How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Reviewed by: Bob MacLean
10 to Adult
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
As I observed in another review, it would be better as Christians to stop bemoaning the lack of morals in G and PG movies. We must learn to expect the crudities and lack of integrity from the unsaved world of the cinema. That said, my overall reaction to this movie is that it is not for children. I took my 8 year old niece and spent the rest of the day talking with her about good themes to try and make up for the less savory incidents in this movie.
I heard Leonard Maltin once reveal the underbelly of film directors by explaining the reason they put gross-out scenes and sexuality into supposed childrens’ films that don’t need them (“My Favorite Martian”, “The Road to El Dorado,” “The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas,” etc.) It is because when they are at parties where much schmoozing and a lot of business is transacted, they must hold up their heads among their peers who want to avoid being seen as trite or conservative. This reminds me of teens who decide drinking and smoking are cool because it seems grown up. As Paul tells us in Romans 1:21, “their foolish minds were darkened… professing to become wise, they became fools.” It seems to me we are going to have to remain more and more vigilent as to what we allow our children to see at the movie theater and be willing to make hard choices.
This movie’s general theme was well meaning, but confused. It seemed to promote kindness in a little girl’s desire to find the truer meaning of Christmas, but falls down in 2 ways. First, it espouses the belief that humans are basically good and can elevate theselves on their own. Second, the terribly blatant rudeness of Jim Carrey’s character, the Grinch promotes rudeness and crude behavoir. Also, the film had too much of a dark theme in it. Somewhat like “Edward Scissorhands” or “Alien: Resurrection.” There are a few uses of the words damn and hell. The general plot is the story of the damage someone can do to themselves and to others if they are ridiculed at a young age. But Ron Howard’s desire to save the Grinch and save us from ourselves falls flat for obvious reasons. Looking to our higher selves for the answers to our innate sinfulness is not why Christ came to this earth. In the Grinch’s progression from sociopath to saved citizen, we must submit to repeated insults and a continuing avalanche of rudeness and a few incidents of outright grossness and several sexually inappropriate scenes. There is innuendo of wife swapping, at least 2 scenes of the kissing of the rearends of people and dogs all done in bad taste. Bosoms aren’t rampant, but one character’s bosom is made too obvious with Carrey falling into it face first.
The scenery and costuming are really mindboggling. They surpass even the lushness of the sets and costumes in “Flinstones in Viva Rock Vegas”. It seems so sad and such a waste that all this talent is for naught in Hollywood.
On the negative side, I personally feel the level of complication and the richness in content we seem to need in entertainment is getting way out of hand. We are jaded it would seem and we are finding it harder and harder to see this development right under our noses. Most significantly, we are raising our children to expect this level of assault on the senses as being normal. On the positive side, although in my opinion not positive enough to save the movie, the camera angles and the costuming brings the 2 dimensional world of Dr. Seuss to life for us.
The characters are simple, but Ron Howard does, as usual, a fine job of making the characters consistent, believable and effective. He paces the film well so there are no dead spots nor do we get lost as to where the plot is going. It should be mentioned that Anthony Hopkins does a fine job of narration. On the other hand, I found the pace of the film and the levels of action to be almost on overdrive in order to compete with one’s need to breathe.
From a moral perspective, the film fails even though the ending is a moral one. I say this because it spends most of the movie insinuating that gross and rude behavior is fine as long as it’s funny and anyhow, since the ending is sweet, it makes up for it. This is the worst kind of lie to foist on children. If we give up on requiring all areas of life to be up to Christ’s standards of kindness yet showing solid judgment of what we allow into our eyes and ears because there are a few good bits in it, we will have bought the enemies great lie that as long as there is a few percent of good in something, we don’t want to throw the whole thing out. I think a movie like “October Sky” is a much better example to show children how to conquer evil.
Lastly, the message of Christmas is portrayed as one of getting along with family with no mention anywhere of Christ’s birth. It reminds me of Easter greeting cards. They now equate Easter with Spring, no mention any longer of God’s gift to us of His Son and His forgiveness.