This review originally ran December 25th, 2011. This is still a must-watch as many times as you can.
I recently watched the Ron Howard remake for this month a few days back and was horrified by what had been done to this great special. Thankfully, rewatching this has made me all but forget that horrible movie! I don’t have any best/worst of the month since I’d seen most of these movies previously, but I’d say Ron Howard’s Grinch was the worst thing I’ve seen.
This 1966 film tells how the evil Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff) hates the Whos down in Whoville who love Christmas. He comes up with a plan to steal all the Whos Christmas stuff, but eventually comes to realize that maybe “Christmas means a little bit more” than gifts.
Much like the remake of the Grinch, albeit in a more negative light, what can be said about this film that hasn’t already been said in countless reviews? There’s something so dastardly heartwarming about this movie, if that’s even a phrase. The Grinch is expertly voiced by Frankenstein’s monster himself, Boris Karloff, and is evil all the way around. When he turns his head 360 degrees, you know he’s pretty damn evil. On top of that, he’s mean to the cutest dog in the world, Max! I was sad Max wasn’t utilized in the remake because Max steals the show in this brief cartoon. The scene of the Grinch going down the mountain and realizing Max isn’t controlling the sleigh but is inside, waving to him no less, never fails to crack me up!
I heavily criticized Ron Howard’s remake for missing the point of what this special seeks to reveal. The Whos are benevolent, sweet people who love the togetherness of Christmas, not the material benefits. When the Grinch steals their presents it’s because he’s the one who assumes it’s all about materials. Yet, when the group gathers around the Christmas tree and sings “Welcome Christmas” it’s because Christmas is about community and sharing to them! Where Ron Howard turns the Whos into unlikable jerks, this cements Christmas as a time of family, and if the Grinch opens himself up to love, he can be a part of it too!
On top of that, the animation is still flawless for a movie made in 1966, and the song, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” is a classic for a reason. It’s also been the ringtone for my father this Christmas season, just to let you lovely readers into my personal life for a moment.
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A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.