by GENEVA NATAL
The green, grouchy, Grinch is back again trying to steal Christmas from all the Whos in Whoville.
The new animated version of Dr. Seuss’ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” offers a kinder view of the lovable and sometimes relatable character, who learns a lesson that teaches adults and children alike.
In the movie, the Grinch, voiced by the dazzling Benedict Cumberbatch, tells the story from his point of view, as a grumpy and miserable outcast whose heart is “three sizes too small.” His voice, along with Will Pharrell’s narrative voice, gives the movie a more cheerful version than the 2000 Ron Howard-Jim Carrey collaboration where the Grinch was more mean and hateful. He explains that he hates Christmas because of his childhood, and, in this version, how alone he was during this time of year as an orphan. He had no home, no family, no presents, and no joy. Because of this, he grew to be bitter and resentful towards Christmas and everything about it.
In this new animated version, there are the original characters such as the Grinch’s dog, Max, who is just as cute as he is in all the other versions. Cindy-Lou Who, with her bright blonde hair and can-do attitude, is crucial to getting the Grinch’s heart to love Christmas. Other characters not in other films include a bearded neighbor who provides comedic relief. I was confused about why the Grinch had neighbors in the first place, but the storyline still follows the same general path with only small tweaks. By having a neighbor, it shows him not being cast out from society but being isolated by his own action. Hopefully that teaches kids about a friendlier community than in other versions where the Grinch was cast out.
As the storyline progresses, the Grinch’s hate reaches a breaking point, so he decides to deviously plan to steal Christmas from the Whos. He becomes the anti-Santa, who, instead of giving, takes away Christmas in the hopes of stopping the celebration.
The Grinch makes the outfit himself and finds a different mode of transportation than expected. He acquires a sleigh through illegal activity, which I assume he makes right by the end of the film. He turns the sleigh into a contraption only Dr. Seuss could have made up to properly execute his plan. This sleigh includes more high tech features than expected, but I do like that the creators were more modern in the design.
As the old story progresses, the next part features the Grinch making the outfit to really play the part of Santa. Music accompanies this entire process with a spin on the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr.Grinch.” He does a test run with his new equipment to reach the roofs of the houses with his giant bag to carry the stolen items. However, his mode of transportation has a secret the Grinch didn’t know about. The audience sees that the Grinch just might have a heart, or at least the audience sees he isn’t the monster that everyone, him included, believes.
The Grinch finds another way by “promoting” Max. They ride on Christmas Eve night to stop Christmas. They succeed, and at the last house they meet Cindy Lou-Who, the girl who plants the seed that changes the story.
In the beginning of the movie, Cindy is planning just like the Grinch was planning. She wants to catch Santa to ask him a very big Christmas wish. Instead, she catches the Grinch instead of Santa, and he convinces her to go back to bed before he is found out.
She touches his heart, and those of many others, by asking for her special Christmas wish. Cindy explains the momentum of each Christmas holiday and the real meaning. It’s not about the materialistic things; it’s the people you spend it with.
The community continues to sing, even without the presents and trees. Just like in other versions, the Grinch sees this as he is staring down from the cliff. This causes him to have a change of heart, literally and figuratively, by having his heart grow three times as big as his original.
He wants to give back Christmas, but it was already going over a cliff. There’s a nice surprise twist that warms the hearts of the audience. In a miracle event, the characters go back to Whoville with Christmas in the backseat.
The Grinch apologizes and explains himself before heading home. He is adjusting to being nice instead of mean, even giving Max a special present at the end. In another surprise twist, the Grinch does fulfill Cindy Lou-Who’s Christmas wish in a special way. They take him in and include him in the celebration. Finally, he feels happy on Christmas.
I think the movie is great. It was different than the other version I have seen, but the extra characters were not too overdone and fit well into Seuss’ world. The movie left me smiling and wishing for more. It definitely got me into the upcoming holiday season.
The animation was really detailed and well executed. The new take on the movie was a bit odd, but the change was needed. I originally thought that it would be something I paid only half attention to, but that was not the case. Since there are different characters, it kept the audience intrigued and paying attention. On the downside, the kids were not what I thought they would look like. However, that is a small price to pay for such an amazing experience and movie.
I give “The Grinch” a 9/10.