This Grinch will make your Christ­mas

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FILM - (U)

AGOOD heart – even one that is two sizes too small – isn’t hard to find in the charm­ing com­put­eran­i­mated retelling of Dr Seuss’s sea­sonal fa­ble from the mak­ers of De­spi­ca­ble Me and The Se­cret Life Of Pets.

Co-di­rected by Yar­row Cheney and Scott Mosier, The Grinch is an early Christ­mas present crammed to burst­ing with cute crit­ters, slap­stick and boun­ti­ful com­mu­nity spirit.

The film screens with a de­light­ful Min­ions an­i­mated short en­ti­tled Yel­low Is The New Black, which fol­lows two gog­gle-eyed hench-crea­tures as they be­come by­standers to a hare-brained jail­break.

If the gob­blede­gook-spout­ing duo don’t steal the hearts of young au­di­ences with their an­tics, the ex­citable rein­deer and ea­ger-to-please dog which bound through the snowladen frames of The Grinch will.

A trim run­ning time and crisp vi­su­als decked in retina-sear­ing colours of the sea­son should jin­gle the bells of fam­i­lies look­ing to sweeten the bit­ter taste left by The Nutcracker And The Four Realms.

Michael LeSieur and

Tommy Sw­erd­low’s script re­tains some of Dr Seuss’s rhyming cou­plets word for word in the dra­matic set-up and sen­ti­men­tal­ity-driz­zled res­o­lu­tion but de­vi­ates no­tice­ably in a slickly ex­e­cuted yet sac­cha­rine mid-sec­tion, which now boasts a scream­ing goat and an ex­citable rein­deer with a pen­chant for aerosol whipped cream.

The mayor of the far­away town of Whoville (voiced by An­gela Lans­bury) de­crees that this year’s Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions should be three times grander than usual.

Ev­ery­one re­joices ex­cept for The Grinch (Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch), who lives in a cave over­look­ing the town with his trusty pooch Max.

The Grinch de­spises the fes­tive sea­son as a re­sult of child­hood trauma.

The green-furred cur­mud­geon re­solves to poi­son Whoville’s hol­i­day cheer by dress­ing as Santa Claus on Christ­mas Eve and steal­ing the town’s dec­o­ra­tions, trees and presents.

Max will be a wag­ging ac­com­plice and an over­weight rein­deer called Fred will pull the sleigh.

“Santa had eight

– he looks like he ate the other seven,” quips the ver­dant an­ti­hero.

Mean­while, lit­tle Cindy Lou Who (Cameron Seely) hatches a plan to cap­ture Santa Claus so she can ask the man in red to grant her Christ­mas wish: to lighten the load of her over­worked sin­gle mother, Donna (Rashida Jones).

Nar­rated by Phar­rell Wil­liams, The Grinch is en­gi­neered to the same win­ning for­mula as other an­i­ma­tions in the Il­lu­mi­na­tion sta­ble.

Vis­ual gags are largely re­stricted to pun­gent puns on brand names: the epony­mous anti-hero douses him­self in Mold Spice.

Cast­ing Cum­ber­batch in the ti­tle role, then ask­ing him to adopt an Amer­i­can ac­cent, is non­sen­si­cal but the Lon­don­born ac­tor teases the dual as­pects of his char­ac­ter’s gnarled per­son­al­ity.

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