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Posted May 30, 2001
If you are preparing for your appearance on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, this is the book to fill your mind with production trivia about the movie. The main appeal of this book comes from a description of how the artistic decisions were made about make-up, sets, costumes, and props. The photographs are often reproduced out of focus, in sizes so small you cannot see the details, or with too much ink to accurately portray the original. The potential is mostly missed in the book to get lots of insights into the outstanding work of Jim Carrey and Ron Howard in making the movie. The book focuses successfully on Jim Carrey's makeup, as developed by Rick Baker. As you will read many times in the book, it took three hours to apply and a half hour to remove daily. Each of the 80 wearings required a different mask be prepared. Jim Carrey presuaded director Ron Howard to wear the makeup himself one day, sans the yellow contact lenses over the whole eye. Mr. Howard reported being 'highly uncomfortable' by the end of the day. The artistic issue on the makeup was how to make Carrey look like the Grinch, yet allow him the facial and body mobility required to act like Jim Carrey. Reviews of the movie differ on how well this was accomplished with regard to Carrey's facial expressions. You can decide for yourself from the movie and the book how well this was accomplished. With so many actors needing so much makeup (many of whom were children), there was also the challenge of how to get it all on in time for some daily shooting. Also, what does a Who look like? The decision was made to make Whos more human than in the story in order better to attract the sympathies of the audience. The sets designed by Michael Corenblith were a compromise as well. It was felt that matching the drawings in Dr. Seuss's work would make the movie look like a cheap local theatrical production. So the designs come from a number of Seuss books to make a little World's Fair, emphasizing Gaudi-like designs. Designs were drawn from many standard sources including Gaudi's Barcelona work, Carlsbad Caverns, and even the winding stairway in New York's Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright. Props were built (as were the sets) with the rule that there would be no straight lines (not even for a pencil). In many cases, old items from the 30s and 40s bought at flea markets provided components. No materials from after 1957 were used. Costume designer Rita Ryack produced 400 outfits (including 200 hats) in less than 9 months. How's that for keeping busy? Cirque de Soleil stunt people were used for the unusual acrobatic sequences. Special effects were explained mostly by showing how blue screens were used. Everyone who worked on the project seems to have been in awe of Dr. Seuss's work, and dedicated to creating something special. In doing so, they clearly developed and expanded the story and everything else well beyond the original. Purists will say they went too far. Those who don't know the original will probably like it well enough. Those who know film making will learn relatively little from the book. The trivia buffs wiWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 12, 2000
This is a truley amazing book. Just the thought of bringing a Dr. Seuss book to life is remarkable in itself. To actually make a live action film is astounding. Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Jim Carrey make an outstanding team. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed How The Grinch Stole Christmas. If you haven't seen the movie I highly recomend that also.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.