BY MAIA HUNTER
How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been a holiday tradition on television for more than three decades. The 22-minute animated film, which is based on Dr. Seuss’ book, has enchanted generations of children and adults alike. As a result, director Ron Howard has taken a significant risk in turning it into a live-action movie that runs for 90 minutes.
Howard deserves credit for his efforts to preserve the spirit of the animated Grinch. The Dr. Seuss book text is still there, but a lot more has been added to shorten the runtime. The brilliant, beautiful set plan actually interprets the blissful villa of Whoville from the animation world to reality. Naturally, one might wonder why this movie was deemed necessary in the first place when so much effort was being put into replicating the animated look and feel in live-action. However, Howards’s take brought the Grinch to life.
The movie starts with nearly an hour of background information about Whoville and the Grinch that was not in the book or the TV special by Dr. Seuss. The audience is introduced to a range of fascinating details intended to fill in viewers and for them to learn that the Grinch hates Christmas more because of bad childhood experiences than because he has a heart that is two sizes too small. Finally, about halfway through the movie, the plot shifts to following the book exactly. The two parts of the movie have different tones: the one that follows the book is smoother, has a lot more narration, and always rhymes, while the other part has a more modern, deeper feel.
However, one of the movie’s huge selling points is undoubted; Jim Carrey. He is portrayed as an exact resemblance to the cartoon creature buried beneath Rick Baker’s flexible makeup; however, even though he is not physically recognizable, it is clear who is underneath the green latex and hair thanks to his iconic charm and humor. Carrey’s Grinch is a cross between Seuss’s creation and Carrey’s personality.
Taylor Momsen, a charming newcomer, plays Little Cindy Lou-Who. In Whoville, Cindy becomes the Grinch’s advocate and the only one who recognizes the goodness that lies within him. Momsen plays the role admirably and allows the audience to begin to fall in love with the Grinch as much as her character does.
Setting to the side whether or not the film is vital in the general plan of things, How the Grinch Took Christmas addresses a strong 90 minutes of an iconic, Christmas movie; captivating for all ages. Howard brings animation to the live-action, with amid glittering, fantastical sets and computer-generated special effects. He makes the adaptation of the classic story seem like a welcome effort rather than a pointless rerun.