Friday, December 21, 2012

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jones, 1966 - Howard, 2000) - MOVIES FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Well, I have little to say about the TV special and the movie but they are there to speak about, so I will go ahead and state them and make them quick, particularly with how slow I'm keeping up on this thing.

The TV special is a classic. It has the nostalgia to keep it upheld forever in reverence, but we also need to acknowledge that it still holds up well throughout the years since it had been released. The animations and styles of it just smack of classic Seussical universal elements and the dialogue has the bounce to it that would've kept it memorable, even beyond the rhyme.

I am also a total sucker for anything involving Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, the Lon Chaneys (having named my new kitten after them) and anybody else involved with the Universal Horror classics. Yep, I'm a loser. It's particularly interesting hearing the voice altered, because I've never noted much changes, but apparently Geisel thought Karloff is kind of too scary as the Grinch.

Anyway, moving on to Howard's adaptation, I like to think it's one of the only two recent adaptations of Seuss' tale's that probably won't send the Doc's ashes into a spinning frenzy. The other being Horton Hears a Who!. While The Lorax is not that terrible a movie, I'm thinking Seuss wouldn't be so happy with the many compromises made to the story's integrity for the sake of film. And The Cat in the Hat is just a travesty. A full-blown calamity that damns all involved forever.

But this is not about those. It's about Howard's The Grinch.

And my deal with it is that I enjoy it as a piece of entertainment for the holidays. It has the Seuss look very fantastically adapted for live-action. The make-up was not frightening too much for the Whos, but satisfyingly outrageous. And the acting, particularly on the obvious part of Jim Carrey is wonderful. but it's greatest strength also happens to be its greatest weakness.
That is that it makes The Grinch sympathetic.

The idea of such a tale is to learn the value of the things Christmas is supposed to encourage. Like spending time with family and expressing love, rather than materialism. And the Grinch had never understood that because he had been surrounded by too much hate. Though the two women who raised were pretty cool on him, the treatment the Grinch endured resulted in the love being drowned out and he left to Mount Krumpet. That's what we learn about him.

My problem is that in making him sympathetic... Almost all of the Whos end up being fucking assholes. They're pretty much immediately unlikable until we learn about Cindy Lou Who and her father. They're all kind of selfish, even without disliking the Grinch (since let's be honest, the Grinch never helped his image neither in the subsequent times between his childhood and the film). Maybe it's the Mayor's influence, but they all seem like villain's lackey's caricatures from it.

Still, it does make the message more impactful when the majority of the cast lost the 'meaning' of Christmas and the movie needs to be expanded in some form, but it always bugged me. Though it's made up again, by practically giving true life to the Who's world and all. Wonderful art direction and make-up...

Anyway, they're both grand holiday classics, even with Ron Howard's films flaws. So sheck them out... I'm going to blast into the next article to keep up with my goal... It's gonna be an explosion, y'all.

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