Dr Seuss is a wizard of quirky, weird and famous characters that everybody falls in love with. Some of the characters are adorable, fuzzy little ball like creatures who are also magical (The Lorax, Thing One, Thing Two) at times. The Grinch however has become an icon for Christmas lovers and he’s not your conventional cute and cuddly, he’s grumpy and he hates Christmas!
Released this year, ‘The Grinch’ is quite different from the one portrayed in ‘How the Grinch stole Christmas’ in 2000. The earlier version had famous comedian Jim Carrey as Grinch who was hilarious with all the expressions, he was simply wonderful. To be honest, Jim Carrey has set a very high standard which is quite difficult to beat. I was skeptical about Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice over for this year’s animated version but he did not disappoint a lot. However, the story did because although the dialogues were children-friendly, the movie somehow did not come off as very appropriate for children.
The beginning is relatable for most of us adults; Grinch can’t start his day without the daily cup of coffee which Max makes for him in the morning. He hates music or laughter or songs and only visits Whoville when he has to shop for groceries. And he does a lot of emotional eating (relatable!). Orphaned at a very young age, years of neglect during Christmas holidays and with no one to give him any gifts, Grinch grows up hating Christmas and everything related to it. Merrymaking makes him scowl and the very sound of Christmas carols makes him lose his temper. When the Whoville mayor announces that this year’s Christmas celebrations will be three times bigger and better than last year, Grinch completely loses his cool. It is interesting to know that the reason why Grinch has so little love or compassion or so much meanness inside is probably because he has a tiny heart (aww).
On the other side of the story is Cindy Lou, a little girl with twin brothers and a single mother who is struggling to keep the family altogether, financially and emotionally. Now most children’s animations do not always portray such thing which is why it seemed the story was more based on our modern lives. When traditional stories are altered like that, they usually become more relatable but do we need Grinch to start dating and have kids? I am not very sure. It would remind me of one particular episode by The Saturday Night Live where The Cat in the Hat is in a love triangle with Thing One (or Two, didn’t matter really).
A lot of things happen for which you need to watch the movie but I can tell you this much that there is a happy ending and The Grinch has a bigger heart and becomes a nicer creature (The Whos aren’t human beings).
From Sherlock Holmes to The Grinch, Benedict is clearly playing out his talent and it is appreciable but it is important to point out that as one of the Christmas classics, The Grinch will always have its own appeal but unless the storyline is strengthened, the audience may keep getting disappointed.