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Dr. Seuss' The Grinch

also known as “Grinch,” “El Grinch,” “Le Grinch,” “Il Grinch,” “Der Grinch,” See more »
MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for brief rude humor.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Family • Kids • Teens • Adults
Animation Family Comedy Christmas
1 hr. 30 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
November 9, 2018 (wide—4,141 theaters)
DVD: February 5, 2019
Copyright, Universal Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
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What is the true meaning of CHRISTMAS?
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Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures Copyright, Universal Pictures
Featuring Benedict CumberbatchGrinch (voice)
Rashida JonesDonna Lou Who (voice)
Angela LansburyThe Mayor of Whoville (voice)
Scarlett Estevez … Izzy
Cameron Seely … Cindy Lou Who (voice)
Kenan ThompsonBricklebaum (voice)
Pharrell WilliamsNarrator (voice)
Ramone Hamilton … Axl
Tristan O'Hare … Groopert
Director Yarrow Cheney
Scott Mosier
Producer Universal Pictures
Illumination Entertainment
Perfect World Pictures (Beijing) [China]
See all »
Distributor Distributor: Universal Pictures. Trademark logo.Universal Pictures

Community expression of Christmas joy, blessing of family and friends, kindness and love

The Grinch—he hates Christmas. He hates it a lot. He hates the decorations, the songs, the presents and especially those dreaded Christmas cookies! The whole holiday season just brings back bad childhood memories for him. And, even it if weren’t the Christmas season, he truly believes that, other than for his buddy Max and a local Who that he knows, he is better off alone.

But this year, Christmas is different in Whoville. It’s bigger and better. In fact, the mayor wants it 3x bigger than last year! “3 times bigger!” the Grinch thinks, “Why, oh why!” So he comes up with, a mean, old dastardly Grinch of a plan: stop Christmas from coming. But how, you might ask? He’s going to steal Christmas from the Whos—the decorations, the presents, the lights, all of it. Will he be able to pull it off?

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch.

“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” is a tale that many of us could tell over and over again. Whether you are a fan of the original book or the Jim Carrey version (which I am a fan of, though perhaps I’m in the minority amongst critics), or this current re-telling, its classic tale of acceptance amongst difference, love triumphing against hate, and how even the most the unlikely person can have a change of heart when given the circumstances. All of these tellings relate values that “Dr. Seuss” (Theodor Seuss Geisel) wanted to ensure children continued to receive, regardless of who told the story (yes, you can even find some of that in the somewhat, more questionable Jim Carrey version).

I say this because when I walked into the theater this afternoon, I had low expectations for this film. Not because it was a children’s movie, but because it’s a story by Dr. Seuss, one of his most memorable, and one that, since it has been told before, needs to reach children in a new way, a way that will inspire a new generation to reach toward kindness and compassion toward others (especially in a time where hate and evil seem to be more and more prevalent in television and media), which is what The Grinch story is supposed to teach children in the first place.

To that end, I must say I was pleasantly surprised with this film. It definitely had more heart than I was expecting and far less questionable content that Illumniation’s other films (such as the “Despicable Me” franchise). When I say heart, I truly mean HEART, as I felt more for The Grinch in this story, as did many children I heard in the theater reacting to the scenes. The Grinch has a backstory that is relatable and understandable (though not justifiable) in his actions toward others. Additionally, throughout the film, we see true redemption in characters. It’s not shallow or forced upon the audience, and even made this reviewer, deep down, shed a tear.

However, what is truly uplifting in this film is that messages and Christian themes are presented and promoted in a positive manner. For example, there is one scene in the film, as The Grinch is trying to steal a sleigh for his heist, where he peaks into a window of Whos gathered together, smiling, and singing “Silent Night,” reverently and respectfully, which effects The Grinch, as well, before he continues. Additionally, in other parts of the films, we see other Whos happily singing Christ-based Christmas carols to one another (“O Holy Night” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”). Again, this is done in a playful, but also respectful manner. This is encouraging, since these Christian themes do not appear in many secular children’s films these days.

