Complete A-Z list

Grinch, The


Stars: Voices: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Angela Lansbury, Pharrell Williams

Director: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney

November 9th saw the release (just a tad early, possibly?) of another major Christmas movie, marking the return (in animated form once more) of the legendary miserable green Xmas-hating humanoid killjoy, created by Dr Seuss in a 32-line poem called The Hoobub and the Grinch in 1955's Redbook and then starred in the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas in 1977.

Memorably voiced by Boris Karloff in an animated television special in 1966, The Grinch was played to the hilt by Jim Carrey (after Jack Nicholson and Eddie Murphy reportedly auditioned for the role) in 2000's live-action extravaganza.

And now he's back again, in an attractively animated version, in which the Whos of Whoville state they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year. And inevitably the Grinch, not pleased at having his seasonal tranquillity invaded yet again, in fine miserable form sets out to keep his promise "I know what to do: I'm going to steal their Christmas!".

And his plan? Using a laid-back deer to pull his sleigh, the green grump poses as Santa on Christmas Eve - only, quite expectedly, his evil plans are destroyed by a young Who girl who, with her friends, foils the Grinch and turns him into someone so sweet he could well do with a large dose of insulin.

Undemanding Christmas-hungry youngsters should enjoy the animated sugary fun concocted by screenwriters Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow, but it's rather less likely that older kids will be quite as enthusiastic watching the bland leading the bland.

Cumberbatch (possibly better heard than seen, as those of
us who saw him on stage in the National Theatre production of Frankenstein might agree), voices the title character with undisguised relish.

But while he's acceptable enough, he doesn't get near fellow-Englishman Karloff's sublime voicing of the Grinch.

Alan Frank

USA/China 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
85 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 17 Nov 2018