HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS
How the Grinch Stole Christmas had previously been adapted as a well remembered, perennially revived 26-minute cartoon How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) by animator Chuck Jones with Boris Karloff as the voice of the Grinch, with a script written by Seuss. This live-action adaptation of the story comes from Ron Howard. Ron Howard is a popular director whose Imagine Entertainment is one of the top production companies in Hollywood, having produced everything from the Eddie Murphy Nutty Professor films to John Waters Cry-Baby (1990), Oliver Stones The Doors (1991) and the remake of Psycho (1998). On the other hand, Ron Howards films as director always seem to lack a critical strength at heart. Howard seems to want to be another Spielberg or a Lucas but seems to lack what it takes. His attempt to make another E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) only produced the soft-headed Cocoon (1985); his attempt to produce another Star Wars (1977) ended up with Willow (1988), which was a shallow handful of sword and sorcery cliches. His attempts at serious dramatic films end up with the likes of Far and Away (1992), The Paper (1994), Apollo 13 (1995) (probably his best film), Ransom (1996) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), which usually substitute simplistic emotional cues and a sense of decency for serious drama. Howard seems most at home directing light comedy in particular Splash! (1984).
Based on Ron Howards banal track record, one did not have much in the way of hope for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. A sizeable $120 million budget was lavished to bring Dr Seusss surreal world to life. Directorially Ron Howard has aimed to create a wilfully unreal absurdism images of babies being delivered in baskets by parachute, tuba players that reveal miniature tuba players hidden inside the cone of the instrument, the akilter Christmas card sets, literal depictions of nonsense cartoon physics. At the same time, the film feels in danger of being quashed by all the A-budget lustre the sets do not strike you so much with their zaniness as they do with so much having been packed in it is impossible to watch everything.
How the Grinch Stole Christmass ace in the hole is surprisingly Jim Carrey. Carreys OTT performances in the likes of Ace Ventura, Pet Detective (1994), The Mask (1994), The Cable Guy (1996) and Liar Liar (1997) have the habit of being so loud they drown out everything else in the film. At the point that he made How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Carrey has concertedly been trying to break through as a serious actor in the likes of The Truman Show (1998), Man in the Moon (1999) and The Majestic (2001). Although unrecognisably buried beneath a Rick Baker makeup job, Carrey gives a performance where he puts the cap on rafter-rattling excess and evinces there is a lovable curmudgeon inside the makeup. One never thought they would say it about Jim Carrey but he gives How the Grinch Stole Christmas its life. Without him, the film would be a leaden over-produced confection.
Ron Howards producer Brian Grazer next went onto make another live-action Dr Seuss production The Cat in the Hat (2003). Other feature-length films adapted from Dr Seuss works are The 5000 Fingers of Dr T (1953), based on Seusss original screenplay, the animated adaptations of Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and The Lorax (2012).
Ron Howards other genre films are: the mermaid comedy Splash! (1984); Cocoon (1985) about a meeting between geriatrics and extra-terrestrials; the George Lucas sword-and-sorcery collaboration Willow (1988); Apollo 13 (1995) based on the true life 1970 space mission disaster; the supernatural Western The Missing (2003); and The Da Vinci Code (2006) based on the historical/religious conspiracy bestseller and its sequel Angels & Demons (2009) and Inferno (2016).