The Grinch (2018)
There were sightings of Santa and browbeating encouragements to buy useless junk for Chrissie as early as October this year (thankfully, the nauseating carols by candlelight are still kept to a later date), so for some of us the grumpy green Grinch has every right to be the way he is. In Ron Howard’s adaptation of the much-loved book by Dr. Seuss, How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), the curmudgeonly creature, starring a fabulously costumed and made-up Jim Carrey, was genuinely menacing and nasty towards the real-life humans that he encountered. In this animated revival, Benedict Cumberbatch voices the part, but the character has been watered down to the point where he is not much worse than a naughty prankster, and certainly nowhere near as scary as Carrey’s creation. As a hermit living with his dog Max in a cave on Mount Crumpet, the Grinch is content to have nothing to do with the residents of nearby Whoville, but when they declare that this festive season will be three times bigger and better than before, he feels compelled to counter their joyous [sic] celebrations by disguising himself as Santa Claus and running amok through the merriment. It depends on your own disposition, but the back-story given to the Grinch – he was an abandoned child – feels patronising by suggesting that the poor bloke would otherwise be like every other goody-two-shoes in Whoville. Otherwise, the film is brightly coloured and moves along at a ripping pace that does not allow for its audience of ankle-biters to get restive at any point. Max the dog is especially engaging, and the inventions that the Grinch has scattered around his house are clever and will stimulate young minds. More importantly, there was a lot of squealy laughter at the session I attended; the Grinch pinches a jar of food from a lady’s basket, has a taste of its contents, spews the food back into the jar, returns it to the unsuspecting shopper’s basket – and the kids go right off.