creating a whole new motive for her wish to Santa.
“The Grinch” succeeded in giving the classic soundtrack’s songs a twist with music from Tyler, the Creator, Run D.M.C. and Brockhampton. The new R&B version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” kept its classic feel, even in a whole new genre.
“The Grinch” regressed from the 2000 film, though, in depth. It excluded the conflict of Whoville temporarily losing sight of the true meaning of Christmas, resulting in the iconic “Where are You, Christmas” track. In result of this exclusion, this adaptation felt too simple.
The Grinch wasn’t portrayed with his classic cold-cut meanness, which drove his actions and the movie itself, instead encompassing a lukewarm dislike towards the greater good. This was partially due to a difference in character, but his new redesign also took away his menacing appearance. Instead of his usual repulsive look, he resembled a green version of the alien from “Chicken Little.”
The three stories of the Grinch differentiate from one another in their character development and complexity of plot and conflict. Overall, the Grinch’s peak in cinema was reached in 2000 with the live action “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Any adaptation since is, and will probably be, incomparable to Carrey’s portrayal of the famed green fiend.
“The Grinch” runs for one hour and 45 minutes and is rated PG for brief rude humor.
This be will Josie Krueger’s second year on Echo staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized by MIPA and JournalismSTL for her work on the Echo.