The Grinch has returned to spread Christmas blahs, but is it real good, or a pain in the ar- erm, bottom?
It’s the third time that the mean one’s been up on our screen,
after Jim Carrey as well as Chuck Jones’ tale so green.
This one is from Minions folk Illumination,
who wish to bring Dr Seuss to a new generation.
They’ve already done it once with The Lorax, we know,
So we’re here to see if this one retains the same glow.
The great news? It does! It does! It’s loyal to Seuss.
With his wonderful tale put to great modern use.
They’ve taken the basics, of great Christmas hating,
From a Mount Crumpit loner who’s hate he likes stating.
But they’ve added lots more in-between the main story,
Like mean Grinchy things from that meanie so hoary.
His dog is here too, the ever so faithful mutt Max.
Who’s patience is virtuous with all his good acts.
Did we just say “Who”? Well that’s really quite handy,
For under Mount Crumpit live the Whos oh so dandy.
They’re people for whom Christmas is the absolute best,
They love it! They love it! They SO love that fest!
But the mean old green Grinch, well you now know the score,
To him all that tinsel and joy’s just a bore.
So he aims to steal it, the whole kit and caboodle,
To ruin the Whos’ joy – now that’s using his noodle!
Then one sweet little girl, one Cindy-Lou Who,
Sees through that Grinch grinchiness to a heart kind of true.
OK, so it may be too small by a factor of two,
But with some niceness could it now be said that it grew?
Well, it can of course! Of course! Of course! Of course!
Because ultimately The Grinch remains true to its source.
Illumination really have their own style and way with animated features that is witty, sharp and skilfully skates that line of keeping kids and adults entertained. All of these ingredients are present here, and while it isn’t a masterpiece, it does good by a tale treasured by several generations. While setting modern plot point plates spinning, it retains the main message of the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas book – that maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more than presents and post-stuffing naps.
If any criticism could be levelled at this take on Dr Seuss’ tale, it’s that the rough edges of the titular character have really been filed off. Rather than living up to the name that spawned the adjective “grinchy”, he’s pretty much like a more hairy and verdant take on Gru when he gets up to his pranks in the Despicable Me flicks. The abject wickedness and pure selfishness of the original character makes way for a somewhat more heartfelt rendering. Hey, 21st century and all that, we guess.
Speaking of which, there’s the obligatory modern soundtrack – and it actually works a treat, as the likes of Pentatonix and the punctuation-defying Tyler, the Creator bump up against Chrissie classics from the likes of the Jackson 5, The Supremes, the Spinners and Run-DMC.
Ultimately, despite the odd misgiving, The Grinch is sure to bring cheer during many an annual seasonal screening in future. Possibly right after tucking into rare Who roast beast.
In cinemas: November 29, 2018
Starring: The voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams
Directed by: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier