Today is January 8th, which means we’re already over a week into the new year. But, as we all know, January is the longest month of the year and those 8 days have felt like twice that. Christmas is a but a distant memory: a brighter time without work or responsibilities. So, obviously, the thing everyone wants is to read my review of a Christmas film. Yes, I should have posted this sooner but I was already behind with Into the Spider-Verse. Let’s not worry about it too much. The twelves days of Christmas may be over but who really worries about that kind of thing anyway? Bad luck? I can’t get a job I want, my health is all over the place, I’m currently single: I think I’m pretty good on bad luck right now. How much worse can it really get? So, I’m just going to do this. Regardless of how appropriate it is. After all, I only watched this for this bloody blog… and, to a lesser extent, Cumberbatch. At this point, the obsession is so strong I’d watch him in any old shit.
The book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! has been adapted a number of times since Dr Seuss wrote it in 1957. The first was the 1966 animation narrated by Boris Karloff, a classic of many people’s childhood. This was followed by the outrageous 2000 live-action film starring Jim Carrey as the titular Grinch. It’s creepy and messy and best forgotten. Especially now there’s a new one to replace it. Created by Illumination, the studio who catapulted those bloody minions into all of lives, it stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the grumpy green man with a vendetta against Christmas. And, on the plus side, the Whos don’t look like creepy rubber mutants and the dog is really cute. Whether it lives up to the original adaptation or not, it’s got to be better than Carrey, right?
Let’s be honest, we can all kind of sympathise with the Grinch to some extent? Christmas starts in Summer these days so, by the time December actually arrives, it feels like we’ve been waiting for ages. It’s hard not to get a little annoyed by the decorations, repeated songs, tons of people, and everything else that comes with the holiday. Yes, deep down, we all actually love it but it’s easy to see where he’s coming from. More so than ever in this latest adaptation it turns out. The Grinch of 2018 is far less of a creepy menace and just seems a bit misunderstood. He is the fluffy teddy bear that just needs a hug instead of an angry green monster wanting to ruin the fun. Gone is the familiar grimace to be replaced by a general “over it” attitude.
But, don’t worry, the plan remains the same. After finally reaching his limit with the town of Whoville’s excessive Christmas celebrations, the Grinch decides to take it from them whilst dressed as Santa. It’s just been a bit watered down. The part of this story that has the most potential for fun is the deep-seated hatred of the Grinch himself. Whatever the 2000 film did wrong it certainly pushed the limits of jut how mean the Grinch really is and Carrey has some great moments having fun with it. Cumberbatch’s Grinch just feels a bit whiny and irritating in comparison. Instead, The Grinch ends up being an overly sweet affair with an over-the-top focus on the message at its heart: namely that Christmas is a time for family and friends not presents.
This film is perfect for young children. There are some goofy sequences that are full of imagination. Watching the Grinch use his various gadgets to break into the houses of Whoville is an entertaining stand-out. The animation is wonderful and will delight anyone who enjoys super cute characters being super cute. This is a very safe film. It’s the saccharine update of a classic that nobody wanted but will be a good first look into this story for a young audience. It just doesn’t add anything to the story. It lacks any real ambition or purpose. I didn’t hate it but I can’t say I’ll be watching it every year.