The Grinch

The original, made-for-TV How The Grinch Stole Christmas! will always be the version that’s near and dear to my heart. It’s as old as my mother, and like her, it’s a classic. That’s the one I’ll always need to rewatch. But I can see how 2018’s The Grinch will be a favourite for kids in the years to come.

It’s a safe retelling, sticking fairly closely to the original story, with a few embellishments here and there to puff it out to 86 minutes. The Grinch is a mean, green dude who lives in a cave with no one for company but his faithful dog, Max – and that’s the way he likes it. In the town down below, however, the Whos of Whoville are a happy, joyful people, who eagerly and lavishly celebrate the holiday The Grinch most despises: Christmas.

Whoville is an orgy of colour and action. Imaginative details abound – from the mouse skating by on candy cane skates, to the machine that cleverly collects snow MV5BNjJhYmE0NGYtOThhMC00ZGIwLWExNDUtZmU3NWI3NmNlNmViXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjgxNTQwNw@@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,740_AL_and poops out snowballs for the trail of excited children behind it. The animators have outdone themselves drenching everything in lights and tinsel and Christmas cheer. The Grinch himself looks better than ever, his green fluffiness rendered hair by hair. And Max, half companion, half servant, all wonder dog, has fantastic and recognizable doggy traits.

A couple of noticeable differences: The Grinch doesn’t seem to be entirely bad, even while still misunderstood. He can be quite sweet to his pal Max, and he’s compassionate with new addition Fred, a rubinesque reindeer, dopey with good intentions. And The Grinch’s “nemesis” Cindy Lou Who is now the adventurous daughter of a hardworking single mother, a detail that helps move this timeless story into this century. I didn’t mind any of the new stuff, but I did miss just a few details from the original film, which I know and love so well.

A lot of the voicework was fantastic: Angela Lansbury, Pharrell Williams, Rashida Jones, and especially Kenan Thompson. Nothing against Benedict Cumberbatch but I found him terribly mis(voice)cast as The Grinch. And I found it baffling that they hired him only to make him do an American accent – he might have sounded better in his own voice. Ah well.

All in all, kids will love this movie. I know this for sure because my theatre was filled to the brim with some sort of organization’s boatload of kids. Their joy and mirth brought an extra layer of fun to the screening – not to mention squeals like “He’s naked!” followed by every single kid dissolving into giggles, the sound of which is sure to grow anyone’s heart by two to three sizes at least.

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11 thoughts on “The Grinch

  1. Birgit

    OK…I am, gulp, older than your mom? I am the same age as Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. I still think like I am in my early 30’s. OK…moving on…I want to see this new adaptation even though Boris Karloff is the best. I am not one for Benedict’s voice in this just from the trailers. I like him a lot as an actor but something is missing. I agree that he should have kept his accent. It looks good and I love what I saw of the fat reindeer. He might steal the picture.

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  2. Christopher

    I’m glad they mostly stuck to the original story, unlike the live action version with Jim Carrey, or, for that matter, the remake of The Lorax which was an abomination. And I like that the Grinch is a little nicer.
    Still that raises the question of why they felt the need to remake it at all, especially if it lacks Thurl Ravenscroft’s singing “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, which was a jewel in the original’s crown.

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  3. Jason

    I actually liked this movie. While I still prefer the original 1966 cartoon TV movie, but this new iteration was still charming and sweet. Definitely an instant classic for the new generation. Plus, it was pretty short and wasn’t bloated with unnecessary side-stories.

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  4. The Telltale Mind

    I love the original Grinch too, did not care for the Jim Carrey version and had no interest in this when I heard about it, but after seeing the trailers and everything, it doesn’t look too bad. The review gives me hope and I suppose I’ll see it at some point, so cheers for that!

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