The Grinch

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The Grinch
Grinch 2018.jpg
While not as disrespectful
as his last cinematic outing,
Illumination's Grinch will
still leave audiences doubting.
Genre: Animated
Directed By: Scott Mosier
Yarrow Cheney
Produced By: Chris Meledandri
Janet Healy
Written By: Michael LeSieur
Tommy Swerdlow
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch
Rashida Jones
Kenan Thompson
Cameron Seely
Angela Lansbury
Photography: Color
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Release Date: October 22, 2018 (Regency Village Theater)
November 9, 2018 (United States)
Runtime: 86 minutes
Country: United States

"The Grinch" (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Grinch) is a 2018 American computer-animated Christmas fantasy comedy film produced by Illumination Entertainment and distributed by Universal Pictures. Based on the 1957 book How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, it is the third screen adaptation of the book, following the television special from 1966 starring Boris Karloff and the live-action film released in 2000 by Ron Howard starring Jim Carrey.

Directed by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier (in his directorial debut), written by Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow, and narrated by Pharrell Williams, the film stars the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, and Angela Lansbury. The film premiered at Regency Village Theatre on October 22, 2018 and was released in the United States on November 9, 2018, in RealD 3D, IMAX, IMAX 3D, Dolby Cinema, and 4DX theaters.

It is also the final film adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book during the lifetime of Seuss's widow Audrey Geisel, who died on December 19, 2018, and was an executive producer of the film.


The Grinch and his loyal dog, Max, live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet. His main source of aggravation comes during Christmastime when his neighbours in Whoville celebrate the holidays with a bang. When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realises 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.

Bad Qualities

  1. The main problem with the film is that all of the character writing is all informed instead of being shown, which, once again, is a mixed bag: notably how the Grinch is written to be a terrifying grump who outright hates Christmas because of his past experiences with it, but his backstory and personality hardly make it look like he outright hates Christmas, as the former just shows him having to miss out on Christmas instead of being scarred by it and the latter makes him too normal to be seen as if he's a terrifying grump.
  2. Another main problem with this film is that the pacing is too fast, making the viewers hard to track on the story, not to mention that some scenes are filler considering that the plot is minimal.
  3. The Grinch's design, while beautifully animated and faithfully translated from the book and the animated special, feels more soft than menacing. Max's design also looks out of place and feels like a lost background dog from The Secret Life of Pets, another film produced by Illumination.
    • On the related said topic, the Grinch's design also goes against the iconic song; "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Tyler, the Creator. For example, when one hears the lyrics; "You have termites in your smile", describing how disgusting he is, they’ll see that his teeth are perfectly molded and white, which is inconsistent, especially since in the book and 2000 film, his teeth were extremely yellow (and in the latter, literally had termites like the song says).
  4. While the voice acting is good overall, it can be seem rather off and miscast.
    1. While Benedict Cumberbatch (who played Doctor Strange) does a pretty good job for voicing as the Grinch, his voice sounds way too normal for the role and he sounds more like someone who is mildly peeved than someone who has no soul and is the physical embodiment of evil. He is not even that cruel, or presented as a real bad guy, just a misunderstood loner who's reclusive but doesn’t want to be alone, coming off as a knock-off of Gru from Despicable Me. In both films, our main character is evil and tries to steal something and later has a change of heart.
      • He even then goes back and forth from liking Christmas to not, despite the narration using exact lines from the book about how much he hates it. This is not only inconsistent with the character, but also inconsistent with the goal of giving the Grinch character while being faithful to the original story.
    2. Cameron Seely as Cindy Lou Who sounds more like a little boy's voice instead of a girl's voice, which feels unfitting, despite that Carmeron Seely is an actress.
    3. Pharrell Williams as the narrator can be kind of bland and kind of unfitting.
    4. Angela Lansbury as Mayor McGerkle (aka the Mayor of Whoville) only appears for one scene and that's pretty much it, making her seem like wasted talent.
  5. It, once again, runs into the same issue most of these adaptations run into the length. The film is an hour and 26 minutes long and the changes instead consist of way too much padding and filler without properly enhancing its narrative, just so they could have an excuse to make a film out of the book, similar to another Dr. Seuss for Illumination film, The Lorax.
  6. The new reindeer character, Fred, is just a pointless comic relief character who shows up for a few scenes and then shows up at the end to finally do something, when the Grinch is saving Christmas presents.
  7. While better than the infamous 2000 film, the comedy is quite mediocre even for Illumination standards, including the use of internet memes such as the "Screaming Goat" being used randomly as a joke, when the Grinch was trying to find the reindeer and all the goats were ran away, through there is no pop-culture references.
  8. All of the new characters created for this film, especially Cindy Lou's friends, are pretty much pointless and forgettable.
  9. The film would often leave out some of the important dialogue, such as "Maybe Christmas, he thought...doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps...means a little bit more.".
  10. The rap song version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" performed by Tyler, the Creator was very poorly done attempt at being hip and cool with the kids.
  11. The scene where the Grinch gets fat when he has emotional eating is uncomfortable and gross.

