Christmas would be half as nice without a sourpuss with Grinch All I Need Is Coffee And My Dog It Is Too Peopley Outside Shirt. The animated film by Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier packs the Dr. Seuss story about the green Grantler neatly into cotton candy. Bright children’s eyes? Bah, the Grinch could shake with disgust. The green-faced sourpuss forges a diabolical plan. The night before the presents, he steals all the Christmas trees and presents from the parlours of the winter wonder village of Whoville. But the hermit has to recognize with horror: He underestimated the spirit of Christmas. Every good story needs a villain. This also applies to Christmas fairy tales. Eighteen years after the real film adaptation with Jim Carrey, the animation studio Illumination is bringing the Dr. Seuss classic back to the cinema. The home of the Minions knows their way around diabolical villains. At the Grinch (original: Benedict Cumberbatch, dubbing voice: Otto Waalkes), Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney prefer sugar icing and fairy lights instead of rods. The result is an all around sweet Christmas film with a dog sidekick that makes children’s hearts beat faster. Will Benedict Cumberbatch again lend his voice to the Grinch in a sequel? We’ll tell you what the odds are for Grinch 2.
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Who doesn’t know him? The green Christmas muffle “The Grinch” invented by author Theodor Seuss Geisel (known as “Dr. Seuss”). Meanwhile almost as well known as Santa Claus himself, the Grinch has appeared several times in various entertainment media. Meanwhile, the Christmas-hating Grinch only received his most recent screen appearance in the cinemas in 2018 in the animated film of the same name “The Grinch”, in which actor Benedict Cumberbatch (“Doctor Strange”) lent him his voice in the original English version.
But should it have been that with the Grinch for the foreseeable future or can cinema fans soon look forward to Cumberbatch’s return in the role? While official announcements, hints or rumours about a “The Grinch 2” are still missing completely, the chances for a second part can best be seen from the box-office results, critical reactions but also from the content structure of the story about the Grinch himself – so that the chances for a sequel look rather bad:
In 2018, “The Grinch” raised around 511.6 million US dollars worldwide for Studio Universal Pictures with a production budget of around 75 million US dollars, making it “only” a reasonable but not outstanding success. Based on Dr. Seuss’ children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, the 2018 film adaptation also represents a self-contained and independent Christmas story without an open end or hints of a sequel.Critical reactions to the animated film were also relatively mixed and mediocre (59% on Rotten Tomatoes). There was also no clear demand for a sequel.
Previous adaptations of the Grinch (such as the 2000 film adaptation with Jim Carrey in the leading role) also had no sequels, although their actions are always firmly rooted in the well-known and established story of Dr. Seuss’ children’s book. A “Der Grinch 2” would risk to deviate too much from the popular original, contrary to the expectations of the fans.
Both the international box-office results and the mixed reviews of the “Grinch” adaptation of 2018 point to only a small chance that Universal Pictures will choose “The Grinch 2”. The film studio is more likely to reboot the character after a few years. The story of the Grinch from Christmas saboteur to (anti-)hero also offers too little room or even necessity for a sequel. While the exact time for the Grinch’s return to the cinema is therefore uncertain, other animated Christmas films like “Disney’s A Christmas Story” or “The Polar Express” should be ideal means for film fans to bridge the waiting period until the next “Grinch” reboot.
Dr. Seuss’s children’s book “Wie der Grinch Weihnachten gestohlen hat” (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) was published as early as 1957, but the criticism of the commercialisation of Christmas that it contained is becoming even more urgent from year to year (last year Germans spent an average of 465 euros on gifts). Especially in the USA, the Grinch is therefore omnipresent every December, just in time for the festive season: the cartoon adaptation by Chuck Jones, made in 1966, is broadcast on US television every Christmas day. In Germany, on the other hand, Ron Howard’s real film “The Grinch” from the year 2000 helped to increase the popularity of the original. Jim Carrey slipped into the role of the green-haired, christmas-hating creature, who of course is infected in the end by the contemplative Christmas mood in his village.
