How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Review

Well, now we know. As much as How the Grinch Stole Christmas! wishes to excite its audience with the interjection of one finality in its punctuation, it is unnecessary. But that is just bulky semantics for the final section of punctuation. Finality is presented in this Boris Karloff-led feature. His mean old Grinch is a frightful one, but not exactly Frankenstein’s Monster. He is attached to this role because he is the mean man who once tormented a town. He torments another town here as the fusty old Grinch, a name now synonymous with those not engaging with the festive spirit. They know who they are, and this 25-minute animated classic should give them pause for thought.

Primarily, it may double down their hatred of the holidays. Bright colours and children running around. That isn’t Christmas. Christmas is all about getting plastered by twelve, eating enough Belgian truffles to clog your intestines and struggling through the taped down presents, unwrapping gifts you already about. His heart is too small because he is filled with sulking anger. Either that or he has undiagnosed postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Either way, the man is not a fan of the festive period. Karloff embodies that well. His voice is the right tone, the right pitch and deep enough to convince us of a true and burdened hatred.

Transitions from strawberry to the menacing eye of The Grinch are the sort of cuts and credible changes that mark How the Grinch Stole Christmas! as more than just a fun animated classic. There is real artistic tact found within this adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ writing. A short and sweet book that relies on its drawings as much as its wordplay. Albert Hague adds some tremendous composition to the very simple, quick story. Witty wordplay extends far beyond the original writing. Karloff adapts this well, and so too does Hague. You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch is a strong but brief track that ties the quick montage together nicely. He’s a vile one indeed, and the animation flourishes most of all when that titular Christmas cretin is dancing around the rooms, destroying Christmas trees and stealing presents.

Zany, physics-defying ladders, potshots that see baubles fly up drainpipes and the superhuman strength of a Grinch who can throw bags up and out of chimneys, it is not a film founded on reality. But that much is obvious. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is a short, sweet classic. Surprisingly able and ready to adapt just a handful of pages to a near half-hour, it is Karloff’s narration and the stylistic choices of directing pair Chuck Jones and Ben Washam that carry this feature. Delightfully animated, that 1960s tinge and flavour, the Tom & Jerry stylishness, that is what How the Grinch Stole Christmas! will elicit. That period of flavourful animation reigns free with this feature, an impressive bit of animation that not only stands the test of time but perseveres as one of the great classics of the festive period.

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