film & game reviews, the retro way.
Just in time for Christmas, animation studio Illumination released its own take on Dr. Seuss' classic tale with Benedict Cumberbatch voicing The Grinch and a few modern updates thrown in. The film comes 18 years since Ron Howard released his own live-action version of the story.
With every new interpretation of Dr. Seuss' classic works, comes a certain amount of skepticism. Illumination's The Lorax didn't exactly please fans of the original story, so it was fair to expect that taking on what is arguably Dr. Seuss' most popular creation would be met with some groans. Especially since the marketing for the film, which was pretty extensive, didn't offer particularly encouraging trailers. Still, considering the talent involved both in the animation department and the cast, the timelessness of the story, not to mention the timing of the release itself, this seemed like an easy hit for Illumination.
The aforementioned skepticism should stick around for the first few minutes of this movie as some early attempts to be "hip" (see the uninspired hip-hop take on the classic Grinch song) fail to really capture the spirit of the story. That said, soon enough, thanks to a likeable performance by Cumberbatch, a reliably charming score by Danny Elfman and some clever sight gags, you should find yourself getting used to the idea of this new Grinch movie.
There's a lot to like about this new one and very little of that was shown in the trailers, strangely enough. By focusing on the cheesier (read: lamer) jokes, you might have expected this film to be nothing more than another cynical cash-in without much or any substance at all. And even though there are some eye-rollingly stale moments in this movie here and there (what was the point of that goat?!), luckily, the film does flesh out its main characters quite well, it never forgets to throw in some good old Christmas spirit and even some genuinely good gags. The animation throughout is very good, The Grinch is meaner (if still not quite mean enough) than you'd expect from the muted trailers and Cindy Lou Who's plot expansion is interesting.
Unfortunately, the film runs out of steam by the end and it all comes together in a rushed way so The Grinch's redemption is a little quick and, ultimately, the connection he makes with Cindy Lou and the rest of the Whos doesn't feel as earned as it should. Still, that doesn't quite ruin what is otherwise a competent adaptation.
Better than you'd expect, this Grinch may try a little too hard to be modern and entertain very young viewers at times but, overall, it gets the main point across quite well and it is a fun and colorful Christmas movie that should entertain just about anyone, even Dr. Seuss purists.
Harmless enough retelling.