“The Grinch” Review: Green, Mean, and Needs to Be Seen

The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) warns his dog Max and reindeer Fred about the seductive power of the Santa cookie as he trains them to help him steal Christmas in “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” from Illumination.

“The Grinch” Review: Green, Mean, and Needs to Be Seen

Another reimagination of the classic Dr. Seuss story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is hitting theaters November 9th. This new version of the story is done by Illumination, the same company responsible for The Secret Life of Pets, Minions, and Sing. In this new version, we have Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of the Grinch, the angry recluse who hates Christmas and all the Whos in Whoville. Along with his trusty dog, Max, he lives alone in a mountain atop Whoville watching from afar as they decorate and prepare for the holiday. Down below, Cindy Lou (Cameron Seely) is getting ready for Christmas by desperately trying to make sure that Santa gets her letter. Unlike other children, she wishes for her mom to be happy because she works so hard. As she crosses paths with the Grinch, he tells her that she has to try to talk to him herself, which sets her off on a mission to catch Santa Claus.

What makes this version of the Grinch different is that it is very wholesome and sweet. The last version of the Grinch starring Jim Carey was much more crude and gritty than this version. It is undoubtedly the softer and more adorable version of the Grinch. The Grinch himself is much more tame. Instead of cruel, he tends to be a bit playful. From Max, the adorable dog who the Grinch so obviously loves, to the little Who children, the animation is just made to be appealing to young children. Also, the Grinch tends to be a little milder in his hatred and habits, even having a pseudo-friend in his neighbor, Bricklebaum played by Kenan Thompson.

The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch, center) gets more than he bargained for after he captures a lackadaisical reindeer named Fred (left) to help pull his sleigh, and learns that Fred would much rather snuggle with the Grinch and dog Max (right) in “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” from Illumination.

The animals of the film steal the show despite not speaking a single word. Max, the Grinch’s loyal canine is by his side, making his coffee, comforting him, and bringing him the only love he knows in the world. Fred, the stranger of the animal characters, is the chubby reindeer the Grinch captures to pull his sleigh. Fred comes into the Grinch’s small family and makes the audience laugh and even shed a little tear. There are a few other animal characters that leave a lasting impression, but I will let those surprise you when you see them.

(from left) Laid-back Axl (Ramone Hamilton) and wise-cracking Ozzy (Sam Lavagnino) are the friend squad of Cindy-Lou Who (Cameron Seely), along with brainy Izzy (Scarlett Estevez) in “Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” from Illumination.

The children in the film, having a smaller part, are quite entertaining. In animated films, I think that the creators tend to minimize the children and make their humor not as appealing for the whole audience. In this version, the kids are actually really funny and provide a lot of humor in the script with their off the wall comments that feel much older than ones that should be coming from kids. Cindy Lou and her friends, Groopert, Izzy, Ozzy, and Axl are very close and are a great mix of different types of kids, from troublemakers to extremely organized and logical.

This version of the Grinch is delightful and sure to win over children and adults the world over. Benedict Cumberbatch was the perfect choice for the role, bringing both the curmudgeon and the outcast aspect to the character. His voice is perfect for both parts of the Grinch. The story, which we know and love, takes a little bit of a different spin in this version but reminds us of the essential things in life: love, family, and togetherness. The Grinch is the perfect film to kick off the holiday season right, spreading joy, happiness, and magic to everyone, even those with a heart two sizes too small.

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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