Visually-stunning in wintery Christmas-burst animation amongst the most vividly resplendent I’ve *ever* seen in-genre with a nice children’s inclusion message, sacrilegiously set back by a neutered/watered-down Grinch & virtue-signals. 5/10.
Plot Synopsis: Christmas in Whoville is always a magical time for its residents. That, is except The Grinch and his loyal dog, Max, who live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet and are aggravated every year when the holidays come for celebration. When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realizes there is one way to gain peace and quiet. With help from Max, the green grump hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus, steal Christmas and silence the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all.
*Possible spoilers ahead*
“You’re a mean one..” Who doesn’t remember JEJ’s haunting, blazing baritone blasting the wreath-filled rainbow-lit hallways of their December-set childhood home? Though many Dr. Seuss classics dot the landscape of my adolescent euphoria, none came close to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, from iconic cartoon TV special to Carrey’s wacky-weird version almost The Mask-like in outlandsish comedy. I could not wait to see the newest 21st-century iteration/innovation of the Christmas movie to end all Christmas movies, even withstanding an eyebrow-raising casting of squarish goody-two-shoes Benedict Cumberbatch as the infamous villain and soundtrack from usually-dark battle rapper Tyler The Creator. Many of those first impressions bleed over into this end product wildly-divisive in polar opposites either dramatically brilliant.. or breathtakingly awful: Visually-stunning in wintery Christmas-burst animation amongst the most vividly resplendent I’ve *ever* seen in-genre with a nice children’s inclusion message, tangy Tyler The Creator sound-revamp, and decent gags – sacrilegiously near-squandered by a horrifically-miscast neutered/water-down Grinch and virtue-signals.
The visuals. Milky with eye-popping, visually-arresting wintery animation from its first shot, the film is quite simply one of the most beautiful animated films I’ve EVER seen in the genre – *of All-Time*. The visual craftsmen and master-artists deserve award-level praise for how much they poured their blood, sweat, and heart into carefully constructing every frame to serve as a study of alpine plush-snowy fields, Christmas feel, impressive world-building in sci-fi scale for the ultimate Whoville (complete with a gingerbread motif), and a textural gradient so smooth and lush – it feels positively dream-like. Even the freaking mini-marts are jaw-droppingly rendered in animation here in a no-stones-unturned level of commitment the animators and cinematographers should be completely spared of ill-will and absolutely livid at the rest of the team for nearly-wasting their masterwork.
The voice acting is overall-fine, soundtrack innovative in a risky Tyler The Creator gamble that pays off in spades feeling modern and pop-catchy, and gags funny that’ll certainly get side-splits from younger audience members while also entertaining older ones like by Fred’s chubby-awkwardness and the yelling goat. The Mean One himself is also a bit more fleshed out character-wise and psychologically in this screenplay also managing to fit in a good holiday message especially important for kids in the social media age of love and inclusion for all regardless of difference or appearance to make everyone’s holiday experience special. Sappy but sweet. However, the flaws in this new Grinch are so foundational and blasphemous, they almost border the film on unwatchable in case you have a serious pain tolerance – or grew up without a television. First, The Grinch. I cannot even *describe* how sacriligeous what they did to The Mean One is. He feels positively-neutered, like a watered-down spineless version of his former self with soy flowing through his veins even going down to his nasily, pencilpusher-fit voice by the horrifically-miscast Benedict Cumberbatch. Bland, unimposing, rotten as months-old eggnog, cutesy, and not even remotely-intimidating whatsoever – it feels like a spit in the face of my childhood every time I hear this new Grinch say something for a wildly-underwhelming butchering of your main character the entire FILM is based around.
Beyond the film’s titular character flawed on a foundational basis, the dinner party ending is cheesy overdoing its sentimentality to woozy proportions, narrator choice poor in Pharell again feeling too high-pitched in octave for a movie about the Grinch, and B-plot is shameless politicization and virtue-signalling I guess even kids’ movies aren’t safe from nowadays. Sigh. Pushed constantly across the 1.5-hour time slot are feminist-pandering toasts to moms – ONLY moms, not fathers or any single parent dealing with the exact same issues on a daily basis.. The film doesn’t even say what happened to Cindy Lou’s father – is he dead, away, or not home from being at work to provide for his family? I’m getting tired of all this exploitative pandering to social justice causes by multimedia organizations who couldn’t care less about the acutal causes (beyond looking #woke to sell more noon tickets as all they care about), and the film’s central message of being thankful to parents for their sacrifices would’ve worked just as well if both mothers and fathers (you know, *equality* as is said to be the goal) were together praised instead of one or the other. Of course, either way – this type of agenda-pushing and politicization should be wholly-absent from kids’ movies that should be about nothing but fun and innocence, not the creeping feeling you’re being sold a belief set and paying to have your kids brainwashed by anonymous corporate third-parties for an hour and a half every time you go to the movies.
Overall, this new Grinch tale is incredibly split. Visually-stunning in wintery Christmas-burst animation amongst the most vividly resplendent I’ve *ever* seen in the genre with a nice children’s inclusion message, tangy Tyler The Creator sound-revamp, and decent gags – sacrilegiously set along and nearly-squndered by a horrifically-miscast neutered/water-down Grinch and virtue-signals, this take on the classic does enough things to barely make it on Claus’ nice list – although it was about 1-2 more nasily Grinch lines from being given a lump of coal.
Official CLC Score: 5/10