Movie #351 2020: The Grinch (2018)

Remakes. Who needs ’em? Actually, some are warranted, aren’t they? Specifically, I’m thinking of Ocean’s Eleven. But did we need another Grinch?

The Grinch is a well-known and pretty iconic tale of a Scrooge-like character who despises Christmas. We all know how it goes, right? Based on the 1957 children’s book by Dr. Seuss, it’s the story of how our anti-hero plots a vicious plan to steal Christmas from the town of Whoville by stealing all of their presents on Christmas Eve. Aided by his sidekick – a dog named Max – The Grinch believes himself to be successful… Until the villagers wake up on Christmas morning and celebrate anyway, despite having no gifts to enjoy.

Absolutely no one asked for another Grinch movie, and many see the original black & white featurette as the best of them all, but hold on for one hot second. This version is so fun to look at! Brilliant and vibrant animation that will keep attention-seeking children occupied for 90 minutes; most critics have forgotten that this probably wasn’t made for them, haven’t they? Maybe it’s not for adults, and maybe it truly is for children aged 0-8. So get off your high horse before trying to critique this as the next Lawrence of Arabia, is what I’m saying.

Having Tyler the Creator compile some of the soundtrack is a genius move. The opening song ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ is a work of art for the ears, and will draw you in immediately. In fact, the whole soundtrack is 10/10, and means there’s at least one element that’s different to the 2000 live action adaptation. 

While we’re on the subject, Jim Carrey really set unrealistic expectations for anyone watching. I mean, who can top that? Not only is it one of his most loved performances, but his elastic face and comedic voice means there are very few people who could bring anything more to this character than he did. Cumberbatch (as The Grinch), Kenan ThompsonAngela Lansbury et al do a decent job, but as someone who grew up watching the Carrey/Baranski masterpiece, they were never going to exceed that for me. And if you’re not familiar with either, if you watch them back-to-back then you’ll probably agree even without prior knowledge of the 2000 Carrey adaptation.

Look, there was nothing they could do with the story that would be anything new, so maybe they shouldn’t have bothered. It’s the exact same story as it always has been, but any change would really take the spirit of Christmas out of it, so remaining the same is kind of necessary. It does get a little “meh” the longer it goes on, but it’s not half as bad as all the pretentious Scrooges have made it out to be.

Fun animation, some truly funny jokes, and a killer soundtrack. Just a shame that it’s kind of average in every other aspect. Again though… IT’S FOR KIDS!

A most average movie in itself, but I’d still rather watch it again over Hubie Halloween.

The Grinch is available to stream on Netflix in the UK.

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