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Art of the Adaptation: The Grinch



Yes, it’s frustrating to have those bajillion reboots and re-imaginings out there. I’m pretty sick of them too in principle. Still, there’s a silver lining to every cloud, and one of the benefits of multiple adaptations (as far as I see it) is to watch writers put familiar characters under new lights. Sometimes if an adaptation is really good, it respects the original material and expands upon the character’s innate message. It might even highlight whole new aspects to their personality. Plus, it’s kinda fun to theorize how a story could’ve gone differently. Even if a reboot is just for ‘cash-grabs’, that doesn’t mean they can’t possess some class or (at minimum) something to offer. Adaptation is a newer storytelling art after all and one worth studying.

When it comes to plethoras of reboots, Christmas classics are probably most notorious. We’ve been redoing holiday characters long before Disney started their incessant reboot kick. Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol alone had been adapted to film at least two hundred times! Now, I would like to dive into Ebenezer Scrooge someday. However, since he’s already one of the most analyzed characters in fiction, I settled to start this new blog category with the second most notorious Christmas-hater: the Grinch. I’m specifically referring to three renditions: the Boris Karloff cartoon, the Jim Carrey live-action film, and the Benedict Cumberbatch animated flick. Now, this isn’t about arbitrarily determining a superior Grinch. Everyone has their favorite. My Art of the Adaptation blogs are about celebrating what they each uniquely bring to the table. A popular character tends to carry the same message, but how their message is presented affects which pieces of the message receives greater focus.