(out of 5)
Delightfully faithful adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ children’s classic story, about a villain who steals Christmas from the unsuspecting peaceful residents of Whoville because they treat him with fear and dread. Jim Carrey is perfectly suited to the lead role of the odious Grinch, while newcomer Taylor Momsen makes the most adorable Cindy Lou Who, the faithful little girl who decides that Christmas is for everyone, even the mean old Grinch who is full of hatred. It is to director Ron Howard’s credit that neither the performances of the stars nor the fable-like production design overpower the simple magic of Dr. Seuss’ story. Every time the film has the opportunity to be overripe and saccharine, Howard restrains himself and lets the charming (but hypocritical) message speak for itself: Christmas is more than just presents and commercial hype (please pick up your Grinch action figures and colouring books at the door). The production was also helped along by the supervision of Seuss’ widow who had approval over the screenplay (and did make some major cuts during pre-production). Costumes are a complete delight, and the makeup design by Rick Baker is pure genius. The film’s only weak point is the uncommitted narration by Anthony Hopkins, who tries but never comes close to the hilarious menace of Boris Karloff’s voice work in the original cartoon. A family-film must.
Directed by Ron Howard
Cinematography by Donald Peterman
Produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard
Music by James Horner
Production Design by Michael Corenblith
Costume Design by Rita Ryack