The Grinch Review and Others
Hey, guys! It’s me, Elijah Anderson. And I am here to tell you that I am going to try and get back into the game of writing about movies. And today, I return with a review of this year’s The Grinch, starring Benedict Cumberbatch. But before I get to that film, here are two capsule reviews of other movies I’ve seen.
A Star is Born: Very good film, yes. Worthy directing debut for Bradley Cooper and surprising lead performance from Lady Gaga. Is it perfect? No, I feel like more of a dive into Lady Gaga’s side of the story would be in order and maybe a few more bits of connective tissue could work. But still, very strong ending, heck of a soundtrack, and definitely deserves the eventual Academy Award for Best Original Song nomination for “Shallow”.
Venom: Do you like watching ugly CGI creations and moments that are supposed to be dramatic but come off as unintentionally hilarious? Do you also like watching Sony walk up to the DCEU and the Dark Universe and say “Oh, you guys thought YOU could suck at kickstarting a franchise? Hold my beer.”? Well, then this is the movie for you…or perhaps your worst enemy that you wish to punish.
Now then, The Grinch.
In case you somehow don’t know, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of Dr. Seuss’s most popular books, and that’s saying a lot. It’s the story of a curmudgeonly recluse who plans to rob the neighboring Whoville of their Christmas by stealing their presents and decorations, only to discover that they still celebrate the holidays without any of it, and therefore learning the true meaning of Christmas. The book up till now has been adapted twice before, once into the much-loved Chuck Jones-directed short from 1966, and again into the much-reviled Ron Howard film from 2000 – and before you get up in arms, I like that movie, but I’m not gonna defend it as a good film.
In any case, this newest adaptation comes to use courtesy of the folks at Illumination Entertainment. And it’s…fine, just fine. Honestly guys, this is probably gonna be one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever written because there’s just not much to say about 2018’s The Grinch. What’s the plot? It’s the plot from the book. Add in a subplot involving Cindy Lou Who wanting to meet Santa Claus to help her overworked mother, and you’ve pretty much got this movie. I like the little detail they added in about the Whos’ Christmas celebration being sort of an emotional trigger for him and that’s why he wants to steal their Christmas, but it doesn’t really go anywhere, and the emotional pathos is undercut by the constant jokes and pop culture references. Also, the fact that the whole film is narrated by Pharrell Williams – yes, really – doesn’t really help either.
Now, it’s not that this movie is bad. In fact, I was actually kind of shocked that it wasn’t nearly as bad as the advertising made it seem. And there are some things that I genuinely like. First off, the film looks gorgeous. Say what you want about Illumination, but their style really does go well with Dr. Seuss’s world. Plus, Danny Elfman’s score is emotionally resonant while also playfully adapting some classic Christmas tunes into his own style. And even though I initially was confused by Benedict Cumberbatch’s style for voicing the Grinch, over time, he and the voice grew on me.
Aside from that, though, there’s just not much to say about this. It’s just another animated film typical of Illumination Entertainment: very nice-looking with a few genuine bright spots, but nothing that really sets itself apart. In fact, instead of reading this review, read some of Callum Petch’s writings on Illumination Entertainment. It’s more interesting than anything I can say about this movie. See you next time.