Dr. Seuss' classic tale comes to life under the instruction of Ron Howard (director of Apollo 13) and creativity of Jim Carrey (The Mask). Seuss could only be proud that How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a modern day The Wizard of Oz, with a completely made up world and funny characters.
Maybe best of all he would appreciate that his original story was incorporated into the film as a narrative, and he couldn't complain that Ron Howard took some artistic freedom in creating a back story for the Grinch. The baby Grinch sequences are the best of the film, even though they never appeared in the children's storybook.
Seuss would be happy with Jim Carrey in the lead role, since only Jim Carrey could pull off a character as wild and crazy as the Grinch. Carrey fits into the role much easier than he does into that green suit, and seems to be having fun being such a... grinch. This is the first time he really has had to restrain himself (compare the antics of Dumb and Dumber to The Grinch), and he does a good job. At times the more adult Carrey slips through, but not because of him...
Still, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is 99 percent kid appropriate, and other 1 percent will probably not be noticed by the age group that shouldn't notice. Parents, kids, and anyone else should find the movie enjoyable, although not uncontrollably funny. I found some parents extremely hilarious but mainly the movie was just fun to watch; there were pieces that could have been better and times where it would have been nice to have the movie move along just a little bit faster.
I didn't like the fact that Howard decides to make The Grinch a quasi-musical, having there be 3 songs in the film. The last two are necessary, including the "Mr. Grinch" song that is played in the cartoon version, and the song right near the end where everyone in Whoville is holding hands, but the first one that the girl plays is annoying. Oh well. No big deal.
Sometimes the movie seems too impressed with its own visual style that it forgets that an audience is watching, but for the most part I felt involved in the film. Howard has done a good job directing this child's tale.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas could have been better but it will probably become one of those movies that the kids pull out every winter to watch on Christmas Eve.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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