THE GRINCH Thursday 01 December, 2011

Dr Seuss’ christmas classic comes to us via Ron Howard and Jim Carrey. Should they have bothered?

In some ways I am a massive fan of Dr Seuss. I love his graphic style. I love his surreal ideas. I do not love his rhyming verse. I am thirty three years old though and these books were intended to help children enjoy learning to read. This is where the problem with making a film from one of his books lies. There is very little story in a Dr Seuss book.

This is what I found in this film also. There is a lot of texturing and mood setting but not much in the way of plot. Again, I should remind you that this is a film made for kids and they will probably not find the lack of plot such a problem. I found myself bored and itching to reach for the PSP though.

Let’s forget about plot for a moment though. This film looks amazing. It is a garish kaleidoscope of colour. The set design is wonderful and I think in many ways it is quite faithful to the Dr Seuss aesthetic. The characters themselves have quite amazing make up as well. Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development’s George Snr) is only recognisable by the Tambor timbre of his voice.

The most impressive transformation though is Jim Carrey as The Grinch. It is a quite amazing job. He looks like a real creature and not a man with bits stuck on. It must have been exceptionally uncomfortable to spend hours in that costume every day. With that in mind Carrey should receive huge credit for his wonderful performance. He is grumpy and misanthropic in every movement he makes and every word he speaks.

Ron Howard does an acceptable job of controlling all the action although I could have done with approx 99% less dutch tilts. He is fighting against the material when it comes to an adult audience though. I notice that he managed to wedge his brother (Clint Howard, the little blonde moppet of Gentle ben fame) into the cast as well.

Not really enough here to hold an adult’s attention but I would imagine that the kids will lap this stuff up.

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