Cert U 90mins Stars 3
Benedict Cumberbatch goes green in this colourful animated family adventure from the makers of the Despicable Me franchise.
It’s based on the 1957 children’s book, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, by the genius author, Dr Seuss, and the Sherlock star voices The Grinch, a mountain dwelling creature who lives all alone except for his faithful pooch, Max.
Due to having a heart two sizes too small, the Grinch hates Christmas and plans to run it for the happy singing townsfolk of Who-ville, a village which looks like an electric rainbow of Swiss chalets.
Meanwhile a pigtailed poppet called Cindy Lou lives with her hard working single mum and twin baby brothers, and she intends to trap Santa Claus so she can ask him for a very personal Christmas wish.
Cindy Lou is voiced by Cameron Seely, best known as Hugh Jackman’s daughter in the smash hit musical, The Greatest Showman.
As The Narrator, singer Pharrell Williams has nearly as many lines as Cumberbatch, though sadly too many of them have been written especially for the film, while veteran actress Angela Lansbury can be heard in a minor role of as the voice of The Mayor of Who-ville.
Home to everyone’s favourite yellow idiots, the Minions, the Illumination Studio are the same company who produced the 2012 adaptation of Seuss’s masterpiece, The Lorax.
Although it captured Seuss’s unique illustrative style while souping it up with state-of-the-art animation, it included too little of his wonderful whimsical charm and the childish delights of his verse. And this is no different.
Giving the Grinch a hard-luck backstory helps the scriptwriters flesh out the slim source material to a full 90 minutes, and encourages us to sympathise with him.
Mind you, it’s more than possible not to have been raised in an orphanage and hate Christmas songs playing on the radio with the same passion The Grinch does.
Equally under-served is the velvet voiced Cumberbatch who struggles with a strangulated US accent while striving manfully with some of the weakest material of his career, and is often reduced to just providing yips, yowls and yelps.
However there’s plenty of slapstick and sentiment among the cute animals and crazy contraptions, plus all the fur and clothes look reassuringly warm and cosy in the frozen landscape.
More appealing than Jim Carey’s laboured live-action adaption which appeared 18 years ago, little kids will enjoy this version for its zippy pace, bold colours and daft humour.