Hollywood’s holiday season has officially begun with The Grinch, another cash cow Christmas vehicle designed solely for the simple purpose of wrangling up all the little ones and forcing beleaguered parents to begrudgingly open their wallets for a couple hours of babysitting relief. While we’ve seen many versions of Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas, this latest attempt is much more Chuck Jones 1966 classic than that wretched Jim Carrey 2000’s version.
The plot for The Grinch remains unchanged. The citizens of Whoville love Christmas. One resident grade schooler Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) has concocted a plot to capture Santa Claus in hopes of somehow convincing him to lighten her hardworking, single mom’s (Rashida Jones) workload. Subsequently, the Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his loyal dog Max, have conjured up a plot of their own. They are going to steal all the Christmas presents from the residents of Whoville. Now, unless you have been living under a very large rock or skipped childhood altogether, you know exactly where this story is going. What sets this variation of The Grinch apart from its predecessors is the decision of the film’s directors (Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney) to primarily focus on its mean and green central character. While previous renditions would use the tired “rinse and repeat” approach and center the attention around the Grinch’s malice and mayhem, this updated version isn’t very interested in the who (no pun intended) rather than the why. Once you get past the layers of childlike innocence, the Grinch reveals a very adult-like character study that shines a spotlight on loneliness. It’s quite refreshing. We always knew that the Grinch had a heart two sizes too small, but, now we know why.
By Scott Peterson
cinesportstalk.com | @CineSportsTalk