Movie Review: The Grinch is a Mean, Green, Adorable Machine

Movie Review: The Grinch is a Mean, Green, Adorable Machine
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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With the holiday season unofficially starting, the annual sludge of holiday movies is also upon us. Thankfully, Universal’s The Grinch has something charming to offer. For the first time as a feature-length movie, the Grinch is great.

This Grinch is cuddlier as a central character as the film itself is warmer than earlier versions. It’s relentlessly cute and well-natured. In a morose Hollywood and resentful modern world, we could use more movies like this one. The intention alone is admirable. The faithfulness to Dr. Seuss’ style and gentle creativity is even more so.

Part of the intrigue is having master actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the title part. His decorum and structure are certainly strong, but the movie isn’t dependant on him. Instead, he adds to the whole product the way a sharp actor should.

For those depraved as children, the classic story (followed here) tells the story of a sordid green lump known as the Grinch. His cave home looks over the town of Who-ville preparing to celebrate Christmas. Filled with jealousy from his own loneliness, the Grinch decides to get even and steal the holiday for good.

The simplicity of the plot and its integrity to the source book is a great strength. But like 2015’s Cinderella, the story is just barely expanded to give added dramatic interest and truth instead of merely extending the run time.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Unlike the 2000 version starring Jim Carrey, there’s little added to the story besides that of the famous children’s book. The major addition is a brief quest for Cameron Seely’s Cindy Lou Who, the young girl determined to meet Santa. Her hijinks are sincerely cute and whimsical – a rare thing in film nowadays.

As lead characters, both Cumberbatch and Seely as the Grinch and Cindy are winners. They have great comedic timing and chemistry together, which is a weird asset in animated movies. The entire voice cast has a modesty that sounds better than your average family flick.

Illumination Entertainment is known for two qualities in their movies. The first is crisp, animation in fantastic worlds – and The Grinch succeeds here spectacularly. The second is its hokey, juvenile humour. But while many of the jokes are simple or cartoonish, the humour is also subtle and classy. It’s a welcome change from their 2012 effort The Lorax.

It’s worth mentioning that, despite its likability, not everyone will enjoy this slick remake. I went with a few others age 18-25 and their opinions ranged from okay to unfunny and predictable. It’s true this film was clearly made for those under 12.

Those children, however, are going to have a blast. Better still, the movie is unquestionably wholesome and truly well-suited for all ages. Any adults willing to put their thick cynicism aside will enjoy the quaintness of this classic holiday story.

It’s too easy to say only a Grinch wouldn’t like this passable, unremarkable delight. It’s true that your spirit may be stifled if you aren’t swept away by The Grinch’s growing heart.

The Grinch
3 out of 4 stars

G, 1hr 26mins. Family Animation.
Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury and Pharrell Williams.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.


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