Time honored classics hold a special place in our hearts, sometimes to the point of being unable to ever be touched by remakes or other twists. Still that does not stop Hollywood from trying to find ways to make an idea modernized to help reel in new generations. Sometimes these twists are amazing to the point of becoming the new standard, while others should remain in the thought pool to develop some more. Tonight, Dr. Seuss’ legendary Grinch tries to come in with a chance to make itself relevant to the new age. Will it run with the two previous versions that are the big dogs in holiday cinema? That’s where I come in. Robbie K back this week for the first review on:
Movie: The Grinch (2018)
Animation: In the modern age of computer cinema, I agree that the new visual style is a welcome addition to the series. Illumination’s style goes well with this movie, the cartoony visuals, bright colors, and odd shapes fitting right into the imagination of Dr. Seuss. Little ones will appreciate all the energy in the design and the magical heart of Whoville in their love for Christmas. In addition to all the colorful and fun displays, the Grinch and company have wonderfully smooth animation, crisp and clean to capture all the slapstick shenanigans these movies are famous for.
Voice Acting: Not many here, but Benedict Cumberbatchis the lead in this movie, showing off his voice acting skills once more in a fun manner. Perhaps not the most elaborate character in his repertoire, this Grinch has a number of octaves and mannerisms to get my nod of approval, as Cumberbatch once again adds life to the artificially crafted characters. Cameron Seelyas Cindy Lou Who has some sass to the classical, good souled who that still has that innocence, but with the modern twist. As for Kenan Thompson, he is funny in his one-liners that take you back into the 90s where he reigned king.
Cute: The movie is a family friendly film, with that youthful energy to kick off the holiday season and get you onto the mood. The Grinch brings that modern tale to full light and the new twist has been tailored towards the target audience of 4-10-year-old kids and the young at heart. In addition, all the comedy and story will potentially make your heart grow three sizes.
The Creativity: Say what you want about the others installments of this film, but this Grinch gets bonus points for the clever twists brought into the heist scene. Yes the first one was brilliant and went in time with the song, and Jim Carey’s version had the darker, fun delight that was a little spooky giving the lighting. This one though, adds gadgets and technology that were rather Seuss-like and most likely the subject of action figures and toys alike. Still, the Grinch’s new genius is just another nice twist to the mix, again matching the talents of the voice actor who portrays him.
The Dual Stories: One part is the tale we’ve come to know and love, while the other running tangent is a small story that gives us more Cindy Lou Who. The Movie does a nice job of having the two key characters trekking down their own paths, each blazing their own path as they head to the fateful night. It’s not the most character centric story, but it works well for me and gives little girls a new animated character to pull for.
A Little Too Simple: The Grinch’s modern twist is perfect for the modern age of kid themed movies, being innocent, sweet fun that leaves you with a feeling of Christmas. Yet, the movie still is a little to simple, lacking those qualities the previous installments held that made the memorable. Perhaps a little more story, a little more heart, or just some more injection of adult components into the mix could have taken this film farther.
More Character Development: The Grinch seemed rather simple, but the Jim Carey version proved this green curmudgeon held more story than ever imagined. Sadly, this version sacrificed characters for the slapstick gimmicks to net kids in. Sure, there are backbone framework established, but there was so much more discovery and tales to tell to help strengthen the film. Other characters could have been involved as well, but they were only momentary colors on the screen, with a few one-line jabs to get some chuckles. Nevertheless, the movie needed more character utilization for this guy.
Predictable/Shown In Trailers: No surprise that the Grinch is predictable, but why could it not have escaped the curse of the revealing trailers. The Grinch’s surprises are ruined mostly by the glimpses in the trailer, leaving you with little to discover past the meat of the film. There are still some special gifts hidden under the trees, but perhaps not in the brightest, shiniest style it could have been.
More Cindy Lou Story: I know it’s called the Grinch, but they opened the flood gates for another story that could have been even cuter. Cindy Lou’s story introduced lots of characters that could have again established more of that twist, perhaps giving it that special something this version needed. Fortunately, there was a major finale to help wrap up and inspire, but some more development was needed in this component to really add that final finesse.
The Grinch is a tough challenge to take on given the champion films we have in the past. Still, this reviewer enjoyed the fun adventure that is appropriate for the whole family. The animation, design, and comedy are all for the intended audience and one might enjoy seeing their little one’s face light up at the magic of Christmas unfolding. Sadly, the movie still has some work in terms of bringing more to the table, taking the story and gimmicks to the full potential by injecting a few more unique features to escape the trailers revelations. Still, I applaud the new twist for the creativity and think that a family outing can warrant a visit. Yet, the classics are free and available at home, and that may be difficult to miss when they are so good.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.0