by Tim Gordon
For over six decades, audiences have been enthralled with Dr. Seuss’ famed story of the curmudgeonly green protagonist and master shade thrower of Whoville, The Grinch.
Seuss’ book has been adapted into a perennial holiday special and later a live action movie in 2000. This latest version finds our furry green holiday hater back at it again in this saccharine-free edition that is long on substance but woefully lacking in heart.
The story remains unchanged, as the holiday spirit has captured the hearts of all in festive Whoville. Everyone is swept up in the festivities except The Grinch (Cumberbatch) who would sooner slam his head repeatedly into a door rather than celebrate the yuletide spirit. Forced to go to the market in town after he runs out of food, He painfully attempts to avoid catching everyone’s “happy feelings.
After he encounters the bubbly and optimistic Cindy Lou Who (Seely), he figures that the only way to make them feel his misery is to take their Christmas away, which backfires on him as he discovers that while Cindy Lou and him have nothing in common, she would possess just the right spirit to thaw his warm, tiny heart.
It’s not just The Grinch’s heart that’s tiny but the entire film except. It is often said that why fix something if ain’t broke and this classic was not in need of cinematic tune up. Many of the choices that the filmmakers make fall flat including Cumberbatch’s weak voice work as the title character, an equally weak effort from William’s as the narrator and a puzzling remix of the title song made famous in the beloved original television film.
None of these changes improve the story and instead of drawing audiences into the story, it highlights that despite its beautiful presentation that what is painfully lacking is the heart or emotion of the story.
With a runtime slightly under 90 minutes, this version seems much longer as they attempt to inflate a story that was told in a third of the time, initially. New clearly doesn’t equate to better and audiences would be better served watching the 1966 classic, which packs more emotion and enjoyment than this expanded holiday pretender.