Now Showing: The Grinch

Despite its cartoon Seuss-like feel, ‘The Grinch’ proved to be another lackluster remake.

Now+Showing%3A+The+Grinch

Photo courtesy of VOX Cinemas

Once again, the film industry has decided to take Dr. Seuss’s classic Christmas tale under its wing and retell the heartwarming story on the big screen. However, in an era of pointless movie remakes, “The Grinch” is predictably mediocre.  

The plot stays true to the original picture book, with The Grinch (Benedict Cumberbatch) hating holiday spirit, accompanied by his adorable canine sidekick Max and the entertaining Whos in Whoville.

Overall, this movie plays its cards very safe in comparison to the 2000 live action adaptation starring Jim Carrey, which contained a lot crude humor that probably had Seuss rolling over in his grave. This film is more true to form, offering a much brighter and more vivid depiction of the Grinch and Whoville stories that we  are accustomed to reading in the books. The elements of animation and visuals in this movie are very Seuss-like, in the same familiar colorful cartoonish style.

While I enjoyed the family-friendly familiarity, I found myself struggling to stay awake for the first half hour of this movie. While I might not be the movie’s intended target demographic, the movie’s claim to be “fun for everyone” didn’t exactly ring true for me.

Though very accurately depicting the Seussian universe, it is still very much an Illumination Entertainment production (“Minions”) with overused jokes and slapstick humor. There wasn’t  one scene worthy of  full-blown laughter.

Rather,  the best parts of this movie were the smaller quirks, like the addition of the cuddly reindeer named Fred and the creative take on Cindy Lou’s character (Cameron Seely). Staying true to Illumination Entertainment’s tendency to create endearing characters like those in “Despicable Me” and “Sing,” these additions make  the movie even more charming and likeable.

This film’s  Grinch  is much less of a truly evil villain, falling  somewhere  between the conniving Grinch of the 1966 traditionally animated Christmas special and the bombastic Jim Carrey version, portraying him much more as social outcast.

I wish the filmmakers had spent more time on this expansion of the character, as I felt character development was rushed, with too much of the screen time spent on aimless gags. The movie could have been improved by focusing on the Grinch’s evolution while still executing the same amount of lightheartedness.

By far, the best addition to this movie is rapper Tyler the Creator and his renditions of the familiar Grinch theme songs for the movie soundtrack. The song “I Am The Grinch” is my favorite as this modern alternative hip hop spin makes for fun tracks that, unlike the movie itself, I plan to have on repeat the entire Christmas season.

Though beautifully animated with charming quirks, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone under the age of 10, as nothing stuck out or was particularly memorable. Revamping a classic is rarely worth the time, and even when attributed to the Dr. Seuss we know and love, it can be hard to live up to the original.