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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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Like most people I know, as a kid I looked forward to Grinch cartoon every Christmas.  Dr. Seuss rocks.  And I like Jim Carrey and Ron Howard films.   So I really wanted to like this movie.

The portions of the movie that stuck pretty close to the original were familiar and were, as always, entertaining.  And the Jim Carrey adlibs seemed to work pretty well.  After all, he is a human cartoon, and he was able to adapt his style to the tone of the original story.

But they added in quite a lot of new material in order to stretch it to movie length, and that didn't work well at all.  There were scenes of the Grinch's early childhood, and some relationships between Whoville inhabitants that felt very forced and out of place.  There were scenes of some of the Whos at work and some scenes showing a Christmas contest.  The original story and cartoon were mostly narration and the new stuff was mostly expository, which made it feel very out of place.

As with every cartoon-to-movie I've seen so far, the attempts to make a cartoon world just don't work.  The timing just doesn't work for some reason.  Everything moves just a little too slow, and the physics of turns and starts and stops keeps reminding you that they're filming in the real world.  Carrey's movie The Mask probably came closest to pulling it off.  And thinking about it, that extra experience may be why Carrey's scenes worked so well.

On top of the near-constant distraction of the too-real world, the dialogue and most of the acting was very clumsy and stilted.  The writers made the mistake of writing down to children.  By doing that they stripped out everything natural and interesting.   So the actors had a hard time getting into a rhythm.  The scenes didn't flow.   They were very staged and awkward.

On my brother's Total Movie Value Scale, Cable with Dinner.  The parts that stuck close to the original were pretty good.  The new bits felt really amateur and out of place.

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Last modified: June 14, 2004
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