The Grinch, the newest animated feature by Illumination Entertainment, follows a green mischievous creature known as the “Grinch” (voice of Benedict Cumberbatch), who lives in the peaceful and festive village of Whoville, who has a strong hatred for the Christmas holiday. He finds practically every single thing about it repulsive. He then comes up with an evil scheme to cancel Christmas for all of the village residents by stealing gifts, decorations, and more.
Just like an earlier film this year titled Smallfoot, this film has some truly stunning animation, and the team behind it needs to be praised. There are so many gorgeous little details that were so remarkable to see. For example, we actually see the small individual hairs on the character of the Grinch, and we see all the tiny fibres on things such as trees and the crystals in snow. It must have taken the team a long time to animate this film.
The film does aim to be mainly a comedy first, and sometimes the humor does work fairly well. But, there are quite a few scenes where the humor is clearly aimed towards toddlers and it manages to muster up nothing more than a chuckle. 2000’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas starring Jim Carrey was miles funnier. It would have genuinely been nice to see this film have the style of humor that was in that film incorporated into this new animated version. This now classic story has always had some quite comedic elements to it in practically every interpretation of the story that we have gotten so far, yet this film is usually quite dull.
All of the voice cast does do a great job here, especially Cumberbatch who voices the titular character. He does add to the film and it is not surprising how great he is here, due to his previous voice work on films such as 2013’s The Desolation of Smaug. There really is no weak voice performance here.
The Grinch’s biggest weakness unfortunately is that it does not offer anything different from its source material whatsoever. This is, disappointingly, a rehash of the classic Grinch story in almost every way. As the film progresses, it is difficult to get invested in some scenes as it is easy to tell how the story will all unfold in the end. The directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier could have done something fresh and exciting but unfortunately went for the simple route.
The Grinch offers terrific animation and a great voice cast, but rehashes the same story and does not offer anything fresh and new to the table.
Overall Grade: C
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for brief rude humor
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely
Directed by: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Running Time: 86 minutes