Of course, none of this would matter, in my opinion, if the other cinematic aspects were strong, which they are. The performances from Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest of the crew is relatively strong, and the animation, as always, is simply beautiful. The pacing of the story is also relatively smooth, with an appropriate run time of 90 minutes.

Minor Objectionable Content

Violence: Mild. The Grinch, in all his grinch-iness, pulls a few mean tricks on people throughout the film. For example, he catapults a Who by pulling on some Garland. He also destroys the head of a Who’s snowman. We witness The Grinch being knocked out by an Inflatable Santa. The Grinch also gets hit by a tree trunk at one point. There is also a very brief moment of peril.

Language: Mild—includes “heck,” “geez,” “Holy moly,” “Oh sugar plum,” and an obesity joke about a reindeer

Sexuality/Nudity: A couple Whos share a kiss (they are married though). The Grinch wakes up in his underwear. A Who loses his clothes during an activity (we see him holding a cookie to cover up something).

Other: In a grocery store, The Grinch purposely knocks off a canned item someone is trying to reach of the shelf, and it shatters. In the same store, he eats a pickle, spits it out, puts it in another jar and places that jar in another cart.

Spiritual issues

As I said, one of the central themes of all The Grinch tales is the theme of being alone. The Grinch has spent his entire time being alone up on Mount Krumpit, ever since he was a child. As he states to Max, “It’s just better this way.”

Sometimes, I know there are moments where I, myself, feel like I’m alone in my struggles and troubles and that perhaps God could really care less. But I know this is a lie! This is the Father of Lies feeding me this! I’m never alone. The Lord promises us in the Scriptures:

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. —John 14:23

“It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” -Deuteronomy 31:8

And this is the Scripture that reminds us of God’s strength in our life, lest we forget how powerful an ally we have:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” —1 Corinthians 10:13

Finals Thoughts

“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” is a story that, sure, has been told before. In a time where there is so much hate and despair though, our children, and even adults, may NEED this story. All I can say to Illumination is, “Well done.” This telling of The Grinch is strong in many respects (apart from some minor objectionable content) and provides firm morals grounded in love, acceptance and in never being alone. I can highly recommend this film for family viewing, as there is very little to be cautious about.

What is Christian LOVE? Answer

  • Violence: Mild
  • Profane language: Minor
  • Vulgar/Crude language: None
  • Nudity: None
  • Sex: None
  • Occult: None

An accurate explanation of the purpose Jesus Christ’s birth. Answers for skeptics. Plus Christmas carols, games, coloring pages, reviews of Christmas movies, and more%u2026

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I didn’t think I would like this movie, but was pleasantly surprised. Went with six grandkids, ages 3-7 and they were thrilled by it.

Unlike the original Grinch and the one with Jim Carrey, which I found to be rather dark, this grinch has a different, lighter and happier storyline which loosely follows the original. I couldn’t believe it when a group of carolers sang “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” and included the name of Jesus. Later on, they sang “Silent Night.”

Merry “Christmas” was spelled out in full without an “X” shown throughout. No dark humor, vulgarity or double entendres that I caught.

A fun kick-off to the holidays. Colorful and terrific CG throughout.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Dennis, age 65 (USA)
Positive—First of all, “The Grinch” is miles better than the Jim Carrey version. That over-the-top flick was overly-long and had some very unnecessary adult jokes. The only great things about it were Faith Hill’s “Where Are You, Christmas?” and the terrific set design.

This new version is much more faithful to the story’s kid-friendly feel as well as the 1960’s classic cartoon. Benedict Cumberbatch is terrific here voicing Mr. Grinch. In the meantime, we get a couple hints/quick flashbacks that help explain why the Grinch disliked Christmas to begin with. Besides that, Cindy Lou Who (aged up a little bit from previous versions) is given a very interesting plotline. The last 30 minutes, in the meantime, elevate the film above average animated fare. There’s a couple of very touching scenes, and make you feel more for the characters than in some other previous Seuss films. The animation is like a children’s book coming to life, filled with nice visual touches here and there (the “Light’s Maze,” in particular, is a treat). Some genuinely funny moments as well.

