Christmas offers more than presents and Santa Claus. It brings us the joy of movies such as How The Grinch Stole Christmas, A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Muppet Christmas Carol, and Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer. Waiting in front of the TV for weeks leading up to Christmas waiting to watch your favorite Christmas classic is now readily available on DVD so you get to choose when to enjoy Christmastime.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Original
In 1966, one of Dr. Suess’ masterpieces was brought to life in one of the best and most solid Christmas movies out there, How The Grinch Stole Christmas. In recent memory, never has a Christmas gone by without this being shown on television. It is one of those bad guy gone good movies which ends up warming the heart and brings that holiday smile to everyone’s face. It seems as though every time this movie plays, the smell of Christmas and the sound of family accompanies it.
Now, with the ABC Family “25 Days Of Christmas” currently being the medium through which people see Christmas movies, they have collided old and new classics, and some new will never be classics, into the days leading up to Christmas. This is only problematic when an oldie and a goodie like The Grinch is put next to a Jenny McCarthy movie called Santa Baby. This taints the greats and makes them seem like just another Christmas movie, which is a shame.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Newbie
Ron Howard created a new live-action version of Dr. Seuss’ classic to fit into more mainstream media that kids are used to seeing. Although the story remains mostly the same, some new background information about The Grinch are inserted for humor and humanity reasons. Also, they had to stretch a 26 minute movie into a 105 minute feature-length film, so added material was necessary. However, with the new movie sheen, comes a change in the dialogue. It is no longer a movie that follows the rhythmic dialogue patterns of Dr. Seuss’ original story, it is now spoken like a normal live-action film with bits of Dr. Seuss’ rhymes mixed in. Not the classic the original was, but still not a bad movie. If one had to be chosen to watch for Christmas, old vs. new, the new cannot hold a candle to the old.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Ahh, the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. Never before has something so pitiful turned into some thing so beautiful. Charles Schulz created many Peanuts gang films and memorabilia, but in 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas was one of the pinnacles. Peanuts movies created a special moment during so many holiday gatherings. A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown were staples during Thanksgiving and Halloween also. Both of those films basically illustrate the meanings of Thanksgiving and Halloween and how the Peanuts gang chooses to celebrate those holidays. But with the Christmastime movie, it not only illustrates the Christmas story, but it gives you the feeling of what Christmas should feel like.
Charlie Brown is the consummate underdog story. Poor Charlie was always picked on by the gang. They made him the director and then made fun of him the whole time. The Charlie Brown sad walk was even copied by George Michael Bluth in Arrested Development. This makes Charlie Brown having a great Christmas and having the group come together to make his holiday bright and his “mistakes” beautiful, is another thing that really drives home what the spirit of the holiday can do for each and ever person. A feel good movie if nothing else.
Elf: The Most Current Classic
When Jon Favreau called on friend Will Ferrell in 2003 to be in this unconventional Christmas comedy, they were not aware that it would turn into a new Christmas classic. Will Ferrell plays Buddy the Elf, a human living in the North Pole for about 30 years. He was in a foster care home and crawled into Santa’s bag of toys. Immediately upon setting eyes on Buddy, the elves and their chief Santa Claus, fell so in love with him that they took care of him. Buddy knew he was not a conventional elf, but upon hearing a foreman at the toy factory say that he’s a human, Buddy freaks out and goes on a long journey to find his father. Papa Elf, Bob Newhart, tells him where he can find his father and wishes him good luck.
Through pure tenacity and goodness of heart, Buddy is able to worm his way into his father’s heart, even though he is on the naughty list. Elf is a very funny take on what would happen if elves were to live anywhere but the North Pole. It makes the viewer wonder what it would be like if Santa did exist, which he of course does, and if belief is all that this world really needs. Something to believe in. Something to bind us all together and warm the hearts of even the naughtiest of the naughty list humans. This is one of Will Ferrell’s best movies as a character just trying to find a place where he fits in this world. All surrounded by Christmas and the holiday theme, it urges the audience to wait with baited breath until the love, joy, purity of spirit, and caring that Buddy has been trying to instill upon everyone will finally come to fruition.
It is a feature-length Christmas classic that is appropriate for everyone, and will be enjoyed by anyone who watches it. It opens up our minds to let our inner child run around for awhile with the child lock safety gates down.
The Muppet Christmas Carol
In Jim Henson’s line of work, it can sometimes be difficult for people over the age of 10 to sit down and watch his creations. Sesame Street is a great way to get kids to learn, but do the muppets and animals translate to the big screen? Absolutely in 1992 in The Muppet Christmas Carol. Audiences of young and old regularly put in this version of the Christmas Carol story over others. It tells the same story, but it is done in a fun way that doesn’t sink into the depressing, like some versions can. It isn’t narrated by voices that don’t fit the characters, instead it’s told by the same bunch of puppets we’ve all loved for so long.
In this film, the muppets piece together a story for us that has been told time and again, but it’s got a new flair. Much like the new version of the story, the computer animated Jim Carrey film currently out in theatres, it’s giving the audience another way to look at the story. With so many stories told and retold, it’s important that filmmakers continue to try and do just that: take an old story and make it new. However, sometimes you just can’t be a classic.