This Christmas season The Grinch returns in an animated feature, directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, based on Dr Seuss’s celebrated 1957 book The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!
The story takes place in Whoville, home of The Whos, a cheerful civilisation similar to humans in appearance. Living aside from these merry beings atop Mount Crumpit is the ever-cynical Grinch, (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) with his loyal dog Max. Like 2000’s live-action comedy starring Jim Carey as the grouch who despises the Yuletide, this is essentially the same tale. The Mayor of Whoville (Angela Lansbury) requests Christmas to be three times bigger this year, and the Grinch is not happy at all, irked by everything jolly, from decorations to daily greetings, and the biggest Christmas tree in the world. The warm-toned animation makes the film festive, while Danny Elfman’s soaring score completes the mood, alongside remakes of seasonal classics.
Rapper and singer Pharrell Williams narrates the reasoning behind the Grinch’s detestation of Christmas: he was an orphan and never had the opportunity to celebrate the festive season in all its golden-lit splendour. So what does he decide to do? Steal Christmas from the Whos of course. The invented contraptions are fun, and young audiences will squirm at his disgusting habits, as well as some surprising characters like the shrieking goat – which at the family press screening made one young boy declare his love for the animal. Though the movie is principally for children there are a few concealed witticisms, so parents and older viewers can find humour too.
At the heart of the animation, is the young and generous Cindy Lou, who only wants to help her mother, Donna (Rashida Jones), a single parent with three children, working night shifts. The characterisation of the Grinch resembles that of Dr Seuss’s book, a hard-hearted scrooge intent on stealing everybody’s Christmas, though the animation is, in contrast, neatly refined, a characteristic of production company Illumination. Discretion is still advised as very young audiences may find the character frightening.
The film holds an overall moralistic message: be good to others, and help those less fortunate, especially this time of year when consumerism peaks, and the Christmas time release is fitting, the Grinch reminding us with a change of heart, “To kindness and love, the things we need most” – a poignant touch.
The Grinch is released nationwide on 9th November 2018.
Watch the trailer for The Grinch here: