Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018) Movie Review
Finally, a new, quality Christmas movie for children! That might sound like a ludicrous statement, but think about it. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER, A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS, FROSTY THE SNOWMAN, and the original HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS all came out in the 1960’s! Not to mention, they’re all made for TV and roughly a half hour long. Don’t get me wrong, I love them in a vintage, nostalgic sort of way, but they are all quite dated. And it’s not because they’ve aged visually, but because of the way they present socially acceptable meanness and stereo typical gender roles (okay, RUDOLPH is the main culprit here). DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH finally fills a Christmas movie void that has been missing for quite sometime.
Before I receive some hate for not mentioning other PG Christmas movies like HOME ALONE, SANTA CLAUSE, ELF, POLAR EXPRESS, A CHRISTMAS STORY, or even the disappointing Jim Carrey starring HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, I don’t count those as children movies. Yes, they are probably acceptable for kids when they reach a certain age, but these all have have some adult themes that aren’t quite geared for my 4-year-old. With a great message of acceptance, kindness, and love being more important than materialism, THE GRINCH is a perfect holiday film that can be shown to a child of any age, year after year.
If you are unfamiliar with the Dr. Seuss classic, shame on you. THE GRINCH follows Mr. Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) and his sweet, loyal dog, Max, who live alone way up in the cave of Mount Crumpet overlooking Whoville. The village of Whoville is full of happy, positive people who love Christmas, which annoys Mr. Grinch to no end. Cuddly as a cactus, Mr. Grinch decides to steal Christmas.
Based on the classic Dr. Seuss book, Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow crafted a genuinely adorable screenplay that expands the short story to an easy 86-minute runtime. Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier implement some fun elements from the original cartoon but creatively construct some fun new ways for Mr. Grinch to be sneaky and thievery while being rotten and miserable in the most lovable, kid-friendly manner possible. I really enjoy some of the additions to the story, including a meatier and more meaningful role for Cindy Lou Who, who wants to catch Santa in order to explain what she wants for Christmas more clearly, a jolly neighbor who thinks Grinch is his best friend, and the fun dynamic between Grinch, Max and a new helping reindeer.
This is the ninth film by Illumination and Universal and in my opinion their best. I really liked DESPICABLE ME, but none of their films (MINIONS, SING) have had the wholesomeness or intelligence as Disney or Pixar. Perhaps that’s an unfair measure, but I was surprised at how much I liked THE GRINCH for my daughter, who loved it by the way. However, THE GRINCH is not meant for adults, it is meant for kids. As an adult, I would not take a date, like you can do with something like THE INCREDIBLES.
While this was made with the kids in mind, there is plenty for the parents to still enjoy. Visually, the film is a feast of color and wonder that pops from the screen taking in all the quirky creativity in Whoville. It’s also funny. A group of overly-passionate carolers singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” tracking Grinch with their holiday cheer is particularly amusing and quite endearing. THE GRINCH also boasts a lively, modern soundtrack with a new rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.”
THE GRINCH is not a masterpiece by any means, but it definitely fills the void of a modern classic Christmas movie to add to the children’s seasonal rotation. Entertaining with a positive message – You’re a sweet one, Mr. Grinch.