For those wondering about ‘The Grinch’, it is not like the Jim Carrey/Ron Howard collaboration at all, it is bright, colorful, whimsical, and touching despite mostly being filler for a story meant to be short. In other words, it is definitely better. Though nothing beats Chuck Jones’ 1966 animated Christmas special that made the green mischief-maker a Christmas staple, Illumination’s take on Dr. Seuss’ spiteful-yet-beloved character is as sweet as a sugar cookie, even when it is not much.
Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role that was both preceded by Carrey, and, if you remember Boris Karloff in the original special. There are the few who love Karloff’s sinister voice, and there are many who love Carrey’s over-the-top performance, yet I seem to prefer Cumberbatch’s nasally, yet sinister take. He manages to give the character a mix of cunning, comedy, and sympathy that you would never expect right away. Although, the problem with the sympathy lies in how its emotional moments can be manipulative. There was never a true reason as to why The Grinch was who he was until one moment touches his heart. The feeling of joy just happened. Here, his backstory is explored for a brief, in which he was an orphan, who never got a real Christmas. As a kid, I always loved that the Grinch in Howard’s version had a reason to hate Christmas, yet it felt mean-spirited. This is a much better backstory, and gives the character an emotional layer.
We see more of the residents of the town of Whoville, who are represented the way they are always meant to be; extremely cheerful and generous with a lust for life as well as a love of Christmas. They are not the mean-spirited, material-obsessed characters Howard portrayed. When the Grinch comes into town, they treat him no different despite his attempts to make the town as miserable as he is; even Cindy Lou-Who (Voice of Cameron Seely), who has more emphasis on trying to get her Christmas wish answered.
‘The Grinch’ is a breath of fresh winter air that is as warm as a cup of hot cocoa, guaranteed to warm your heart and make it grow three sizes.