We all know the new Grinch movie is based on a classic Dr. Seuss children’s story, but the Hobbit believes if a movie is actually good, it must be able to stand on its own merit. So for the sake of this review, we are going to ignore the Grinch’s origins and spend a few moments just on the Grinch we have now.
What is the Grinch? Well apparently Jim Carrey’s version is nothing more than an amalgam of other people’s characters. Cross Oscar the Grouch with Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge, give him a disturbing dog obsession and you have Jim Carrey’s Mr. Grinch.
The story itself is a common enough Christmas theme, right from the pages of Dickens' “A Christmas Carol” complete with Mr. Scrooge (The Grinch) and a Tiny Tim of sorts (Betty Lou Who). But perhaps that is the point of the Grinch, to take a tired old Christmas theme with an important lesson, and give it new life in the hearts and minds of young viewers…. Which only leaves the question does it deliver?
At its heart the Grinch wants to be a children’s movie. The Hobbit heard someone calling it “The Wizard of Oz” for the new millennium. But in this Hobbit’s opinion the Grinch never quite makes it. It lacks the childlike wonder and amazement of “Wizard of Oz” and is missing the lighthearted humor of a kiddie’s film. At its worst Grinch is a dark and sad tale of a cranky old grouch living in a garbage heap, and at its best is the story of an outcast seeking vengeance, but finding redemption. Heady themes for small children. The Hobbit finds it hard to believe that this millennium’s “Wizard of Oz” could take place in the city dump.
But, what Grinch lacks in childlike wonder and amazement, it makes up for in hard knocking laughs, designed to catch both adults and younger viewers unawares. Carrey is spectacular as the Grinch… and the range of facial expressions which he mange’s to shove through that constricting Grinch mask are nothing short of incredible.
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas promises to be one of the most endearing and captivating family movies of the decade. It only manages to be a couple hours of fun, which will soon be forgotten.