A New Twist on a Christmas Classic

A review of The Grinch (2018)


Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Elizabeth Hahn, Staff Writer

Everyone knows the story of the moody, green Grinch. He’s mean, annoyed by the Who’s, and hates Christmas a lot. However, this story has been reinvented for this year’s holiday season. The Grinch, which came out on November 9th, is a perfect movie to get into the holiday spirit.

The first two versions of this movie were about how the Grinch stole Christmas. The one from 1966 didn’t even feature voice actors, just a narrator leading you through the story. The 2000 Grinch was a live-action play on the story. The Grinch dislikes Christmas and wants it to go away, so he steals trees, presents, lights, and decorations. It ultimately works, but the Who’s stay positive despite this. The Grinch has a change of heart in the end and celebrates with all of Whoville.

In this rendition, which is slightly different than the 1966 and 2000 ones, the Grinch hates Christmas and has decided to seclude himself from everybody except his loyal dog Max. The story also follows Cindy Lou Who. All Cindy wants for Christmas is for her single mother of three to be happy and free of stress. Another notable character in the plot is Mr. Bricklebaum, the biggest fan of Christmas in Whoville. His positivity and Christmas cheer irritates the Grinch, since he loathes this holiday.

The holiday hatred of the Grinch stems from his orphancy. Not having anyone to spend Christmas with ruined the whole holiday for him. This particular holiday season pushed him over the edge as he plans to “steal Christmas.” Cindy Lou Who and her friends set a trap for Santa, but it ends up in a different way than expected. She is oblivious to the situation and tells “Santa” her wish. In the end, the Who family’s positivity despite their favorite holiday being taken away gives the Grinch a new perspective on life and a new size of his heart.

One thing that was very interesting was the difference in the root of the Grinch’s hate for Christmas to previous adaptations. The backstory on why he hates Christmas so much isn’t really explained in the 1966 version. However in the live-action movie in the 2000s showed that the Grinch hated Christmas because he was bullied at his classes’ Christmas party while trying to give a gift to his crush, Martha. As previously stated, the newer rendition takes it to a deeper level. The Grinch grew up in an orphanage and seeing other kids celebrating with their families upset him. He isolated himself from Whoville because he believed he had no one who cared about him. The newer movie’s approach at the backstory was heartbreaking. It made the audience understand why the Grinch was the way he was and feel for him.

This movie also introduced new characters to the story that made it even more engaging. A big addition to the the known characters was Fred, an overweight reindeer. The Grinch wants Fred to guide his sleigh in order to steal Christmas. However, Fred has a family that the Grinch doesn’t know about, so he decides to let him go. Cindy Lou Who’s friends are also new characters. Their names are Groopert, Ozzy, Axl and Izzy. These kids are notable because they help Cindy set up the scheme to capture Santa in order to ask for her wish. Adding new characters made it feel new and enjoyable, even if the tale of the Grinch is already known.

This also gave the story a new meaning.

The first making of this story was more focused on the Grinch with Cindy as a side character. The 2000 version, showed her feeling the loss of the true meaning of Christmas, but she still seems like more of a side character. Cindy was the heart of the newest Grinch movie. She was so kind. Helping her single mother feel happy was all she wanted. Cindy made everyone appreciate all that parents do for them, as well as inspire giving gifts to others that will make them happy. The true meaning of Christmas shines through the movie. Spending time with family and giving to others is what it’s all about. Cindy Lou Who’s selflessness made the Grinch’s heart grow and quite possibly the watcher’s heart, too.

Even though this movie is full of emotional elements, it also comes off as a comedy. For example, the attitude of Max is enough to make someone laugh. You catch him rolling his eyes and sassing the Grinch, even though he’s just a dog. Mr. Bricklebaum and the Grinch’s relationship as frenemies also brings in some comedic effect. Mr. Bricklebaum thinks that the Grinch is his best friend, and it’s clear in the Grinch’s face that he doesn’t like him. They have a few interesting encounters that add to the humor of the movie. This movie does have a lot of comedic relief, despite some of the heavy subjects it talks about.

Although it is mainly geared towards kids, The Grinch is a great movie for anyone. It has a balance of comedy and seriousness that could honestly keep any audience captivated in the story. Many people, specifically teens and young adults, feel the new alteration of this movie will ruin the past ones. It’s honestly not even the same story. The people behind this movie took a classic Christmas tale that everyone knows and put a new twist on it. Although some of the characters and parts of the plot are similar to the older two movies, this version is definitely worth seeing. It will be sure to bring out laughter and maybe even a few tears.