After 1966’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and 2000’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” we now have 2018’s “The Grinch” (I assume the next reboot will be titled “Gri”). Illumination Studios continues being the C grade Disney Strudios, adapting the Dr. Seuss tale if, for no other reason, than to have their own holiday title out for the market and appeal to a younger audience. There’s not a lot of reason for this adaptation, as Illumination doesn’t offer a new twist on The Grinch. Except for obviously omitting “Christmas” from the title, “The Grinch” is an amalgam of Ron Howard’s live action movie, and the original Chuck Jones short movie–except bland.
It’s hard to imagine a more perfect adaptation of a Dr. Seuss story than the 1966 Chuck Jones feature; perhaps, “The Butter Battle Book.” In either case, I was one of the many children that grew up watching the TV version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” It’s such a wonderful combination of talents and rich enthusiasm for the source material, that it’s tough to not like it. There’s Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones, and Dr. Seuss, not to mention the perfectly simplistic tale about anti-materialism and the true meaning of Christmas.
While director Ron Howard’s “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” is by no means as wretched as “The Cat in the Hat,” it’s definitely a grim sign of things to come for the legacy of one of the greatest authors that ever lived. Typical of the Hollywood factory, the studios take a simple and meaningful story and bloat it to obscene proportions, turning it in to a ridiculous facsimile of the source material.
Dr. Seuss was one of the few children’s authors who did much more than rhyme brilliantly and tell stories about the Who’s at Whoville celebrating Christmas. And even then when you thought he was just telling you a story about a village celebrating Christmas, he was more commenting on the consumerism of Christmas, and how these villagers didn’t need all the materialism behind it after all. Dr. Seuss spent a good portion of his life writing and drawing political cartoons and ninety percent of the iconic characters in his stories were originally born from his political cartoons and years later when he ventured in to telling stories to kids about Cats in Hats, he was telling us much more about himself and providing a moral.
Many people will reason for “Horton” that it’s a good movie because, it’s much better than the previous attempts. And frankly, I’m not buying it. Is “Horton” as bad as the previous live action attempts? No way in bloody hell. But is it good enough to be a classic? No way in bloody hell. “Horton” makes the right decision of using animation this time around and pumps the screen with skilled comedians and it pays off to a certain extent as the adventures end up rather amusing. As an animated effort, it has the right idea, it just doesn’t know how to compose Seuss without turning itself into another “Shrek,” and I prayed this movie would have sense enough to not aspire to appeal to that audience and yet it did.
We received an onslaught of merchandising and advertising once this bomb was released, and the cat in the hat was literally everywhere you looked, an obvious sign of studios spending too much money on a crappy film, when it could have been spent on a better film. The filmmakers don’t call it “The Cat in the Hat”, they call it “Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat”, just to assure everyone this definitely is the book their children and their children’s children read. This is not, however, Dr. Seuss. It’s an embarrassment.