Directed by: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney
Based on the Book: ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ by Dr. Seuss 1957
Screenplay by: Michael LeSieur, Tommy Swerdlow
Produced by: Chris Meledandri, p.g.a, Janet Healy, p.g.a
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely with Angela Lansbury and Pharrell Williams.
Based on the Dr. Seuss book (1957) ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’, The Grinch modernises the tale of a self-isolating grump (Grinch’s voice-over by Benedict Cumberbatch) who hates Christmas because he can’t stand all the bright light and exuberant joy – three times as much joy called for this year by the major of Whoville.
All Grinchie (so named by the super-friendly neighbour Bricklebaum (Kenan Thompson)) feels when he sees all that joy is pain.
Having to go to the grocery store to re-stock the cupboards after emotional over-eating… during Christmas week… and being chased by over-enthusiastic carollers… does not help matters.
So when Grinch sees the size of the giant Christmas tree, where all the Who Folk of Whoville will sing carols – it’s too much.
Christmas has to be cancelled.
And the way to stop Christmas is to dress up like Santa, abduct a tubby reindeer – Fred who looks like he ‘ate the other seven reindeers’ – steal a sleigh from a roof-top and burglarise everyone’s house taking all the presents.
That’ll make him feel better. He thinks, until he meets little Cindy-Lou (Cameron Seely) who only wants to help out her overworked mum. She doesn’t want presents, she only wants to feel the joy.
It’s all very sweet. And the nature of The Grinch – the cantankerous meanness of the green, pot-bellied critter – is even funnier when alongside the over-joyous Whos; while Max the dog (ever-faithful) and Fred (the orange-haired reindeer) are all the more adorable alongside the grumpy Grinch.
Everyone loves to see a Grinch turn good. It warms the heart.
And the attention to detail, the artwork of scenes like the light maze and the inventions of Grinch including the extenda-legs; Max turning in his dog matt just that one more time like real dogs do; The Grinch trucking around in sandals over socks, and the stubby little legs of Cindy-Lou as she prepares to leave for the north pole to find Santa in four winter jackets really keeps up the cuteness and fun of the film.
It took me a while to get into the Christmas world and spirit, eventually getting absorbed by moments like the screaming goat; Benedict Cumberbatch’s dead-pan delivery as The Grinch noting the goat as nothing but ‘strange’, capturing that sense of humour that I find ticklish.
The Grinch is a classic made with a wave of magic from the Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri who also adapted Horton Hears a Who! (2008) and The Lorax (2012), the success here in those added details so the kids will be entertained by the fun of the story, the light-twinkling Whoville, the not-so-quiet antics of Fred (my nephew found him hilarious!), while the adults will appreciate the extra effort of getting the wonder of the story as realistic as if it was a film about people: that crotchety old grandpa, or grumpy aunty that just needs an extra hug at Christmas time.
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