- Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier (Mosier’s Directorial Debut)
- October 22, 2018 (Regency Village Theater) / November 9, 2018 (US)
- The Grinch-Benedict Cumberbatch
- Cindy Lou Who-Cameron Seely
- Donna Who-Rashida Jones
- Bricklebaum-Kenan Thompson
- Mayor McGerkle-Angela Lansbury
- The Narrator-Pharrell Williams
- Groopert-Tristan O’Hare
- Ozzy-Sam Lavagnino
- Axl-Ramone Hamilton
- Izzy-Scarlett Estevez
The Grinch plots to keep Christmas from coming to the Whos in Whoville.
This is yet another adaption, this time in animated form, of the classic Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. And yet again in order to expand the story into a theatrical release they padded it out causing much of the point of the original narrative to become muddled or simply lost amongst the excess.
Here they add in such characters as Cindy Lou’s friends Groopert, Ozzy, Axl, and Izzy who plot with Cindy Lou to capture Santa Claus to help Cindy’s overworked mom. She also gets two infant twin brothers named Buster and Bean. In the original story as well as the original special she was only two years old but here she is probably late elementary school. And in a roundabout way The Grinch is responsible for her plan.
Donna Who, Cindy Lou’s mom, is a hard-working single mom. Cindy’s dad is not in the picture nor was he a part of the story originally. I guess there are deadbeat dads even in Whoville. I know there are plenty of single parents out there but I’m not sure this bit of modernity works in a story involving the true meaning of Christmas.
Then again they add a lot here as I said before to justify turning this into a film. There is a fat reindeer named Fred that gets added in because a fat reindeer is funny? I guess. There is an annoying neighbor named Bricklebaum that somehow knows the Grinch despite his significantly antisocial nature.
In a flashback scene after a bungled attempt to ruin the Whoville tree lighting they explain why The Grinch is the way he is and his attitude comes off as somewhat justified. Huh? What is this need with humanizing or explaining away The Grinches bad disposition? We do not need to know why he is a dick. He is just a dick. Villains do not need to have a justification.
The Grinch is bright and colorful. It is CGI so that may change but right now it is really pretty to look at. This will certainly a child’s attention.
But while the animation is good, the voice work is just meh. DingoSpanks Cinnabon stars as The Grinch and you would think this guy that has been in Doctor Strange and has been getting a lot of praise for other things could bring something special but not really. Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, and just the totality of the cast felt like they were going through the motions. Truthfully the quality of the work felt like it belonged on something direct to video and not something that you had a plunk money down for a movie theater experience.
Pharrell Williams’s narration lacked the magic of Boris Karloff. Karloff’s voice and presentation pulled you in. Williams comes off as an acquaintance about to bore you. Maybe they should have had BindleSpink CinnamonToastCrunch do the narration in his natural speaking voice. Or perhaps had an actor with a deep and resonating voice do it. Anything would have been better than Pharrell Williams. His work was of forgettable television quality.
With all the padding the story loses much of the message of the original. The Who by their example in the original show the Grinch what Christmas really is all about. Here I’m not really sure what the trigger is. It could be argued that it was Cindy Lou Who or it is that the Grinch does not break them.
In the end this narrative about a curmudgeonly and generally cranky character that realized the true meaning of Christmas lacks a message about the true meaning of Christmas. It is all flash but no bang.
The Grinch is a good looking movie that fails to come close to its source material. Kids may like this, but the nostalgic adult definitely will not. I say skip it.