Based on the 1957 iconic Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, it is the third screen adaptation of the story, following the television special from 1966 and the live-action feature-length film from 2000 starring Jim Carry which I think is the best iteration. It also marks Illumination’s second Dr. Seuss film adaptation, following “The Lorax” (2012). We all know this story by heart.
The makers of “Despicable Me”, took a major risk in making a feature-length, CGI animated version of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The result is… a mild, unoriginal holiday version of “Despicable Me”.
The Gruish Grinch… is tall. He’s not a fan of other people. He had a troubled childhood. He’s an inventor of gadgets and gizmos. His Minion… or dog Max his sole, loyal companion. Chances are good that a little girl is going to change his outlook on life.
The Grinch is supposed to be mean, this version isn’t any worse than the previous ones. He’s not even on par with Gru. He doesn’t even sport the famous evil smile.
Steve Carell digs deep providing depth to Gru. Benedict hardly comes to par with the Grinch. Instead, what little vibe “The Grinch” has comes from narrator Pharrell Williams (an Illumination favorite thanks to his “Despicable” music contributions).
They did have some new additions but this iteration barely hits 80 minutes even with that. There’s a super sized reindeer named Fred, his intro and role does provide the biggest laughs. Kenan Thompson voices the over enthusiastic local and the Mayor gets a good cameo. Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote) returns for the 1st time since 2011’s “Mr. Popper’s Penguins”. The largest recipient of this plot is little Cindy Lou Who. All she wants for Christmas is someone to help her over-stressed, single mom.
Apart from the mother daughter story-line here it’s basically the same as all the others. There is only a brief glimpse into “The Grinch’s past, but not much to go on about his rushed transformation.
While the animation is pretty, the songs joyfully updated. Most of the laughs are in the form of slap stick comedy, or “Looney Tunes” like unintended traps. The 3D was used in a few eye popping shots but it didn’t give any depth at all. It was an ok try but out of the three movies it’s by far the worst.
REVIEW SCORE/ C