An impossible film to enjoy, as The Grinch makes no effort to have its titular character be at all sensible.
Call me a snob, I don’t care, but the difference between the Grinch as a character and someone who’s human is as large as the difference between the narrative sophistication of Dr. Seuss and that of Charles Dickens. Maybe the film is just not for me, someone who has seen neither of the previous adaptations of the story and so perhaps has no chance of understanding the appeal of it now being fully animated. What I know of the last one is that it starred Jim Carrey and that he was allegedly uncomfortable throughout the whole ordeal from having to wear a suit of material meant to mimic the garish coat of hair that bedecks the creature for some reason. I feel his pain. No, really, maybe I do. At nearly no point in the film did I feel wrapped in soft cushions like I can get sometimes watching one or two films made by Pixar or Disney. I have a young niece and a nephew and have even younger cousins, for goodness’ sake, and yet never have I been in near-physical pain and still dozed off with any of them while watching their puerile cartoons. But the animation is animation, so the film earns one-half a star for that.
The plot is as follows, according to IMDb: “The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit.” It also apparently starred the usually-excellent Benedict Cumberbatch (though not here), Cameron Seely, and Rashida Jones. I knew things were happening but I didn’t know why; I just couldn’t understand it. The only pleasure I could get throughout these scenes was one small snort of laughter and the recognition that at one point Nat King Cole was playing in the background, both of which combine to give the film an additional full star as a reward.
Imagine my shock when I got away from this film and decided to look up the story, sure that something had to have gone wrong somewhere in the writing department. Oh, was I wrong! This story is actually very accurate, so much so that it is getting praised by some for its authenticity, from some who say that it stays true to the original story. I truly wish it had stayed true enough to not have pilfered the worst part of senseless caricature from Ol’ Charley’s Ebenezer Scrooge story instead. Should Seuss have been totally unable to control himself from this most unflattering form of theft, I would have had him at least stay true to the spirit of that story, to how a man is shown the way in which the world is different than he imagines it is at three different stages around his life, so that we get a clear understanding that the man is evolving. The Grinch is stupid at the beginning and he remains stupid at the end. He has no idea how humans work, nor why.
The Grinch should be imprisoned and kept very far away from people. Some indulgences are not permissible.
My advice to any potential audience for this film? Have a very Merry Christmas and see better animated films. Here’s an abbreviated list of two animated films with similar subjects and themes: Despicable Me and Rise of the Guardians.
But maybe this is all wrong and it’s just me having to Grinch for a minute.