Third Time’s the Charm: The Grinch
By Adriana De Santiago
Many have grown up reading “The Cat in the Hat”, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and “The Lorax”. These are just some of Dr. Seuss’s famous books that have since been adapted to films. The Grinch (2018) is the third film based on Dr. Seuss’s book; one in 2000, featuring Jim Carrey, and one in 1966, a TV special. The Grinch (2018) has already grossed $188 million since its release on Nov. 9.
Similarly to the 2000 version, the Grinch lives with his dog, Max, up in a mountain near the town of Whoville. The reason why the Grinch hates Christmas becomes clear early in the film. He was an orphan and spent the holidays alone. This animated adaptation decided to remove the romantic aspect present in the second adaptation and focuses on the Grinch’s loneliness. In both versions, he became more isolated from the residents of Whoville until he eventually moved out of town. After years of hating Christmas, the Grinch comes up with a plan to steal everyone’s Christmas. On the night of Christmas Eve, he and Max go around Whoville, removing decorations and stealing presents. He is right on schedule until he meets a little girl, Cindy Lou Who.
Cindy Lou is different from her character in 2000. Although a main character again, she is not seen interacting with the Grinch for the majority of the film. In fact, she does not actually meet the Grinch until the second half of the movie. Cindy Lou is preoccupied throughout this movie by her mother’s stress, caused by taking care of her twin siblings. Cindy’s only wish for Christmas is for Santa to help her mom. In both adaptations, Cindy Lou becomes the driving force in healing the Grinch’s heart that is ‘two sizes too small’.
Max is back in the third adaptation as the sweet dog that does everything the Grinch asks of him. Max is one of the few characters that the Grinch interacts with for the majority of the film. He does many of the Grinch’s tasks around the house such as making coffee in the mornings and all the Grinch’s meals. He even goes as far as becoming the Grinch’s only “reindeer”.
One distinct difference between this new adaptation and the one made in 2000 is the soundtrack. The Grinch (2018) features Tyler the Creator and Danny Elfman, who created the film’s score. Tyler wrote a new song for this film entitled “I am the Grinch” and a new version of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” with Elfman. Other featured artists are Pentatonix and the late Jackie Wilson. The soundtrack for the movie, as well as an album by Tyler inspired by The Grinch, are available on Spotify. Most of the music in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (2000) was written by James Horner and featured artists popular in the 1990s such as Smash Mouth and The Eels.
Although it is difficult to compare a live-action film to an animated one, The Grinch (2018) has created a sweet message for viewers to take away. The Grinch was sour and loveless because he grew up being alone during the holidays. The holidays should not be represented by the presents and decorations. The Grinch (2018) ends on a light note, with the Grinch and Max sharing Christmas with Cindy Lou and the rest of Whoville.
Each Grinch film has added to the legacy of Dr. Seuss’ story in its own unique way. If you are looking for a new take on this classic childhood story, check out The Grinch (2018) in theaters now.
Director: Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney
Screenplay By: Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury
Duration: 1 hour 45 minutes