Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Cameron Seely
Director: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Running Time: 86 mins
The Grinch is an American film about a Christmas humbug who tries to ruin the festival for all of the people in the town below his cave.
You know the story of The Grinch, whether it’s from Dr. Seuss’ original book, the 1966 short, or the 2000 Jim Carrey movie, it’s a modern classic of Christmas lore, and we see it brought to life once again, this time in vibrant animation from Illumination, the company responsible for Despicable Me, Minions and The Secret Life Of Pets.
On the whole, Illumination do a fairly good job at bringing the story to the big screen again, and with their trademark animation and manic, fun-loving attitude to storytelling, the film is a rather entertaining watch, and will certainly please younger viewers with its bright and lively energy throughout.
Of course, the story of The Grinch is one that you already know, so it’s up to the film to breathe some new life into the tale, which this film does moderately successfully. Above all, its strongest suit is its energy, and with a rapid-fire opening act full of laughs and colour, the film is a delight from the start.
Tie that fairly manic energy in with the sweet and heartwarming nature of any Christmas movie, and you’ve got a film that will definitely make you smile, and with its beautiful animation and vibrant visuals throughout, it’s certainly a feast for the eyes, even if it doesn’t quite have the depth to make it a little more engaging.
And this is where my problem with The Grinch comes in. While it’s a nice, easy-going film with good energy, there’s very little to it to make it really stand out. While Disney and Pixar are forging ahead with ever more complex animations that both have a simple, innocent appeal as well as stronger emotional depth and intrigue, Illumination has taken up the role of making the more bog-standard children’s movies, and that shows clearly here.
While the film does exactly what it says on the tin, and provides an entertaining hour and a half of silly antics for young children to enjoy, its story isn’t immensely unique throughout, and particularly as it draws towards its final act, and some of the more haywire comedy takes a back seat to the central story, the film gets really boring, as it starts to lack the energy that had been making it so enjoyable previously.
Overall, The Grinch is a nice, enjoyable film, and with wonderful animation and a good, easy-going sense of humour, it will definitely entertain young children, as well as spark a smile or two from older viewers too. However, it’s far from the year’s most innovative or outstanding animation, and due to a less-than-enthralling story that becomes a little boring towards the end, it won’t quite grab you in the way that many better films in the genre will, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.