January 30th, 2005

krazy koati

You're a mean one

We will not address the question of why Star World ran The Grinch, the overly long movie, either five weeks late or forty weeks early. Nor will we address the wisdom of the movie, as we live in an era in which everything which has ever been filmed is to made a bigger movie; watch soon for Vicki Lewis as a hip, cynical Jeremy Squirrel in The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't: The Motion Picture. (That's me joking. To the best of my knowledge.)

I agree the movie looks good; set and character design couldn't be substantially better. The added whimsy is a bit forced, but whimsy is probably the hardest writing to do; either it flows naturally (see the real Lewis Carroll) or it's stiff and contrived (see my pastiche from a few days ago), with little room in-between. Not much can be done about that.

Where the film fails is the plot added on to the cartoon's: the material shows that Grinch (and Cindy Lou Who) are the only people who've noticed the rituals and decorations and such have gotten far out of hand, and the Whos have let an obsession with the structure of the holiday destroy the sentiment. That's a fine premise for a story, but to tell it, one has to eject the motivations of the original story and cartoon, where the Grinch is the one who learns the festivities aren't the point. As the movie told it, the Whos are deranged and Grinch saves them with some appropriately placed cynical barbs.

The thing keeping me from buying the movie is the Grinch, in his lair. The fur-lined Jim Carrey is a big, bright green man in a dark cave. The camera follows the Batman model of being crooked -- to match the (declared, but not proven) crooked character on screen. Try as the movie might, they couldn't convince me this wasn't Doctor Clayton Forrester prancing around Deep 13.

Trivia: Theodore Geisel attempted to join Navy intelligence in World War II. Source: Doctor Seuss Goes To War, Richard Minear.

Currently Reading: The High Place, James Branch Cabell.