Making the Grades
The Grinch is an ambitious attempt to translate the impossibly difficult images of Dr. Seuss' (Theodor Geisel's) popular book into a live-action movie. But director Ron Howard, along with an army of motion picture artists (creating an enormous credit roll), were undaunted by the challenge.
Opening with all the Whos in Whoville frantically spending money to celebrate Christmas, little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) is the only source of reason. Searching for a richer meaning to Christmas, she decides to nominate the mysterious Grinch as the Holiday Cheermeister of the annual Whobilation festival. In a community where even uttering the word Grinch can bring upon you the condemnation of Mayor May Who (Jeffrey Tambor), Cindy's forthright declaration meets with understandable displeasure.
Determined to discover what motivates the Grinch to be so Grinchy, Cindy Lou does some investigating, providing us with a "back story" that Dr. Seuss never got around to penning. The result of a delivery mix-up, Baby Grinch ended up in Whoville where he stuck out like a green thumb. Discovering it's not easy being green (and hairy), he headed up the mountain to live the life of a hermit (not to be confused with Kermit...).
If you can imagine Jim Carrey dressed in a lizard-green skin-tight furry suit and speaking like Sean Connery (reportedly due to the dentures he had to wear), then you've got a fair picture of what to expect from what is perhaps the most over-promoted movie of the year. Fortunately Geisel's widow Audrey muzzled the majority of off-color jokes and typical Carrey bathroom humor (only a few brief moments of possibly objectionable content remain), however it appears that left the writers stuck for something to say.
Consequently this film opens fast, drags in the middle, but happily reverts to Seuss' story for the finale and--aside from a couple of unnecessary revengeful comments from Carrey--reminds audiences that Christmas is more than presents and long movie line-ups. If the overdone wobbly camera effect (leaving me wishing the concession stand sold Gravol) and hefty prices to get your family into the theater don't leave you too dizzy, you may find a little Seuss magic still left in this 21st century Grinch.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
The message of the original Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas was that the real meaning of Christmas had nothing to do with commercialism. How does the marketing and promotion of this movie provide an ironic twist to the original intent?
To find out what Dr. Seuss really said about Christmas, check for the book by the same name at your local library, bookstore, or possibly your own bookshelf.