This is the seventh in a series of posts, The Twelve Days of Christmas Movies. Each one will review/talk about a different Christmassy film and the whole thing spans 12 days – one film per day. You can read the original post about it (which also lists all 12 days of movies) here.
Today we come to the seventh day in our twelve-day Christmas movie extravaganza! Why is this special? Because 7 is the most magical number, of course! At least in my opinion, although J. K. Rowling and plenty of numerologists are on the same side. Anyway, as a celebration of the unique-ness (it is a word, I swear) of the number seven, I’m going to do something new and try to keep this post shorter and more concise. If you’ve read more than one of my blog posts, you’ll know this isn’t something I attempt very often. Then again, it should be easier today, given that How the Grinch Stole Christmas is only half an hour long. But if I want to succeed here, I should probably start on with the body of the review now. Ah – nearly 200 words already!
How the Grinch Stole Christmas isn’t exactly a new film. Well, the 1966 version, which is the one I watched today, isn’t. A remake, starring Jim Carrey as the green humbug, was created in 2000, but I think I’m not alone in saying that it wasn’t nearly as good as the original. Both feature the plot of a grumpy, miserable creature called the Grinch – who ranks highly on the list of Christmas-haters, along with Ebenezer Scrooge – trying to “steal” Christmas from the festivity-loving, joyful town of Whoville. This being a Doctor Seuss story, Whoville is naturally inhabited by humanoid life forms known as Whos.
This is another film that many people have probably seen at least once before in their lives, most likely as children. To them, I don’t really need to say that this is a good film. The whole thing is narrated by Boris Karloff, who does the voice of both the narrator and the Grinch himself. Again making it clear that Dr Seuss played an active role in the film’s creation, practically the entire script rhymes, which creates an atmospheric, fairytale or folklore-esque quality to the film. Between patches of narration and (less commonly) dialogue, songs are included. Since watching the film, I have had You’re a Mean One, Mister Grinch and Welcome Christmas (Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!) taking turns playing on repeat in my head. The latter is contagiously cheerful and sweet, whilst the former contains cleverly insulting – if a little absurd – lines directed at the Grinch. “You have all the tender sweetness/ Of a seasick crocodile” has to be my favourite, though there are plenty more where that came from.
Even though the majority of people reading this will probably already know how the story of the Grinch’s attempt to steal Christmas ends, I won’t risk spoiling it for you. I will, however, say that it is one of the most heart-warming stories to appear yet in this list of movies. Although I think you are mainly supposed to feel sympathy for Cindy Lou Who, the apparently-legless 2-year-old girl who catches the Grinch during his stealing spree, the character I felt sorry for the most was the Grinch’s dog, Max. He does basically everything his owner asks him to, but is never treated nicely. It all works out at the end, still, so you’re not left feeling unhappy.
On a whole, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is yet another great film. It’s short, but there’s the sort of development and distinctive characters in it that could only be caused by the help of someone like Doctor Seuss. As it is, the film is clearly a Seuss one. It’s a much more enjoyable experience to watch than many of the newer adaptations of Dr Seuss stories – The Cat in the Hat, for one – and is overall a happy, childish* movie. It also ranks highly in Christmassy-ness ratings, which is just one more reason to watch it.
Overall rating: 8/10
Christmassy-ness rating: 10/10 (it’s all Christmas, all the time in this movie)
Mary’s parental guidance rating: U (or G)
Tomorrow’s film: The Nightmare Before Christmas
*That’s a positive adjective in this case