How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Apples to Oranges
My favorite holiday story is and always will be Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s the tale of a green creature who learns the true meaning of Christmas after years of isolation in a cave near the festive town of Whoville. The best part of the story is that his heart has the capacity to grow three times its size once he lets love and the spirit of Christmas into his life. His acts are forgiven by those he offended and everyone enjoys the holidays together.
There are three options to enjoy this classic holiday story. First is the Dr. Suess book that came out in 1957, then came the beloved 1966 animated TV movie and finally the 2000 feature film directed by Ron Howard. In each version the storyline expands and becomes richer. In the book, there is just a single page to explain the transition from the Grinch changing his opinion about the holidays to everyone enjoying a feast together. It’s a quick ending and the author, Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, admitted that it was a struggle for him. A decade later, with the aid of Chuck Jones, they filled in the storyline gaps, created more depth to the characters and added music, including the famous song, "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". The movie version adds a back story to the Grinch’s childhood to explain how he turned into someone who hates Christmas and the main character was played by Jim Carrey who was absolutely hilarious.
So which one did I like the best, the book, the cartoon or the movie? (Via last months poll)
Drum Roll Please… the Movie!
As a dog owner, I picked the movie version because of Max, the Grinch’s canine companion. We don’t know how or why they came to be together but Max loves the Grinch when the Grinch didn’t like himself. Max serves as the Grinch’s sidekick and someone the Grinch can vocalize his thoughts so he’s not just talking to cave walls. In the book, there isn’t enough Max for me. In the cartoon, which I recently watched again, I noticed things that I didn’t see when I was a child. Specifically there were 1960’s attitudes towards dogs that this 21st century woman doesn’t appreciate.
For example, in the book, Max has to pull the sleigh up and down the hill and the audience can hear the crack of a whip. In the movie, the sleigh is machine operated and Max only has to pull the sleigh when the engine brakes down. In the book, once the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes, there is no moment between the Grinch and Max, only between the Grinch and the town of Whoville. In the movie, right after his heart transitions, he tells Max that he loves him. In no version is the Grinch the perfect dog owner but in the movie they have the best storyline arc.
NEXT MONTHS ARTICLE: THE MAZE RUNNER
Next month we will be comparing James Dashner’s book The Maze Runner against the 2009 film adaption starring Dylan O'Brien. Which version did you enjoy the most?
The Book: I rooted for these characters to escape the maze.
The Movie: The maze looked more intimidating on the big screen.
Columnist: Jessie lives in Oregon and writes to avoid the rain. She only feels compelled to kill her characters when she starts a new diet and if she hates the ending of a TV episode she’ll rewrite it to give everyone a happily ever after. Currently Jessie is an unpublished author but she works tirelessly to removed two letters – un – from that word.
Column book and movie tape drawn by Evangeline Owen