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Carl the Critic: "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (Comparison between the Old and New)

Updated on December 9, 2011

Old Vs. New

I'm not a fan of some of the movies that were made based on Dr. Seuss's weird twisted mind, but I actually like both versions of the classic story "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", but which one is better? Well according to most Critics that were around in the early 2000s, the Ron Howard version was worse and that "no one in their right mind would subject their children to a movie of a green, hideous creature that lives on a mountain of garbage." This criticism makes no sense when you consider 2 things: 1) There was already a movie directed by Chuck Jones in 1966 of the exact same hideous creature and 2) even if the Grinch from 1966 didn't live on a pile of garbage, parents did subject their children to one famous green monster who is famous for living in a can full of garbage with a pet worm on Sesame Street his name was... Big Bird (just kidding).
But I digress, so instead of what I normally do, I decided to take the route every film critic takes and decide to compare and contrast the old movie and the new movie based on a few key points that makes both movies unique.

Closest to Original Story (And Best Story in General)

At this, the 2000 version trips on the first hurtle and cracks a tooth, because the original story of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" did not have more than 3 memorable characters: The Grinch, Max, and Cindy Lou Who. So if you are a person who likes your film adaptations as close to the original material as possible, the 1966 version is the better film. But this is also where people may split on the issue because whether a movie was close to the original source or not was (and in fact still is) never an issue in Hollywood. In addition to that, if Ron Howard wanted to make the Dr. Seuss classic into a feature length film, there needs to be some serious padding, and backstory. The thing that the 2000 version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has which I thought was unique was to give the Grinch a back story involving bullies, an embarrassing moment at school, a messed up explanation of where babies come from, a strange love story, and- well it's just nonsensical, and there are some plot holes... So maybe the original movie still wins this round for being short sweet and to the point.

One point to Old


Which version had a better setting? Well let's see one takes place in Who-ville, which is on a snowflake (...very bad planning on the Who people's part, because their town would be destroyed if the snow flake they lived in landed next to a fire hydrant and a dog with a full bladder happen to be near). Then there is the other Who-ville, which is in... you know come to think about it they never really specify where Who-ville is in the animated film because IT DOESN'T MATTER. Who-ville is like Narnia, it's just a magical place of its own. It could be on a baby's dirty diaper for all we know. That's what makes the Who-ville in the animated movie better as far as location is concerned.

One Point for the Old


Well let's see here, which Grinch was better? The animated or live action? Karloff or Carrey? I feel like both did a great job being the Grinch but let's observe these two closely. Karloff's Grinch was just him reading the book (or so it sounded like) as if he was reading it to a group of children, which I'm sure was the movie's intention, but when you think about it, Karloff didn't really "act" as he did "read". Jim Carrey was indeed acting, he gave the Grinch a personality, and you sympathized for him because of his back story of why he wanted to steal Christmas from the Who people. Plus when I think of the Grinch, I think more Jim Carrey than Boris Karloff. Boris Karloff was still good, and he is a better actor in general, but for the role of the Grinch Carrey was better.

One Point for the New

Supporting Characters

The animated movie was more about the Grinch then it was about any of the supporting characters. Of course the movie is 26 minutes long so there isn't too much time for character development it's not like the live action version which is 104 minutes long and is enough time to pad out the relationships between characters we don't care about. Though the new film's supporting characters do add to the message of the story, about how Christmas shouldn't be materialistic and getting rid of presents wont stop Christmas from coming. Though if we were to compare the Cindy's of both movies, you will find that the Cindy from the live-action film is a bit of a dumb ass. She has this habit of talking to strangers, climbing dangerous mountains (unsupervised), and she can't tell that the Santa Claus who is stealing her Christmas Tree is actually the Grinch (even though she has seen him before multiple times). The Cindy from the animated movie has an excuse because she's never seen Santa Claus or the Grinch before. But because this is a choice between a cast of many idiots vs a cast of 3, no one gets a point.



Now I know you think that because "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" from 1966's version had the first "'You're a mean one Mr. Grinch'" song by the amazing Thurl Ravenscroft, it is automatically the winner. Well that is a perfectly just reason to think so but now I ask, "what other songs do you remember from the animated version?"
"'Fa-who-forrest-da-who-dorris'" you might reply.
To which I reply "That's not the name of the song."
And at this point you go to Wikipedia to look up the soundtrack to the original animated version. Now I ask you "what songs to you remember from the live action version?"
"'Mr. Grinch', 'Where Are You Christmas?', and... 'Fa-who-forrest-da-who dorris'"

My point is that the newer version has more memorable music, and I actually like 'Where Are You Christmas" in the newer version, because it makes sense for Cindy's character to wonder where it is (not because she is a dumb ass though that might be a part of it but,) because Cindy is the only one in Who-ville to know that Christmas is not about material things, but she doesn't know what it is either.

Though I'd be lying if I said I didn't love the "Mr. Grinch" song, and Thurl Ravenscroft kicks Jim Carrey's ass when he sings it (Jim Carrey's version makes me feel dirty, which is the point I guess but at the same time seeing Carrey eat a greasy banana peel is a little too far.) But the newer version still wins this one because I like "Where are you Christmas?" a little more than "Mr. Grinch"

One Point for the New

The Major Factors of Both Versions of "How the Grinch Stole Chrismas"

Running Time
26 minutes
104 minutes
Supporting Characters


The final score is:


A tie? No that can't be right!... Can it? Tell you what, I'll let YOU decided.


Which Version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" did you prefer?

