Home Reviews ‘The Grinch’ Review: Plenty of Colorful Flair and Failed Potential

‘The Grinch’ Review: Plenty of Colorful Flair and Failed Potential

written by Damian Gordon November 14, 2018
The Grinch in The Grinch

The Grinch is a film that has the Christmas feeling like it came early and makes you feel good leaving the theater. If you saw any incarnation of this story, you know what to expect, which is also a problem, too.

Bitter and hateful, the Grinch is irritated at the thought of the nearby village having a happy time celebrating Christmas. So disguised as Santa Claus, with his dog made to look like a reindeer, he raids the village to steal all the Christmas things.

I essentially copied the IMBD synopsis from the ’66 version and you couldn’t even tell because it is the same thing. While it does bring a few new things, the vast majority of this adventure is a path that has been heavily traveled. The big selling points of the film are the gorgeous animation, an endearing relationship between Mr. Grinch and his dog, and did I mention the animation?

Personality everywhere you look

This image released by Universal Pictures shows the characters Cindy-Lou Who, voiced by Cameron Seely, left, and Grinch, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, in a scene from “The Grinch.”

The animation is the real star as every scene is painstakingly crafted. It is rare to see the level of attention paid to the environment. There are bits of dust particles in the light bulbs, wood floors have stains and unique signs of wear.

“The Grinch” reminds me of my friend when they get a fresh haircut. He goes to the mall, doesn’t buy anything, no reason to be there besides walking around on the chance someone that he knows will see his cut. This movie is a slightly less shallow version of my cousin; it doesn’t have a reason to exist besides the animators to flex on Pixar.

The other lead in this is the music, which does the most to differentiate from past films. It is rooted in hip-hop and soul, and this can be heard in a lot of the production. If I told someone in 2011 that Tyler, the Creator would do The Grinch theme, their head might actually explode.

Danny Elfman is the composer for The Grinch and his mind brought together a great soundtrack full of new and classic holiday tracks. These tunes liven things up in scenes and make for a tracklist I’ll play in a month.

The Supremes, Nat King Cole, and Pentatonix tracks make appearances in the film. Run DMC also have classic holiday songs to round out the soundtrack and give this more of a modern vibe. Or as modern as you get with a song from the ’80s.

Personality

Grinch and Max

Grinch’s dog Max is a lively character whose relationship with the big grump is very heartwarming. Grinch hates everything, except Max. Mr. Grinch is like a dad that hates kids, excluding his own because they’re the cool ones.

The duo’s antics carry the film as their interactions are cute and I wanted to see more about them than anything else. Kenan Thompson’s Bricklebaum is the only other notable character with his over the top reactions and comedic timing. Bricklebaum is always a comedy gift that keeps on giving.

No one in Hollywood has made a career off of playing douches more than Benedict Cumberbatch. He gives a good performance for Mr. Grinch, helping to add some dimension to a bare-bones script.

The movie is pretty short, which is great for parents, as you’re in and out before the kids’ sugar rush from the concession stand hits. Although this has a short 86 minute run-time, it is crazy to think this project has filler – yet it somehow does. This time could have been used to flesh out the story and some characters but is used for so-so gags and cutaways.

The Grinch doesn’t get greedy by playing it safe

The film could have really done some cool things and taken risks. For those over the age of 11, they’ve seen this story a thousand times every December and need an incentive that just isn’t here.

Everything moves at a quick pace like a visitor at a theme park with a fast pass.  It is like The Grinch is going through the motions trying to get you to the end, hoping you enjoy the brief ride through memory lane.

Anyone under 11 will see this as Shakespeare and that’s awesome for them. Everyone else might wanna spend their time re-watching other Christmas classics.

What did you think of this holiday movie? Let us know in the comments!


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