18 years have passed since then. Now Illumination, the successful forge behind the cartoon hits “I – Simply Incorrigible” and “Pets”, presents a completely new CGI version of the well-known material – and largely ignores the commercial criticism that makes the film so timeless. In the animated film entitled simply “The Grinch” we get to deal with a somewhat grumpy antihero, but at its core a good one right from the start, whose character ambivalence from the original hardly comes to the fore. Instead, directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier focus on humor. With lots of slapstick, bizarre characters and enough emotions, their “The Grinch” is a solid Christmas movie for the whole family that doesn’t hurt anyone.
In the snow-covered village of Whoville, the residents look forward to Christmas all year round. Only one thing: the Grinch (original voice: Benedict Cumberbatch, synchro: Otto Waalkes)! In a lonely hut on an abandoned mountain he waits every year until Christmas is finally over. But this time he ate all his supplies long before Christmas Eve and is therefore forced to go to the village to get supplies. In the pre-Christmas hustle and bustle, the Grinch decides to destroy Christmas forever: Together with his faithful dog Max and a reindeer, one day before Christmas he wants to steal everything that somehow has to do with the festival. However, he didn’t count on the clever Cindy-Lou (voice: Cameron Seely). The little girl wants to meet Santa Claus personally and has set up a trap for this purpose, in which the Grinch of all people gets caught…
Especially in the USA, the stories of Dr. Seuss are incredibly popular, which is why screen adaptations are almost always sure hits. It is therefore not surprising that the “Minions” inventors of Illumination are already bringing their second Seuss adaptation to the cinemas with “The Grinch”. After all, “Der Lorax” generated revenues of more than 210 million dollars in the USA alone. In the rest of the world, the works of the German-born children’s book author and comic-strip artist are less widespread. For “Der Lorax”, only around 480,000 viewers in Germany purchased a ticket. And so it’s not surprising that in the new “Der Grinch” only the rhyming voice-over of the essence of the original is left, but that the makers otherwise orient themselves primarily to current animation and family film standards, which are likely to meet with great approval not only in the United States but worldwide.
The title character, who abysmally despises Christmas, has turned into a solitary loner who already struggles with himself again and again during the first attempts to sabotage the festival of the villagers. Actually, he would love to join in the party himself. Where Jim Carrey’s interpretation in the year 2000 was at least partly fearsome, the animated Grinch is now literally washed away. Even in snowy Whoville nobody is afraid of him. The residents even try again and again to convince him of the beauty of Christmas. This takes the emotional fall of the whole story and is also reflected in the German dubbing. The silliness of cult comedian Otto Waalkes is reminiscent of his interpretation of the sloth Sid in the “Ice Age” films and so he lacks any trace of meanness that actually constitutes the character. Even when he “annoys” the inhabitants of the little town, it sounds more mischievous than vicious.
That the Grinch really wants to destroy Christmas can never be felt. The preparations for the big raid, in which all gifts and Christmas decorations are to disappear from Whoville, prove to be a pure slapstick festival – and also the tragic background story of the protagonist is almost completely faded out: The fact that the Grinch once had to spend a Christmas alone and since then has only had negative thoughts about the festival is only worth a brief, albeit sensitively staged flashback to the scriptwriters Michael LaSieur (“The Jones: Spies from Next Door”) and Tommy Swerdlow (“Snow Dogs – Eight Heroes on Four Paws”).
The soft-washed Grinch is really funny most of the time, which is mainly due to the dynamics within a very unconventional trio: The fact that this time the title character tackles her plans together with his scene-stirring dog Max (who could just as well come from “Pets”) and a lazy, voracious reindeer makes for many amusing scenes and successful punchlines. The development of the main character, who has to admit her feelings bit by bit, also works in the interplay with Max. The narrative around little Cindy-Lou, which takes place parallel to the events in the Grinch Cave and desires nothing more than to finally meet Santa Claus himself, is much more schematic – as is the obligatory meeting of the two characters, in which a few words are enough to make the heart of the Grinch – in the truest sense of the word – three times bigger.
As far as the optical details are concerned, “The Grinch” sets new standards at least in the context of the illumination productions (even if Pixar is still a bit away): The design of Grinch All I Need Is Coffee And My Dog It Is Too Peopley Outside Shirt, whoville with all its Christmas decorations and the glittering lights in the dark is simply breathtaking. In addition there is the strong figure design, even if the Grinch always looks a little too cuddly even with a low face. And so optics, humor and the suppressed nasty side of the title character fit together at least harmoniously – and make “The Grinch” a family-friendly feel-good film.