On the downside, the new character Fred the Reindeer isn’t given enough to do. Besides the gag he gets in the trailer, he’s not really given much after that. I found him to fit well with the story, and wanted to see more of him. Also, while it was nice to hear Angela Lansbury again (she voices Whoville’s mayor), I really wish it wasn’t just a glorified cameo. Also, I thought remaking “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” as a rap version to be a big mistake. It’s so out-of-place with the feel of the rest of the film. Thankfully its” only heard for a couple minutes at the beginning (another rap song is heard at the beginning of the end credits, and it also doesn’t fit).

That being said, it is so great to hear “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “Silent Night” being sung in this movie. We don’t hear these types of Christmas songs much in Christmas movies these days. In the meantime, the film’s main messages of kindness, love, selflessness and forgiveness are definitely worth cheering for.

So, while this version of “The Grinch” isn’t quite a classic, its” still a very fun holiday movie. Parents will be glad also that this movie is mostly G-rated fun. The only things here that might have given the PG rating are two stray moments (there’s some Looney Tunes-like slapstick pratfalls here too). One is a possible hallucination joke when someone says “I don’t know what’s in this cake but I think I saw Santa Claus.” The other is when a kid’s clothes are accidentally yanked off, and we see him naked (with only a cookie covering his private parts).
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
Blake Wilson, age 24 (USA)
Positive—We watched this on Netflix and were very pleasantly surprised. My daughter and I both wanted a smaller, sweeter Cindy Lou, who was an older and spunky departure from the traditional depiction. My complaints were the truly awful rap music cover of the classic Grinch song and the final credits song, as well as a very average narrator performance by Pharrell Williams—who really doesn&rsquot;t have a notable narrating voice, especially for this genre. Further, the voice of Grinch’s “best friend” Mr. Bricklebaum was entirely miscast with an African American actor. It made no sense at all—almost as if the producers were making sure to get the diversity quotas checked. Mr. Bricklebaum is a lumberjack mountain-man backwoods kind of guy in the story.

But the visuals and animation were fantastic. Elfman’s score was genius as usual. Cumberbatch was so good in character, I wouldn’t have never guessed it was him. Nothing at all offensive from a very conservative Christian household’s point of view, and we hardly every watch modern movies aimed at kids. There weren’t even any progressive political statements (except perhaps the afore-mentioned multiculturalism). Very much recommended—just cover your ears if you don’t like the rap songs.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Daniel G, age 49 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—I really enjoyed this film as I am a HUGE FAN OF THE GRINCH! Based on the trailers, I wasn’t sure how I was going to enjoy it, but to my surprise, I really did. It was really nice to watch a kids movie (I am almost 18) without constant fart jokes (minions) or mean spirited name calling (Disney). “The Grinch” was a fun movie with an excellent message that all should be exposed too! There were NO misuses of the Lord’s name, no hints at profanity, no rude jokes about bottoms or anything, and overall, the Grinch was a lot less rough edged then he was in the 2000 version. The Grinch was also a lot more caring towards his dog Max.

Another thing that surprised me were the Christmas Carols they chose to use. Instead of running to the usuals like “Jingle Bells” or “Oh Christmas Tree”, they used carols that actually point to the TRUE meaning of Christmas and reference the Birth of our Lord Jesus. And they treated them with respect and didn’t make a huge joke out of them or obscure the Lords name from being heard. You would never hear those kinds of songs on a Disney movie. It teaches many Christ like messages like being kind to each other, and welcoming someone who was wronged you.

Overall, I really enjoyed “The Grinch” and am looking forward to viewing it again in the future.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
Sterling Nix, age 17
Positive—My cousin and my Aunt took my brother and me to see “The Grinch,” and we loved it. It was a whole lot better than Jim Carrey’s role as The Grinch
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
Charlene Kelley (USA)

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