Most aspects of the book are the same as the film, although there are some differences. The main one involves the town. Skidmore (Darby in the film) is a much poorer community than what is portrayed here. I do wonder how it was in the early 80's when this happened, but I doubt it was much different. I drove through after reading the book and seeing the movie to see the place where this happened, and if you blink you miss it.
The only thing I don't like is the newscaster at the end speaking out against vigilante justice. When you read this book and see what these people really went through, you can't help but feel sorry for them. And, just as an update, nobody still has been charged or prosecuted for this crime, and the small town of Skidmore still holds the secret to this day, although most authorities (and the entire town) know what actually happened.
Why Hollywood decided the real story of Jesse James wasn't interesting enough and had to add details is beyond me. Heck, the 1939 classic "Jesse James" dances circles around this film and it was made over 60 years ago.
I could comment on the horrific historical inaccuracies, but I see others have already covered that ground. What disturbs me is that so many people are willing to blow these off and say, "Well, it's a movie, it's supposed to entertain me, so therefore it's okay." Well, no people. If a movie is going to be based on historical events it has a responsibility to portray those events accurately. Sure, some things in movies I can live with, such as changing hitting positions of Shoeless Joe in "Field of Dreams," but to portray Jesse James and his gang as a bunch of fun-loving heroes doing the country a justice is wrong. Yes, some people looked up to the gang since they stood up to the big bad railroad, but this was not a sentiment shared by the majority. In truth, James and his gang were thieves and killers. When a movie blatantly ignores history like this, the problem that arises is that people actually believe this is what happened and don't seek out the
Most of the blame falls on Carrey, who turned Suess' grumpy Grinch into a goofy Bigfoot. Seriously, any fan of the children's book and classic Christmas special knows that the Grinch was not a goofy maniac who said some zippy one liners and played practical jokes. I've read other posts that say no one else could have played the Grinch. Two words: Jack Nicholson.
The second problem comes to the Whos. In Suess' work, they are an elitist culture who already knows what Christmas is all about. In this movie, they are stupid and materialisic, and it's up to the corny Cindy Lou to teach them all (even though she never does, all she does is ask questions). The best part of the book and Christmas special comes at the end when all the Whos come together to sing and welcome Christmas, with no thought whatsoever about the missing presents. In this film, we get that after they all whine and complain about not getting their presents.
This film was easily the biggest disappointment of the year. It's a shame it's going on to make so much money. It really doesn't deserve it.
This is what I've told for recommendations: if you want to go and see Jim Carrey goof off for 90 minutes, go see it. But if you want to go and see Dr. Suess's story, do not. That's the truth.
The trailer would have you believe that the movie is about a guy attempting to take over someone's life but gets caught and everyone lives happily ever after. This is not the case. The movie is unpredictable and ends in a way you couldn't imagine. Therefore, if you need to follow the typical Hollywood format for a suspense thriller, then this movie is not for you. It is for the ones who are able to think for themselves and do not need the plot spelled out for them.
One of the best of the year. I highly recommend it, but if you don't enjoy thinking during a movie, then this one probably isn't for you.