In the third adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic Christmas tale, Benedict Cumberbatch voices the grumpy green in an animation from the studio behind Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets. It’s a colourful, boisterous, simplistic number that will insult no one and entertain the masses.
Cumberbatch, putting on his best John Lithgow voice, is amenable and does a nice job as the lead. But the animation rarely pushes him to utilise all his talents, nor does to it push the cast into expanding beyond the safe and narrow parameters in which the film encloses itself.
The Grinch is not a bad film, and for those under the age of eight, it will be a Christmas treat. But while this writer is not the target demographic, there is an underlying problem: this film has the bare minimum in humour, innovation and narrative depth, with just enough of each to tick the necessary boxes for what makes an animated feature film. This all results in a forgettable number that will become dust in the annals of cinematic history. So you have to wonder, can we not expect a little bit more from studio films like this?
Sherlock Gnomes, Smallfoot and Hotel Transylvania 3 all suffer from the same epidemic as The Grinch. They’re “good enough”. The youngsters and their accompanying adults deserve better. It’s not easy to snap one’s fingers and receive the likes of Mirai, Coco, and Incredibles 2 – all released this year too – but this should be the norm, rather than the diamonds in the rough.
The film’s positive messages about inclusivity and diversity are welcomed, but the film is lacking. It lacks anything more than the basics of what a film should have. A shame, as it could have done so much more.
CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Angela Lansbury, Kenan Thompson
DIRECTORS: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
WRITERS: Michael LeSieur, Tommy Swerdlow (screenplay by), Dr. Seuss (based on the book by)
SYNOPSIS: A grumpy Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the village of Whoville.