Inside a snowflake, snowflake the Grinch (Jim Carrey) is triggered by the seasonal antics of the Christmas-loving Santaphiles in Whoville, the only place where Christmas doesn’t get earlier every year because they’re preparing for it all year round. Eventually he snaps in a fit of furry fury, plotting to pinch Christmas from the Whos once and for all in this seasonal Who dunnit.
This live action adaptation from Ron Howard successfully brings the world of Dr Seuss to the screen thanks to brilliant production design and an abundance of rhyming couplets. There’s not a single item which looks like it’s been bought in a real shop, all jaunty angles misshapen edges in true Seuss fashion.
Howard seems to take his cues from Batman Returns with an evil baby arrival sequence and villain emerging in the run-up to Christmas, with world-building to rival Burton at his best. It’s also pretty dark in places with quite a few gags which are there just for the adults – which were sorely missing from last year’s bland animated remake. It’s also a more complex story, covering not just the Whos, but the hows and the whys, with a backstory about the Grinch’s traumas of Christmas past.
Carrey goes all in on his physical performance as the seasonal-affective sociopath, throwing his whole body into the part, becoming scary and lovable at the same time. The Oscar-winning makeup adds to his performance, as it adds to the snout-faced Whos, who look fantastical without being too creepy. And it does have a real message about Christmas even if it’s laid on in nauseating bucketloads by the sickly sweet Lucy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen). The final package is a timeless, twisted Christmas cracker which will have you rockin’ around the Roger Daltrey.