How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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By Sharon Fulton

Young children screamed with fear throughout the screening of "The Grinch" that I attended, and I couldn't blame them. Cringing with disgust, I witnessed the wicked charm, wit, and sweetness of Dr. Seuss's tale dissolve into an obnoxious, and nauseating pile of (what Dr. Seuss might term) gobble-d-gook.

When promotions for "The Grinch" started appearing about a year ago, I doubted whether "they" could pull off a live-action version, but I decided to hope for the best. This movie proves that I should trust my instincts. There are several reasons you should avoid this mean-spirited nightmare of a film.

If you ever loved Dr. Seuss as a child, do not subject yourself to this debauchery of all things Seuss. Dr. Seuss's "Whoville" of fanciful curved buildings mutates into some sort of merry-go round, Martha Stewart torture device. The harmless "Who's" become a materialistic race of bad nose jobs. While Dr. Seuss's Grinch looked like a slight, green imp, we get a fat suit that looks like a combination of moss and old refrigerator mold. Ron Howard, the director of this mess, makes one awful stylistic choice after another.

If you like Jim Carrey, don't see this film. Carrey makes me laugh, and I try to see all of his films; however, my opinion of him plummeted during "The Grinch". I will give a description of the performance: you see a grotesque makeup job in the aforementioned dirty, green suit for hours either wallowing in self-pity, screaming, or making unfunny jokes. When I read the original story, I silently routed for the "mean one" and wondered if he would get away with stealing Christmas. As I suffered through this movie, I silently wished one of the "Who's" would end the Grinch's stealing with a shotgun.

However, the disturbing "additions" to the original fable should keep any person, who just wants to see a pleasant, holiday film, miles away from the movie theater. First, the scriptwriters explain the Grinch's dislike of the "Who's" with childhood trauma. Does Dr. Seuss's audience of children really need to know that if kids make fun of you at school, you will become disliked and unhappy like the Grinch? I didn't need to know this information, and it just made me feel uncomfortable. Second, the Grinch has a love interest in the movie. By attributing sexuality to the Grinch, it made me think of every crazed, isolated, 40 year old sexual offender, I ever heard about in the news. Many kids shrieked with concern when the innocent, little Cindy Lou Who, ventured into this hermit's deep, dark cave. I felt a little queasy and concerned myself. The movie even makes a reference to a "key party". Is this innuendo really necessary? Third, these additions and many others lengthen the movie. This movie felt so long, and I longed to flee.

While the film plodded on, I wanted to go home read the book or watch the cartoon of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." These versions of the story contain Dr. Seuss's words, and they delight me every winter. Occasionally, the movie uses some of Dr. Seuss's original prose with Sir Anthony Hopkins reciting. These brief moments of the true text shine out in the darkness. Still, I advise you to stay home and read "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." Otherwise, you will escape the theater feeling "like a seasick crocodile."