In 1957, Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) published his timeless holiday classic, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” The book was an instant success and spawned a highly successful 1966 television special, as well as a box-office smash live-action film in 2000. So why re-visit the Grinch after remaining dormant for nearly 18 years? The book still sells well around the holiday season, and the screen adaptations are aired on television several times throughout December each year. Is there anything we haven’t already been told about this classic character? Is it worth another big screen outing? While some might be skeptical, the answer is yes.
This new 3D-animated adaptation, produced by Illumination (“Despicable Me,” “Minions,” “The Secret Life of Pets”), takes us back to Whoville where we meet the same old cranky green fellow (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) with his ever-loyal dog, Max (voiced by Frank Welker). At first, it seems that not much has changed regarding the characterization until the Grinch’s venture into Whoville and his inspiration to “steal” Christmas. When we are introduced to the, Who’s in this film it’s immediately established that they are very kind, happy-go-lucky people that love to spread joy to all creatures, including the Grinch. In the last theatrical outing, they were all touted as being afraid of The Grinch and treated him as though he were a hideous monster.
The story continues in a very similar fashion to the previous incarnations but garners a few welcome additions that are more suited to today’s audiences. This includes making Cindy Lou Who (voiced by Cameron Seely) the oldest child in her family and asking Santa only to give her overworked single mother, Donna (voiced by Rashida Jones) a day to relax. As the film continues, we are introduced to a few new characters including the Grinch’s overly eccentric neighbor, Bricklebaum (voiced by Kenan Thompson) and Fred, an obese, but loyal reindeer that the Grinch recruits for his Christmas plot.
The film is co-directed by Yarrow Cheney, best known for “The Secret Life of Pets,” and Scott Mosier, best known for producing several films with director Kevin Smith for View Askew Productions. The two have outdone themselves with the way the film has taken shape, and it goes without saying that the many animators that brought this film to life all deserve accolades. With clever updates to the original texts, stunning visualization, and knockout performances from a terrific voice cast, “The Grinch” is sure to become a holiday classic.