Oh Grinch! Dr Seuss’s Latest Classic Remake may just sparkle with a little Christmas magic

The protagonist slides down the chimney to swipe your tree, presents and hearts this Christmas. Nurul Farahin gives her take on the movie.

A Friendlier Version: The creators of The Grinch (2018) aimed to pull some heartstrings by showing viewers that the green creature can be loved despite its wickedness– and it might just work. (PHOTO: Illumination Entertainment)

As I grow older, I realise how easily annoyed I am by a lot of things that some people think is ‘fun’. Perhaps that is why The Grinch is so popular and relatable.

As the third film to tackle Dr. Seuss’ classic holiday publication, The Grinch (2018) is the first to use 3D computer-generated animation, compared to the hand-drawn visuals of the 1966 TV movie and the live action of Ron Howard’s 2000 film, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Previously portrayed on screen by Jim Carrey and Boris Karloff, the latest version of the eponymous green ghoul is voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch – who is more renowned for his role as Marvel’s Dr. Strange. Viewers might appreciate Cumberbatch’s menacingly gruff sniggers and snooty tone which suit the character down to the ground.

Not-So-Pleasant Breath of Fresh Air

The lead character in The Grinch is similar to the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a cold-hearted man whose hardened grumpiness could be melted by holiday magic. It turns out that the antipathy was all in their heads — and not their hearts.

The Grinch is going to great lengths to pull off his Christmas heist and he is scheming big. But in shifting part of the movie’s focus to Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) and her mission to get Santa to give her overworked single mother a break from her nursing job, the film loses sight of its main character’s transformative arc.

Older fans of the curmudgeonly festive party pooper would agree that the new character was underwhelming. The 2018 Grinch’s mean-streak is significantly less-so here than in previous incarnations, which is disappointing given that is where the most fun can be. So, even though the new Grinch did capture the meaning of Christmas, it did not understand the true essence of The Grinch.

Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier obviously intended to create a child-friendly motion picture. While they did make it, they have also created a safe and sweet film that seems more concerned with pushing its message about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism.

Stunning Visuals

Although its plot is disappointingly uninventive, The Grinch does show-off some great visual gags. This should not be a surprise as the animated adaptation movie is from the same studio that produced Despicable Me and Minions.

Watch out for clever little Easter eggs that go beyond just slapstick comedy. One iconic moment in the movie has the titular character spraying his armpits and freshening his breath with a canister of “Mold Spice”.

The Grinch may not be the best version ever told. But the new version has enough warmth and charm to be exactly what many families will be looking for during the holiday season. Your younger siblings will appreciate this colourful tale of the grumpy soul.

Overall rating: 3.5/5