A screenshot from the trailer of the 2018 remake of “The Grinch.”

‘The Grinch’ returns with some contemporary flair

Many viewers will find sweet charm in this film.

December 2, 2018

This time of year may be filled with cliche Christmas movies, but it isn’t Hallmark flicks that have people buzzing. It’s the remake of Dr. Seuss’s “The Grinch” that’ll either leave your heart growing three times bigger or feeling nothing at all.

Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, accompanied by writers Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow, not only recreated one of the world’s most popular Christmas films, but modernized its plot as well.

In the original 1966 Dr. Suess movie, the Grinch is the infamous green, Christmas-hating man that lives on top of the coldest mountain in Whoville. The movie flows alongside Dr. Seuss’s famous rhyming narrative told by Boris Karloff, who also voiced the Grinch himself.

In the new flick, we see the Grinch represented similarly to the one of the original animated film — furry and cynical, accompanied by a dog, hating anything and everything cheerful. However, despite the original similarities, the directors drew some vast differences in their production.

Though the Grinch’s past remains the young boy who grew up isolated from other children, spending Christmas alone thus rooting the cause of his major resentment toward the holiday and those who celebrate — the town of Whoville is now redesigned. Cindy Lou Who’s family dynamic is altered, giving her a single mother and two twin siblings along with a friend group never previously shown.  

It’s clear that the directors tried to make the movie more 21st-century. Instead of primarily using Dr. Suess’s narrative and some festive instrumentals, they tapped Tyler, the Creator and others to write more contemporary sounds for the soundtrack. They also changed the storyline of Cindy Lou Who; the young girl still changes the Grinch for the better but the movie focuses in on her life more, adopting an entirely new plot of her trying to trap Santa Claus with the help of her friends.

Many viewers will find sweet charm in this film. The theme of Christmas being about your heart rather than gifts, partnered with the adorable animated characters, will likely win over most audience members. Plus, it’s a great message for the kids. However, going from the first animated film to the live-action adaptation might make some viewers who grew up on “The Grinch” get restless.

This is a story that’s been told again and again. With different versions to choose from, it’s difficult to say whether or not this new adaptation is comparable. In a poll posted by @TheZooReport on Instagram asking which movie people liked better — the two animated versions or live action — the majority of respondents favored the live-action film. A few of those people explained why they made their decision.

“It isn’t even that it’s live action,” sophomore Alexis Sheehan said. “The story is better. It shows the Grinch’s past better, the relationship between Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch is better — it was just done the best, I think.”

Another sophomore, Sheila Lynch, shared a similar opinion.

“I’ve seen the original animated version and when I was little I loved it,” Lynch said. “But then I saw the live-action one when I was a little older and it just made it come to life. I saw the new one too, and if I had to pick one it would definitely be the live-action. I don’t know if they’ll ever beat that.”

It isn’t that the new Grinch isn’t good; it is really well done, has great animation quality and creativity, kills the game with music by Pharrell Williams and gives a cartoon puppy the cutest personality. But in comparison to the two iconic films that preceded it, it may not sway people away from their childhood.

Maybe when young kids today go to college, they’ll get cozy in their dorms to watch a childhood Christmas movie and this new adaptation of “The Grinch” will play. Maybe if the original is on TV during Christmas break, I’ll flick it on — that is, if the live action isn’t already playing.

Email Kacey at [email protected].

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