It is a testament to the longevity of Dr. Seuss’ cannon of books that we are still obsessed with his stories and characters. An example of this is The Grinch who remains endearing over sixty years after How the Grinch Stole Christmas! was originally published. Considering the popularity of the book and the 1966 animated television special, it is no wonder why studios have been trying to replicate its success on the big screen.
Eight years after the Ron Howard’s live-action adaptation, which starred Jim Carrey, proved to be a little too bizarre and adult for young audiences, Illumination studios has wisely decided to bring the story back to the animated sphere with Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. Staying true to the roadmap established in the original text, the film follows the curmudgeon known as The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) who wants nothing more than for Christmas to be over before it even starts. Living with his trusty dog Max on the snow-covered Mount Crumpit, which overlooks the joyful town of Whoville, he spends most of his time trying to avoid cheerful residents like Bricklebaum (Kenan Thompson).
Fed up with the excessive holiday cheer, The Grinch devises a plan to ruin Christmas by stealing all the presents and decorations. However, an encounter with young Cindy-Lou Who (Cameron Seely), who wants nothing more than for Santa to help her mother Donna (Rashida Jones), forces The Grinch to contemplate the real meaning of Christmas.
Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier try to bring a little more complexity to the character of The Grinch by adding backstory to explain how he became the way he is. Unfortunately, there is not enough depth in the reasoning to completely justify the film’s existence, especially considering how good the 60s cartoon is. Fortunately for Cheney and Mosier, the film is charming enough that young kids will eat it up. There is plenty of slapstick moments and a childlike sense of wonder that makes the film work.
While the film itself may not bring much new to the table the Blu-ray, arriving tomorrow courtesy of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, comes packed with a slew of bonus features that the whole family will enjoy. Kids will take delight in the three mini-movies, two of which “Yellow is the New Black” and ”Santa’s Little Helpers” feature Illumination’s loveable Minions, and the “Any Who Can Draw” feature which shows how to draw characters such as The Grinch and Max. Adults will find the “From Green to Screen” featurette interesting as the cast and crew dive into The Grinch’s motivations and what makes him such a fascinating character.
Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch does not reinvent the wheel, or even decorate it in any special way, but it is charming enough that young kids will love it.