We all know that grumpy older man on the street who everyone is scared of. Well, Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch has always been the Seuss incarnation of that type of character for me. The only difference being the green fur covering his body. The Grinch has been a Christmas tale that has entertained several generations. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the story. It is fun, funny and surprsingly touching in parts. I mean, who has not had a little water in their eyes when the Grinch’s heart grows a couple of sizes?
The Grinch has previously been done a couple of times. One being the original animated version that plays on television every Christmas season and then the live action one starring Jim Carrey in the lead role. Obviously the original animated version was the better of the two, but now directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier have one more entry to add to the list. It is also an animated version with an updated look using modern animation technology. Honestly, this is one of the strengths of the film. The animation. It adds plenty to the story as it is all so realistic looking now.
Another thing other than the overall Dr. Seuss-ness of the story that is iconic about The Grinch is the music. Everyone knows “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. So much fun! Now, in this version, rapper Tyler the Creator has the task of putting his own stamp on the song. I would have to qualify it as a fail and that might be because I am so tied to the original, but honestly this one does not pack no way near the punch. The score by the renowned Danny Elfman does. It is whimsical and fun.
As for the voice work for the most part it is strong. Pharrell Williams as the narrator is surprisingly good. Benedict Cumberbatch, other than a few select times, has the right energy and amount of disdain for the Whos. The young actress who does Cindy-Lou is adorable in tone. Plus you get some smaller work done by Angela Lansbury and SNL’s Kenan Thompson.
Bottom line, is that this is a good addition to the Grinch roster. Anyone who is incredibly tied to the original will probably poo poo this version, but they are just being Christmas Scrooges or Grinches.
If you have lived under a rock, here is a small resume of the story. The Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) has his peace and quiet disrupted every Christmas by the boisterous celebrations of the Whos, who live in (of course) Whoville. Living alone with his dog as his only companion on the top of a mountain, every year he gets angrier and angrier as the date approaches. This year he decides to do something about it. That something he works out will be to “steal” Christmas.
On Christmas Eve he disguises himself as Jolly St. Nick and traps a reindeer into pulling his sleigh. Little does he know that at the same time he is doing this a young member of Whoville named Cindy-Lou (voiced by Cameron Seely) has her own plan in motion. She wants to help out her single mom Donna (voiced by Rashida Jones) by kidnapping Santa Claus. One plan is sweet while the other one is a little more on the evil side. How will it all turn out?