I recently saw a funny meme that gave more depth to the Grinch. It stated simply that the Grinch didn’t hate Christmas. He hated people. While the animated original narrated by Boris Karloff is still my favorite entry into the world of Grinchyness, the Jim Carrey version brings the characters backstory to the forefront giving us a glimpse into what it is like to grow up being bullied for being different. Before I get too far into that, I’ll touch on all three versions of Grinch lore.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 1966
Boris Karloff voices the Grinch in this classic, and if you have read any of my horror movie reviews, you probably already know that I’m a huge fan of the old black and white horror films. I’m a huge Karloff fan. Karloff adds a crotchety old mans voice to an animated character who simply doesn’t want to hear other people loving life. Why? Because he doesn’t love his. He decides to take away the Who’s down in Whoville happiness which means stealing Christmas. The toys. The boxes. The bags. The gigantic lighted tree in the town square. After he does this, the Whos are still happy, just glad to have each other’s company. The Grinch realizes that Christmas isn’t about trees and presents and returns what he stole. In a kind gesture of goodwill and forgiveness, the Whos invite him to stay for dinner. A perfect story for any holiday movie series. It’s my favorite of the animated classics.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas 2000
The live action version brings us Jim Carrey in green makeup accompanied by the likes of Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, and Molly Shannon. The story is essentially the same except it centers in on one family in Whoville as well as the Grinch. Cindy Lou Who sings cutely about the pitfalls of commercialism while the Whos around her buy anything that glitters. She invites the Grinch down from his lonely mountain as a gesture of kindness, but the townspeople bully him just as they did when he was a child. This sends him into an angsty fit and he tries to ruin their Christmas. Then, the Whos realized how their awful behavior is what caused the Grinch to be Grinchy in the first place and everyone makes amends. I find this incarnation tolerable, and if I’ve had some peppermint schnapps, enjoyable might be a better word. I have to be in the right mood for this glittery slapstick.
The Grinch 2018
I don’t even know where to begin with this CGI piece of… Well, let’s just say I’m not a fan. That says a lot since my lover, Benedict Cumberbatch, voices the Grinch. I’ll use any excuse to see one of his movies but since he only lends his voice talents, it is not enough to carry the movie. I’ve tried watching it multiple times and usually bow out 20 minutes in. It doesn’t really add any meaningful insight into the Grinch’s character. This one is a hard pass for me. I’d rather watch the original.