2018’s The Grinch and 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas were huge box office hits, but which version of the classic Yuletide Dr. Seuss story has the better Grinch? Both versions of the Grinch films received reasonably strong critical receptions, and each was a huge hit with audiences. The 2000 Jim Carrey Grinch live-action film grossed over $345 million at the box office. For nearly two decades, How The Grinch Stole Christmas was the second-greatest Christmas movie in movie history. However, Benedict Cumberbatch’s 2018 Grinch animated film The Grinch topped him with a whopping $511 million at the box office. The box office isn’t everything, however, and fans remain divided over which Grinch movie is best.
There are a lot of criteria to consider when deciding on the definitive version of Seuss’ anti-Christmas anti-hero movie. It’s also worth noting that having a better version of the Grinch doesn’t necessarily make for the best Grinch movie – much like the fact that Aardman Animation’s classic Arthur Christmas isn’t considered the best Grinch movie. Christmas, although it has arguably the funniest Santa Claus. To get to the bottom of the Best Grinch debate, everything has to be considered, from how the Grinch looks, to the quality of the movie he’s in, to how faithfully he is to the Dr. Seuss story. So is Jim Carrey’s live-action Grinch the best, or does the animated Benedict Cumberbatch Grinch steal the show?
Which Grinch looks the best?
For many viewers of a certain vintage, the original Jones-drawn animated Grinch is the best Grinch movie and the definitive version of the character design, which means both the live-action version of Grinch and the animated reboot in 3D of 2018 pales in comparison. However, when the 2000 and 2018 versions of the Grinch are the only ones considered, it’s hard to argue that the animated incarnation is superior to Carrey’s furry iteration. As Carrey himself has proven elsewhere with movies like The Mask, practical makeup effects can make all the difference to an adaptation’s success, and Carrey has been through hell playing the character, enduring hours in a makeup chair every day as well as an itchy torturing yak. hair disguise. However, the transformation was well worth the effort and remains a classic achievement in the annals of on-screen visual effects.
The 2018 Grinch animated film Benedict Cumberbatch has a few cute moments and is an homage to Jones’ design, but the character looks as slick and shiny as anything from the film’s parent studio, Illumination, and lacks of personality. Carrey’s Grinch, by comparison, is instantly recognizable, benefits from the actor’s acrobatic, swinging engagement in the role, and has a genuine grossness that the softer 2018 reboot eschews. The first point goes to Carrey’s Grinch.
Which Grinch Stars in Best Picture?
While the question of which Grinch looks better is a solid win for Carrey, the question of which movie is better is a tougher argument for Howard’s live-action flick to win. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an unnecessarily long film on review, and its extended runtime suffers compared to the tight 86-minute 2018 version of The Grinch. The 2000 live-action film lingers on the Grinch’s surprisingly sad backstory, and even hilarious turns from Jeffrey Tambor and Christine Baranski can’t stop the heavier material from bogging down Howard’s film.
Not only is 2018’s The Grinch animation faster and with a simpler story, but the film’s brighter look also doesn’t fall into the unfortunate weird trap of the live-action movie valley of Howard. While Carrey may look stunning, the rest of Whoville is populated by spooky creations whose prosthetics are far from makeup mastermind Rick Baker’s best work. As a result, the Jim Carrey Grinch film sometimes feels like a cheap Tim Burton/Terry Gilliam/Jean-Pierre Jeunet rip-off, with characters weird enough to be unsettling but not surreal enough to be impressive. With a tighter runtime and nicer visual aesthetic, Best Picture is comfortably won by Cumberbatch’s version of The Grinch.
Carrey vs. Cumberbatch: Performance
Here, there is no comparison. In fairness to Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor doesn’t try to match Carrey’s goofy performance as the Grinch, opting instead for a dry, deadpan iteration of the titular character. It’s a smart move, as Cumberbatch is known for playing steadfast, uninfluenced characters and his take on the role is the exact opposite of Carrey’s. That being said, Cumberbatch taking on the Grinch is the equivalent of Tom Hardy or Dan Stephens delivering a brooding take on an Austin Powers movie. It’s funny, sure, and an inspired riff, but the definitive on-screen portrayal undeniably belongs to Carrey.
Driven by the actor’s knack for improvisation, Carrey’s Grinch is an inspired comedic creation whose fourth-wall-breaking and goofy sides are as memorably surreal as anything from the actor’s previous hits Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. or The Mask. Carrey plays the character with demented zeal and, despite the film’s uneven tone, manages to extract a complex, layered persona from the potentially one-note Grinch. There are nuances of Carrey’s more serious roles in his darker moments as the Grinch and endless one-liners in his manic comedic moments, meaning this one is comfortably won by Carrey.
Jim Carrey is the best Grinch
Thanks to 2018’s The Grinch’s lush, clean animation style and tight, fun story, it’s a relatively tight contest. But although actor Benedict Cumberbatch opted for a different take on the eponymous character, the actor didn’t take the Best Grinch title belt from Carrey. Sure, Howard’s live-action movie may be the lesser of the two Grinch adaptations, but his version of the Grinch is by far the best ever to hit cinema screens. Anarchic, silly and sometimes surprisingly human, Carrey’s Grinch is a perfect character trapped in a flawed film. The film’s flaws are very real, and it’s hard to know if Carrey could have pulled off such a memorable version of the role had he limited himself to voice-over work (although the actor would have saved a lot of time spent to agonize over in the hair and makeup department). But master impressionist Jim Carrey had the benefit of a live-action adaptation in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. By comparison, Cumberbatch’s animation effort is fine, but not iconic enough for the role. That said, despite its flaws, Cumberbatch’s Grinch has the advantage of starring in an altogether tighter and better film than Carrey’s Grinch.
The Boris Karloff Grinch deserves more recognition
When it comes to which is the best Grinch movie, the Boris Karloff-directed 1966 animated feature How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is often overlooked — but it deserves much more recognition. For 34 years, the animated tale of Dr. Seuss ruled the whole Grinch, until the release of Ron Howard’s live-action version in 2000. It’s strange that when the debate over which is the best Grinch movie comes to a head, Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff’s version is left out even though it was the first adaptation. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! sticks much closer to the book than either of the modern interpretations, essentially mimicking the book itself but with voice-over narration and moving imagery. The 1966 animated classic still has the heart of the book, but doesn’t add any extra details about the Grinch’s backstory or Whoville politics. Plus, it spawned one of the most iconic Christmas songs of all time, “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is still watched in homes every Christmas over 50 years later, proving that the animated short has more than stood the test of time. So while the debate rages on whether Benedict Cumberbatch or Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a better Grinch, Boris Karloff’s hat should be thrown in the ring.
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Jim Carrey vs. Benedict Cumberbatch: Who’s the better Grinch? | Pretty Reel
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