DR SEUSS’ THE GRINCH – A Review by Cynthia Flores
I am so excited about this new film The Grinch. I grew up watching the original 1966 animated for television film based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved book of the same name. In the past, other people have tried and failed to redo the story. I'm talking about the 2000 live animation film How the Grinch Stole Christmas with Jim Carrey in the lead. So when I heard the same people that have brought us the Minion movies we're taking this on, I was more than a little afraid. I thought they would make it too cute and too trendy or put in talking toasters or some other crazy characters that the story doesn't need. You can imagine my surprise when they stayed close to the source material. They even incorporated some of the music from the original television version.
Don't get me wrong this has been updated, and there was a little bit of hip-hop swagger to some of the music in the very beginning, but it's not distracting. There have been a few characters added but only to flush out the reason why the Grinch is as horrible as he is and to beef up the part of Cindy Lou Who. None of it takes away from the main message that Dr. Seuss wrote in his book.
In this film, we see the Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) with a heart three sizes too small and tight shoes who lives with his tiny dog Max who adores him. They live all by themselves high above the town of Whoville. Christmas is the biggest holiday in Whoville. And this year the mayor (Angela Lansbury) has declared that it's going to be three times bigger than anything that has ever been done in the past. The Grinch finds this out because he ran out of food and had to venture into Whoville to go grocery shopping. Once the Grinch finds out that the holiday he hates the most is going to be three times bigger he loses it deciding that this is the year he's going to do something about it.
It's a lot of fun watching the Grinch come up with his plan to steal all the trappings of Christmas.
One thing that this film has done to the storyline is to add more backstory on the little girl named Cindy Lou Who. In the original, she's the one that catches the Grinch in her home stealing the Christmas tree, and that is it. But in this version, she has a mom named Donna Lou Who (Rashida Jones) and two little brothers that she helps her single mom care for. She wants to ask Santa to help make her mom happy for all the hard work that she does for the family. So she sets up a plan to talk to him face-to-face on Christmas Eve. She and her friends set up a trap, and she decides to stay up all night long waiting for Santa to ask him in person for her wish for her mother.
Spoiler Alert*** For anyone who lives under a rock and has never seen or read the story of The Grinch who stole Christmas you might want to stop reading here if you plan on seeing this movie. But for the rest of us, the Grinch with all his gadgets and the help of his little dog Max does manage to steal all the trappings of Christmas from the town. He grabs the toys, the food, the trees with tensile so that way when everybody in Whoville wakes up, they will not have Christmas because all the trappings of it will be gone. His last stop is at Cindy Lou Who's house. He falls into her trap and has to listen to her ask for her wish that Santa help her mom be happy. He’s puzzled by this request thinking all she would want is more toys and crap. She also explains that how she feels when the whole town sings the song to welcome in Christmas. He tells her he will work on it and sends her back to bed. Then, continues to rob her house.
Once the Grinch and his dog Max have everything cleared out of the town, they managed to get up to the very top of a mountain and plan to push the sleigh with all the goodies in it over the edge. It’s at that moment that the Grinch hears the song that all the townspeople sing every year welcoming in Christmas. The Grinch is confused because he thought without everything he had stolen that the town would be sad and quiet like him. Instead, he sees that the spirit of Christmas for this town and everyone is more than the gifts and trappings that come with it. We see the Grinch moved by the spirit of love and his tiny little heart that was three sizes too small grew three sizes bigger. He's filled with the Christmas spirit, saves the gifts and goes into town to give back all the things he had stolen from them. He ultimately is welcomed to the holiday meal he only watched others have when he was an orphaned child. End of Spoiler***
The Grinch is a great family film and comes to us early to remind us what the true meaning of the holidays should be. It’s a film for any age to enjoy and I think it’ll become an addition to our list of classic holiday films. I give this film a solid A+ rating.
Directed by Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Written By Michael LeSieur, Tommy Swerdlow (Screenplay) Dr. Seuss (Book)
Selig Rating A+
Running Time 1hr 30min
Animation / Family
Wide Release November 9th
Starring Voices of : Benedict Cumberbatch, Angela Lansbury, Cameron Seeley, Pharrell Williams, Rashida Jones, Tristan O’Hare, Scarlett Estevez, Kenan Thompson
The Selig Rating Scale:
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.