You’re a meh one, Mr. Grinch.
Synopsis: For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming and visually stunning, it’s a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism. (Universal Pictures)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, and Cameron Seely
Writers: Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow
Directors: Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier
Rating: G (Canada)/PG (United States)
Running Time: 86mins
While watching this new film, it is hard not to think about Jim Carrey’s live-action portrayal of The Grinch in 2000’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas let alone any other telling of the story based on the Dr. Seuss’ character. Now how is this new film any different? This version isn’t that different but is brought to life with brightly colored animation thanks to Illumination, the same studio behind the Despicable Me series and The Secret Life of Pets just to name a few. This was both a blessing and a curse as it should entertain children and those unfamiliar with the story, however, any one with any knowledge of the character and/or the story will surely find themselves bored seeing that this film brings nothing new whatsoever to the table.
Suffice it to say that anyone familiar with the story or the character knows how this one goes but for the few who don’t, this film was about a curmudgeon known as The Grinch (Cumberbatch). The Grinch hated Christmas and everything involved with it for whatever reason. He lived with his dog Max in a cave just outside of Whoville, a town inhabited by smaller creatures known as whos. The Grinch did not particularly care for the whos. With Christmas fast approaching, The Grinch hatched his latest plan to steal Christmas from Whoville. Meanwhile, Cindy-Lou Who (Seely) was hatching a plan of her own to catch Santa Claus in order to ask him to help her mother Donna (Jones).
Expect their stories to somehow come together with plenty of hijinks and lowbrow humor along the way. While it should be enough to entertain most children, its staleness should induce eyerolls from older viewers. Either way, this film was never meant for older audiences anyway. Being a kids film and also one based on a familiar story, of course the end was predictable and shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, the predictability took away most of the fun. And after so many incarnations, perhaps the moral of the story wasn’t as impactful anymore. Also, the film’s overuse of a narrator (Pharrell Williams) to tell the story created too much of a disconnect to become invested in the story.
The story may not have been the most original, however, the animation and the vocal performances at least kept thing interesting. The animation was average at best. Though bright and colorful, the film world was generic as the story. The voice work was good despite the mediocre material with Cumberbatch being the standout. It was just as shame that the film didn’t give him more to do since The Grinch was simply going through the paces.
Overall, this was a mediocre animated kids film that may be bright and colorful but has nothing new to offer whatsoever. After so many incarnations, everybody knows the character and the story so it just doesn’t quite have the same impact this time around. Although it still has enough to surely entertain most children, most older viewers will find themselves bored and rolling their eyes at all the stale material. At least it’s done before you know it.