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      23 months ago

      Good Hub, I enjoyed reading it. The cartoon version also had to pad. They came up short so they added the ride down the mountain to get the appropriate amount of time for the Christmas special. I would question your scoring on the music. The movie version had 3 songs, but 2 of them were the original songs. In a head-to-head "Mr. Grinch" vs. "Where are you Christmas" I would give the edge to Mr. Grinch, for Thurl Ravenscroft's singing and for the song's originality. That's a matter of opinion and I would love yours on this.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It needs to be appreciated that when you are turning a short children's book into a feature length film that adaptations are essential! Books and films are two separate things and I appreciate both for what they are. The Grinch 2000 movie is one of my favourite films ever and I watch it all year round. It's funny, moving and deep and a film you can really get sucked into and watch with your heart which the animated one doesn't give you enough time or depth for. Do you know how much effort was put into make up, costume design and set design for the film? Watch the special features of the DVD and you'll see how incredible it is! Feature length film all the way!

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      It's no problem, and you're right about how not everyone watches the movie going "Wow! Look at the make-up on Jim Carrey's face, it's so awesome!" People usually do just look for story (which is why I usually put that at the top of my reviews) and sometimes if the story is lacking, it can be forgiven for great acting, camera work, editing, art, etc. things that the audience does notice when they give up on the story. In addition to winning an Oscar (which I wasn't surprised about given that it's Rick Baker, the biggest name in the make-up and special effect department) Jim Carrey received a Golden Globe nomination for best actor, and James Horner received a Saturn Award for best music. It also received Razzie nominations for "worst remake/squeal" (losing to "Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows") and "worst screenplay" (losing to "Battlefield Earth"). It's a movie that some like and others don't but in the end all that matters is "what did you think?" As critics it is our job to look past trivial facts like what awards it won, and who made it, and just focus on "what did we like about it" and/or "what we didn't like about it." Of course there are some people who do pay attention to trivial fact and therefore they are added for them, but based on what I learned in film school, my own experiences with filmmaking, and what I feel about the movie I try to explain why I liked said film or why I hated it.

      Just because some people don't care about awards or other trivial fact doesn't mean they should be denied the information. Thanks for stopping by again, it's always good to hear from you Steve, thanks for commenting :)

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Okay, after officially looking this up. You're right that it was nominated for 3 Oscars, and won one of those nominations in Best Make up. I'll concede to that, but those were in minor technical categories that would only matter to people like you and me such as "Best Make Up", "Best Art Direction", and "Best Costume Design"; while mainstream audiences generally don't care about those little things, so I still stand by what I said. Sorry.

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Besides, in "Dragonball Evolution's" case, they had to literally change almost EVERYTHING about the series itself just to make it work to where it was only identical in name only; thus even if they did have a bigger budget and more talent behind it, the reality is that the fans of the series would've still been alienated because they changed too much of the story. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of these people that expects every adaptation to be a 100 percent faithful to the source, as liberties for almost any adaptation is kind of expected when you stop to think about it. However, it should never be to the point where you're changing your lead character's (Goku) personality to resemble protagonists from other franchises, and rewriting his entire history that pays no respect to the original source. Of course, the sad part about it is...even if the movie was somewhat faithful...I doubt it would've faired much better, as there's a lot of things about it that wouldn't translate in a live action format.....

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Well to each their own. I don't know if you follow anime (let alone Dragonball at all), but trust me, if I told you everything about the series, then you might think differently about it being translated well to the big screen, as there's a lot of things I doubt it could get away with on the big screen. As for the Grinch receiving oscar nominations, well I can't answer that, but that's very good to know. Wasn't one of them for makeup? If I'm not mistaken, isn't that the award it won for? Or was it something else? Sorry, my memory is a bit fuzzy on that one.

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Well you're not alone it appears, 80% of voters so far say that the animated version was better. And yes the original was a TV special as oppose to a theatrical release, but it's not really that much different. I guess I see where you're coming from, though I feel like comparing "The Grinch" (2000) to "Dragonball Evolution" may have been a little extreme because that film had less talent working on it (it definitely makes a difference of who directs it, and helps make the movie) and "The Grinch" had many talented people working on it (The script/story, and that Cindy Lou Who are really the worse parts of the newer version for me). And it did receive 3 Oscar nominations and won one, which tells you that somethings are really good about it.

      Thanks for your input and vote Steve, always good to hear from you :)

    • Stevennix2001 profile image

      Steven Escareno 

      6 years ago

      Although you come up with a lot of valid points about both adaptations, I tend to think the animated one is by far the best one because it's more direct to the point with the story, while remaining faithful to the source. Plus, like I told my brother a while back when "Dragonball Evolution" was still in pre-production, the sad reality is that not all cartoons, anime, and comic book characters can translate well to film, as there's simply some things you can get away with in a cartoon that you'd never be able to pull off in a live action movie (regardless of who's behind the director's chair or cast in it).

      Sadly, I think "Grinch" is just one of those types of characters, and the new version with Jim Carrey does nothing to change my mind on it. Granted, you do make a lot of good points about it, but I just disagree. No, some cartoons just aren't meant to be turned into movies. And no, I don't consider the original TV cartoon a movie, as I tend to think of it more as an animated special which is completely different if you ask me. But then again, everyone has their own opinion.

      However, on a more brighter note, I have to say you did a great job breaking down the comparison between these two versions, as I'll definitely vote it up. :)

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Okay, thank you for your input livelovelaugh5, "it's short short sweet, and to the point" :)

    • livelovelaugh5 profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the old version!

    • CarltheCritic1291 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      Thanks Laura, glad you love it :)

    • laurathegentleman profile image


      6 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      I am definitely a fan of both versions - it is a Christmas tradition to watch the Jim Carrey version with my family on Christmas Eve. I love this Hub for it's comparison of two classics!


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