Good Qualities

  1. Amazing animation, which is a nice step-up for Illumination films. The art style itself is at least somewhat very accurate to the Dr. Seuss books, although it still has some out of place designs and the lazy reuse of assets that make it rather distracting for Illumination standards.
    • In fact, one shot in the film where the Grinch looks down on Whoville looks visually stunning.
    • The concept art for the film is also fantastic at least, even if the film ended up being bland.
    • Likewise, even though Max's design is out of place, it does look cute and faithful as well.
  2. Good voice acting, a particular highlight being Kenan Thompson as Bricklebaum and Benedict Cumberbatch as The Grinch as mentioned before.
  3. It isn't nearly as insulting and mean-spirited as the previous attempt at a Grinch adaptation, as the film is a lot more lighthearted than the 2000 live-action adaptation, for example, it lacks the scene where the Grinch saves Cindy, but the former regrets doing so and wraps Cindy in gift paper, as well as throwing the dark atmosphere out of the window in favor of a happier tone that fits Dr. Seuss better.
  4. Depending on your opinion, the movie actually has the Grinch treating Max nicely in some scenes, which (again, depending on your opinion) is a nice change from the original 1966 special and 2000 film.
  5. Unlike Illumination's previous Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax, it doesn't have as much pop culture references (if at all) and is more faithful to the book unlike the special it is based on, as well as the live-action Cat in the Hat film, outside of internet memes, such as screaming goat.
  6. Danny Elfman's score is amazing, as always. In particular, the songs are catchy, except the infamous rap song version of "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" performed by Tyler, the Creator.
  7. Some scenes can be pretty funny, such as Grinch getting hit by a rubber Santa while taking a walk, the setups to the Grinch's cruel acts to the civilians of Whoville and one of Cindy-Lou's friends holding a candy cane like a cigarette.
  8. The Grinch's backstory, despite being completely pointless, is depressing for what it is and it doesn't take up most of the film.
  9. The ending isn't too bad and was actually heart-warming.


The Grinch received mixed to average reviews, through somewhat positive feedback from critics and fans of the original book and special, with praised the animation, heart, Danny Elfman's score and the vocal performances (particularly Cumberbatch's), but criticized its screenplay, humor, and felt the film added little or nothing new to the source material. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 59% based on 189 reviews and an average rating of 5.97/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Grinch gives the classic Seuss source material a brightly animated update that's solidly suitable for younger viewers without adding substantially to the story's legacy.". On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 51 out of 100, based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while PostTrak reported filmgoers gave it an 83% positive score and a 75% "definite recommend".

Box office

The Grinch grossed $270.8 million in the United States and Canada, and $241 million in other countries, for a total worldwide gross of $511.8 million, against a production budget of $75 million. Deadline Hollywood calculated its net profit to be $184.6 million, making it the ninth most-profitable release of 2018. It is Universal's second biggest hit of 2018 behind Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. As with most Illumination films, it was a box office success, becoming the highest-grossing holiday film of all-time, as well as the highest-grossing Dr. Seuss film adaptation. In the United States and Canada, The Grinch was released alongside The Girl in the Spider's Web and Overlord, and was projected to gross $55–65 million from 4,140 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $18.7 million on its first day, including $2.2 million from Thursday night previews, more than the $1.7 million taken in by Illumination's Sing in 2016. It went on to debut to $67.6 million, finishing first at the box office and topping the 2000 film's $55 million opening. In its second weekend the film made $38.2 million, finishing second behind newcomer Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. In its third weekend the film made $30.2 million (including $42 million over the five-day Thanksgiving period), finishing fourth. In its fourth and fifth weekends, the film finished second behind Ralph Breaks the Internet, grossing $17.9 million and $15.0 million, respectively. It marked the first-ever time animated films were the top two films at the box office in back-to-back weekends.



  • Illumination originally wanted Cumberbatch to voice the Grinch in his natural accent, however, Cumberbatch felt that since the rest of the cast is American, the Grinch himself should have an American accent.
  • To promote the film, a giant inflatable balloon featuring the titular character first appeared at the 91st Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on November 23, 2017, 1 year ahead of its release. Later in December 2018, The Grinch and Max also made cameos in that year's WNBC/WNJU holiday sing-along promo.
  • Beginning in October, various billboards appeared for the film, each featuring an image of the Grinch, accompanied by a mean or ironic message. These later became an internet meme, with many people making edits of them.
  • Because Warner Animation Group decided to make more Dr Seuss movies, this was the last Dr Seuss film to be produced by Illumination.
  • Cumberbatch, the voice of the Grinch, is also voiced as both Doctor Strange and Strange Supreme from the MCU movies and the Disney+'s animated series What If...?
  • In the Latin American dub, the one who voices the Grinch is the famous actor and comedian, Eugenio Derbez.

External links


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