Movie Review: The Grinch (2018)

Dana Lee, Sports Editor

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As the holiday season is upon us, and as Christmas draws ever closer, we are constantly being exposed to the same list of holiday classics that we have enjoyed from a young age. One of these Christmas classics is How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is arguably one of the best Christmas stories to date. This story, which is about a grumpy and reclusive protagonist who disguises himself as Santa Claus in order to “steal” the Christmas holiday from the cheerful citizens of Whoville, was originally written as a children’s book in 1957 by the celebrated author Dr. Seuss. Since then, the classic children’s story has been adapted into multiple film versions, including the original cartoon version made in 1966 and the live-action version with Jim Carrey that was made in 2000. This year, on November 9, yet another film adaptation was released in theaters worldwide, and has received endless praise from Christmas lovers everywhere.
This time, the title of the movie was just shortened to The Grinch, to differentiate it from past adaptations. The recent film was released by Universal Pictures and made by Illumination Entertainment, the makers of the Despicable Me series and The Secret Life of Pets. Because of this, the animation was extremely similar to their past works—colorful, funny, and perfect for young children. The Grinch was directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, and featured an all-star cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch as the Grinch, Cameron Seely as Cindy-Lou Who, Rashida Jones as Donna Who, and Pharrell Williams as the narrator. While most of the original storyline is intact in this adaptation, there has been a few slight changes to the script. For example, in the original book by Dr. Seuss, there was not really any backstory as to why the Grinch despised Christmas as much as he did, aside from the speculation that his heart was “two sizes too small.” In this movie version, however, it is revealed that the Grinch hated Christmas because he used to live in an orphanage, where no one cared to celebrate Christmas with him. The whole holiday season, with its festive decorations, cheerful carols, and jolly dispositions, only served to remind the Grinch “of his earliest years, to that lost, lonely boy, who cried all of those tears.” In addition, the character of Cindy-Lou Who, the little girl who catches the Grinch in the act of stealing Christmas, is almost completely revised. Instead of the original scene where Cindy-Lou accidentally walks in on him, the new film sets up her confrontation with the Grinch by revealing that she wants to talk to Santa and ask him to help her overburdened mom be happy. Ironically, the Grinch is the one who suggests that a mere letter to Santa would not be enough to meet him, which eventually led to her plan to booby-trap Santa in her house.
While there has been countless adaptations of this story, each version continues to be loved and turned into classics of their own, and this year’s release of The Grinch is no exception. Although the film made a few changes to its original script, I personally believe that it changed for the better. The new animation style and the backstories to the beloved characters only served to make them even more endearing and pleasing to a new generation of children.