THE GRINCH (2018)

  • Release Date: 9/11/2018
  • Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury
  • Directed By: Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney

Many critics have given the new Grinch a thumb down sighting a reason that is accurate per se. They believe that the film adds nothing new to the already well-known tale and it is basically nothing more than a retelling with better animation and better voice talents. Even though I totally agree with the above criticism, I honestly feel that the tale of the Grinch is a whole lot more than just plot twists and turns. It is a lot more than just having meat in the tale and more than anything it is about such a basic human emotion (loneliness and its aftermath) that if done well needs no further additional twists and turns.

I was enthralled by The Grinch and it was so because of how well done the tried and tested material was. There were a few nitpicks here and there but they never spoiled the sheer fun of watching this film and it got me teary-eyed on more than one occasion. It was so because its exceptionally warm manner of dealing with a few sequences. Even though the basic plot and story remains the same, the film feels up the screen with engaging and loveable characters that not only grasp your attention but also make you take sides.

Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) runs out of his food supplies just a few days before Christmas. He hates the village of Whoville from where he is forced to bring fresh supplies. He not only hates the village but also any form of company except that of his endearing dog Max. Things get out of control when he lays eyes on a gigantic Christmas tree in Whoville and the celebrations around it that annoys him to the extent that he decides to steal every Christmas decoration and gift robbing the festival of its charm and celebration. He believes that it would be equivalent to stealing the Christmas. However, things take a strange turn when Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely), a little girl who is desperate to meet Santa Clause and ask a favor of him crosses path with the Grinch and mistakes him to be Santa Clause.

Every time I believe that Hollywood can’t do any better in terms of animation quality, they just push the envelope just a tad bit more. The Grinch is a gorgeously animated film that is so detailed and lifelike that it is extremely easy to take the characters to be real. It is vibrantly colorful and densely animated. I could practically see the subtle nudges of hair on the Whoville folks’ faces. The snow felt more real than the real deal. The costumes are not only exotic but give the feeling of being actual fabric. The town of Whoville is a character in itself. It is so beautiful and fluffy that one could mistake it for a cake. The action (if one may call it so) is brilliantly done and crisply edited.

If that was not enough, the character designs are ravishing. The Grinch is terrific. There are two versions of him in the film and both the versions are exceptionally well rendered. His expression, his mannerisms, his subtle nudges add so much to the overall feel of the character. I have to make special mention of the sound editing as the dialogues and certain situational sounds of the Grinch are edited and placed so well that it landed me smack by the side of the Grinch. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the sound editing of the whole film is exceptionally well done.

I loved the rendering of Cindy Lou Who by Cameron Seely. Her voice and the manner in which she voiced the character not only felt apt for the character but also gave it a very personal touch. Max is just a dog in the film but has a lot to do. He is probably the most endearing character in the film and plays an important part in the modus oparandi of the Grinch. Some of the funniest situations are a result of his expressions and exploits. Cumberbatch is an extremely good voice talent and here too he shows why he is so good. He makes the character of the Grinch his own and brings a dash of charisma to the already layered and effective character.

He has the kind of voice that suits the character to the ‘t’ and he makes the most of that advantage. Also, apart from being deliciously evil Cumberbatch brings the emotionally charged scenes to life with equal aplomb. I just loved the little bit that he shared with the character of Cindy Lou. It’s nothing when you look at it superficially but in that sequence lies the heart of the whole film. I was also taken in by the sequence that shows us the childhood of the Grinch and how he came to hate company. The final sequence of the film will get many teary-eyed.

My only nitpicks with the film were that at 86 minutes, it felt a tad bit too rushed. I also had an issue with the speed at which the Grinch has a change of heart. I would have loved the story to have been laid out a little bit more. It’s more so that way because the film was doing so well with its content. It was getting the characters and their feel spot on and would have done a whole lot better had they persisted a little more with the runtime.

Having said all that, I still loved The Grinch. I feel that it is the perfect Christmas film and would be an even better watch with the whole family. It will make you roll with laughter. It will make you emotional in certain scenes. It is gorgeous to look at. It is the kind of film that I would want to sit in the front row and let the organic colors wash through my senses. It has wonderful music and Cumberbatch brings a refreshing dash to the character of the Grinch. I have to agree that The Grinch helped me wash off the bad taste that “Thugs of Hindostan” left in my mouth.

Rating: 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)

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