Film Review: The Grinch

Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier’s adaptation of The Grinch is an entertaining affair. The film should prove enjoyable to both children and adults, even if it is forgettable.

The Grinch hates Christmas. When he finds out the residents of Whoville are planning an even bigger celebration for the festive season, he puts a plan in motion to steal Christmas…

Illumination’s The Grinch is the third major adaptation of the Dr Seuss classic, after the 1966 television special and the 2000 live-action film. Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier have created an entertaining feature; the film hits the spot for those looking for a bit of festive escapism.

The film distinguishes itself from earlier versions with a number of small changes. The title character in this new version is rather more sympathetic, in spite of his grouchiness. Cindy Lou Who meanwhile has a more integral role. Her modus operandi is laudable, even if the character is a little irritating at times. The change to the family setup gives the film a modern twist.

Running at under an hour and a half, The Grinch is well paced and does not outstay its welcome. The humour works well for the most part, even if some of the jokes are clearly aimed at younger viewers. In its more emotional moments, the film is pretty effective at conveying its message.

Benedict Cumberbatch is decent in the title role. Pharrell Williams’ narration is a nice touch, expanding on Dr Seuss’ original text. Rashida Jones is also a welcome addition. The animation is bright and appealing. The sweeping shots, particularly in the introduction, pull viewers into the fantasy world. Music in the film is good, with some alternative Christmas classic included.

With its familiar story, The Grinch offers sufficient festive fun, even if it is unlikely to become a classic.