Christmas is typically everyone's favourite time of year - but for Dr Seuss' Grinch it's an annual nightmare. We're all familiar with the not so jolly, holly furry green grouch who remains an essential Christmas tradition for many of us, and from the Minion company Illumination Entertainment we have a new Grinch voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Just as before, The Grinch despises everything associated with Christmas, and plots to ruin it for the all of the residents of nearby Whoville.
This rendition of The Grinch is given a vibrant, candy cane glisten but it makes a bit of a hash of Dr Seuss' remarkable and enduring tale. Although Ron Howard's How the Grinch Stole Christmas is at times uncomfortably bizarre, it's a quintessential Christmas film with bags of character, commenting on the commercialism of the holiday, which has only increased and lengthened in recent years. In this retelling of The Grinch Illumination neglect these key messages, echoing the shenanigans played out in Howard's version. As a result it's enjoyable but it couldn't feel anymore undistinguished.
We're not challenged to care about the Grinch's motivations to ruin Christmas since his backstory is dumbed down, told through only a few seconds worth of flashbacks. Cumberbatch in an excellently voiced Grinch but in being toned down he loses the grumpy character's violent mean-streak, whilst we are told his heart is two sizes too small we don't really see it in his manner. He struggles to manipulate the Whos of Whoville in the way Jim Carry did so meticulously - quite simply this story lacks any new ideas.
All that being said The Grinch has clearly laid off the mouldy mince pies since he and his world have never looked better. Even when Illumination don't always hit the mark with their stories (think The Secret Life of Pets and The Lorax) their animation is always top notch. Whereas How the Grinch Stole Christmas is grainy and fuzzy in quality, The Grinch is bright and bold very much in the spirit of Dr Seuss - in this aspect it really does improve on its predecessor.
He's not such a mean one, this Mr Grinch. Whilst Cumberbatch is great as this seasonal sceptic he doesn't bring the expected negative energy, although he is pretty miserable. As per usual this Illumination flick looks so splendid you can't not get into the Christmas spirit, but The Grinch literally adds nothing to the traditional story and consequently will be forgotten as quickly as last year's stuffing.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.