Reviewed by Ivana Redwine
Tagline: "You better watch out!"
Length: 104 minutes
Jim Carrey gives an impressive performance in the feature-length version of the beloved Dr. Seuss story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and you shouldn't miss seeing this entertaining film on DVD. Although the movie deliberately avoids fairy-tale beauty, it is visually compelling, and Carrey is very funny. Also, the DVD comes with lots of extras, some aimed at adults, while others are intended for kids.
You may have seen the nicely done animated version of the story, which is narrated by Boris Karloff, on TV, but the live-action film is very different. Anthony Hopkins narrates the movie, but this is relatively unimportant since the film is much more about images and actions than it is about words. Although the movie preserves the story's happy ending and basic message that Christmas is more than just decorations and gifts, the film version isn't overly cheerful, and it has a contemporary, slightly edgy feel.
The story in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" centers around an imaginary town called Whoville, which is populated by creatures called Whos. A Who is very similar to a human, except a Who moves a little differently and has (in adulthood) a snout. As Christmas approaches, the merry residents of Whoville are in a shopping and decorating frenzy. But just north of town lives the grumpy, reclusive Grinch (Carrey), whose day planner includes entries like "4:00 -- Wallow in self-pity" and "4:30 -- Stare into the abyss."
When little Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen) entices the Grinch to come to town to receive an award as the Holiday Cheermeister, he must wear an "I Love Xmas" sweater, ride in a Chair of Cheer, and judge the Who-Pudding Cook-Off. The Grinch eventually gets so angry he sets the town's tall Christmas tree afire, and as the crowd scurries to safety, he gloats, "Oh, the Whomanity!" Then, on Christmas Day the Grinch steals all the presents from every house in Whoville, leading the town's residents to reconsider the meaning of the holiday and their relationship with the Grinch.
One of the interesting features on the DVD is "Who School," where the filmmakers talk about how they came up with the way the Whos look and move in the movie. Another good feature is "Seussian Set Decoration," which discusses the concept of Whoville as a medieval village, but one containing many styles of architecture. The "Makeup Application and Design" feature is worth watching, mainly to get an idea of what some of the considerations were that entered into the design of the makeup.
The "Outtakes" feature brings grins to the faces of adults and kids alike as it shows a montage of many scenes that went awry during filming. The DVD also has a feature aimed at kids called "Max's Playhouse" that has little games like "Rhyme Time," "Dress the Grinch," and "The Care and Feeding of a Grinch." Also, "Max's Playhouse" provides sing-alongs for "Where Are You, Christmas?" and "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch."
Selected Special Features on the DVD: