How The Grinch Lost His Bite

Written by: Zane Brumley

The headline says it all, folks! Now, I’m not going to say the film was bad; I enjoyed myself, for the most part. I only found directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier’s Grinch adaptation problematic because they lost the spirit of who the Grinch is. I would have done some things differently with the overall film, but I can’t say it made a bad film. It was still highly enjoyable, and I’m sure kids will find it entertaining. Maybe I’m just a purist for the Dr. Seuss story since no adaptation can be better than the original cartoon, though the Jim Carrey movie comes close (Maybe you should watch that instead).


I’ll start with my issues with the film…there’s a few big ones. Firstly, the Grinch just isn’t the same character that he used to be. He’s no monster exiled to his mountain ready to ruin Christmas: he’s an orphan forgotten about by Whoville who becomes an antisocial, Christmas-hating kook. I see what the filmmakers were going for here, but it didn’t work for me. It’s obvious that they wanted to make Mr. Grinch more relatable, although that seemed to change what he was, at least in my mind. He still undergoes his transformation and is eventually invited to Christmas dinner by Cindy Lou.

The next issue I had was not with the film necessarily, but Whoville might be the worst place in existence. I’m being dramatic, but really, their first offense came when they didn’t bother to take care of little orphan Grinch on Christmas all those years ago. Next, they constantly shoved Christmas in his face despite knowing the poor dude wasn’t having it. The worst part was that it wasn’t until Cindy Lou arrived on the Grinch’s doorstep that he was ever invited to take part in Christmas. That’s the end of my Whoville rant, sorry.

Arguably the biggest crime this movie committed was the total underutilization of Danny Elfman, the film’s composer, most known for his work on The Nightmare Before Christmas. I could forgive that offense had the film not used some wacko Grinch rap rather than the famous theme we all know of. Perhaps I’m being too critical. Don’t worry, I’m getting to the positives.

The film does a few great things that are worthy of note. The animation is absolutely beautiful. I especially enjoyed scenes involving the Christmas lights, the lighting effects were superb. Everything seemed crisp and pretty, and I think Illumination outdid themselves on the technical aspects.

The casting of the film was great too. I think Benedict Cumberbatch (it took everything I had to not mess with his name) was a fantastic choice for the Grinch. He has some amazing vocal range. Rashida Jones as Donna Lou, Cindy Lou’s mother, was fun too.

From a story perspective, I enjoyed what they did with Cindy Lou and her crew. I was thankful to not have Donna Lou and Cindy Lou struggling with the absent father. Going into the film, I was worried that Mr. Grinch was going to fill that role or that the family would be struggling to cope. It wouldn’t have fit for me. Cindy Lou’s side-story about trying to talk with Santa to help with her mom’s stress was delightful, and her friends were entertaining. I’m glad Cindy Lou got more screen time than in the cartoon.

The Grinch really is enjoyable, so don’t take all my eccentric criticism as hard truth. I highly encourage everyone to see it. If you don’t think about it too much, then you’re certainly going to have a fun experience.