As the nights draw in and the year comes to a close, we start to approach my favourite seasonal celebration – Christmas. Excessive amounts of food, overpowering cinnamon-scented everything, and two glorious days off work to spend sleeping (and eating), Christmas is, in my humble opinion, the best. But not everybody agrees, including Dr Seuss’ classic character, The Grinch. Illumination, the studio behind the megabucks-making Minions, has taken a shot at reanimating The Grinch, a brave move considering the popularity of Jim Carrey‘s imagining back in 2000. Does it pay off? Or will it leave you feeling like a big, green grouch this festive season?
He’s a mean one, is Mr Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). Spending his days holed up on Mount Crumpit, just north of Whoville, he’s quite content alone and grumpy, with only his little dog Max to keep him company. He avoids journeying into Whoville at the best of times, but if there’s one month in the calendar he really hates, it’s December, specifically the five days leading up to the big day, when Whos go a little Christmas-crazy.
The Grinch has had enough; there’s just too much Christmas cheer this year. What would show the Whos who’s really in charge? He’ll just have to pretend to be Santa, and instead of giving gifts he’ll steal away their spirit, once and for all…
Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) is one such Christmas-crazy Who, living with her hardworking single mother Donna Lou (Rashida Jones) and baby brothers. All Cindy Lou wants for Christmas is for someone to give her mum a break, but with only a few days until Santa’s descent, how can she let him know that that’s what she’s wishing for? She’ll just have to trap him in her living room when he shuffles down the chimney on Christmas Eve…
Following in the tidal wave success of Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets and Sing, The Grinch has a lot to live up to. With a story known worldwide, and one that’s been trudged out for previous Christmas releases, there’s not a lot directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier can do with it. Relying heavily on physical humour and gags aplenty, the Grinch and Max get the most laughs, counteracting the sickly sweet Cindy Lou and Donna story-line, so sugary it’s like sucking on a candy-cane for 90 minutes. Yes, it may make the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes bigger, but by judging the weak laughter of the audience, I think they’d enjoy more screen-time for the Grinch’s mishaps.
While it may bring Christmas cheer to some, Cheney and Mosier’s attempt at animating The Grinch isn’t half as funny as it could be. It’s definitely no Carrey, that’s for sure, who can remain safely on his furry, green throne.
The Grinch arrives in UK cinemas from 9 November.