Review: The Grinch

The new The Grinch movie is really, really, really boring. Sitting through 105 minutes of Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier’s animated film is a near impossible task for anyone over fifteen, or anyone who’s already seen any of the other Grinch films. After watching the new movie, members of either party will likely find themselves contemplating a single question: what was the point of this adaptation?

The film itself is very aesthetically pleasing. Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures came together to provide a charming depiction of the film’s characters. In the 2018 animated adaptation, the Grinch is a bright, almost neon-green creature with furry, mischievous-looking features. He comes off as a bit grumpy, but in a cute way. The Whos, who were only humans with extravagant hairstyles and pointed noses in Howard’s version, were also depicted as cuter and more welcoming. Even Max shrinks nearly three times in size and trades his overall shaggy fur for a cute, neatly polished quiff. This is a stark contrast to the Grinch in Ron Howard’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, who was particularly terrifying (see Jim Carrey in the Grinch costume to the side). The Grinch had been notoriously illustrated with dirty, slim green skin and hair, with yellow sclera, green eyes, and wrinkles so deep no amount of anti-wrinkle cream could reverse them. The film does this well, and makes it worth watching for any child experiencing Christmas fever. However, despite the aesthetic changes, this new adaptation adds nothing new to the Grinch’s character of the storyline, as other past adaptations have.

The Grinch (2018) is simply an awkward, uninteresting retelling of the popular Dr. Seuss tale. If it merely intended to win people over with holiday nostalgia or entertain children, it does succeed in doing that. However, since there already was already no real point in another adaptation, an animated version of this story that adds nothing but a few secondary characters comes off as pointless and unexciting. At the end of the film, when you try to remember what the film may have given you, you are not left with much, even though it does end on a warm note - the Grinch is accepted by Cindy Lou’s family and accepts the Christmas season. However, the arc is anticlimactic. He only changes his mind because he hears them singing, which makes his heart triple in size, but it was hard to believe he had a minuscule heart to begin with. The bright, cartoonish production of the film flows over into the character of the Grinch himself, as he seems less like ‘‘a mean one’ but ‘a grumpy one.’ This makes the scenes showing his atonement and acceptance into the community boring and inconsequential.

To the director’s credit, it must be horribly difficult to recreate a tale so often told and retold, and add features that give it individuality and character. They seem to have decided that 21st-century big-picture animation and a more kid-friendly Grinch would be substantial, and it may be to some, but to others the film is just boring.