As the years pass, new ideas and interpretations arise, and Dr. Seuss’ children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is adapted into a movie over and over again. It is becoming more difficult with every release to decide which version to watch when you settle down with the nice, easy Christmas classic. Having watched each of the movies many times over, I find it very interesting to compare the three; but which one is best?
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) is, of course, the original and classic Grinch movie. The animation is so similar to that of the book that the movie is really just an extension of the book itself. The narration adds to the effect of the book in motion because it quotes Dr. Seuss’ book directly. We cannot forget that this movie introduces the songs featured in later Grinch movies and Christmas playlists. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch and Welcome Christmas are my personal favourites. This adaptation is the one that stays the most true to the book, and with its hilarious animation and well-known narration, it is the perfect movie to throw on to dive back into magical childhood Christmas nostalgia.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) is the version I have watched the most. It was the only full-length Grinch movie available when I was growing up, and while my siblings and I loved the 1966 version, the live-action version added even more holiday cheer to our night. When I was a kid, I loved seeing the snowy, magical, Christmas-y Whoville and the Grinch’s unique personality come alive on screen. Now that I am older, I can fully appreciate Jim Carrey’s masterful performance in this movie and the full impact of the creative decisions and plot additions. For example, the movie develops the Grinch’s character by fleshing out the details of his past and explains why he hates Christmas so much. This movie can, in my opinion, go a little too far in its attempt to incorporate tropes and adult humour in order to reach a larger audience. The Grinch having a love interest strays a little too far from the meaning of the story, and the absolute chaos following the Whoville Holiday Cheermeister scene seems like it is trying to camouflage as an action sequence. The Grinch himself in this movie can be really horrible; he can be cruel, and his treatment of his dog Max borders on animal abuse. All in all, though, I really love this movie, and it is a great choice if you need a laugh.
The Grinch (2018) is my favourite Grinch movie; the animation is beautiful, the story is heartfelt, and all of the characters are so genuine. The explanation for why the Grinch hates Christmas in this movie really makes the audience sympathize with him. The story doesn’t rely on the Grinch’s past or dwell on it for too long; instead, it progresses more quickly to a happy ending. Cindy Lou Who and her friends are absolutely adorable in this movie: they are just authentically sweet little kids who come up with crazy plots to catch Santa Claus. I loved the new character Donna Who, Cindy Lou Who’s mother, a single mom with three kids. She allows Cindy Lou Who to discover the true meaning of Christmas in a really caring and beautiful way. The other two most notable new characters are Bricklebaum (who is such a good character; he is essentially a jolly, wonder-filled, buoyant, ever optimistic little kid in a man’s body) and Fred (this adorably huge and clumsy sidekick is honestly the best part of the movie). What I especially loved about this movie, though, was how the Grinch treats Max. Although the Grinch is generally grouchy and yes, a little bit mean sometimes, it is obvious that he does love Max. This proof that he cares somewhere in that small heart of his is already evident at the beginning of the movie and allows for more authentic character development. I therefore present the 2018 version of the Grinch with the Holiday Cheermeister Award because it focuses on the meaning of Dr. Seuss’ book and the meaning of Christmas. It is the perfect movie to watch when you want something truly heartwarming.