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Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Movie Review: A Kinder Green Meanie

Benedict Cumberbatch voices a Grinch we can all understand and relate to.

Reviewed by on Nov 08, 2018
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch movie. It’s a new version of the holiday classic that will make you chuckle and think about including the lonely this holiday season.

By: Lynn Barker

In Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), the evil green meanie resents the Whoville residents living in the valley below for over-celebrating the Christmas season and messing up his isolated solitude in his posh cave above. To get his peace and quiet back, he must steal their Christmas, especially since they’ve decided to make it three times bigger this year. Below, young Cindy-Lou Who (Cameron Seely) wants to trap Santa during his Christmas Eve rounds in order to ask him to give her over-worked single mom some rest. The two schemes will collide with unexpected results.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Trailer

Three Times Bigger!

While the Whos in the village decorate to the max for Christmas, the Grinch is kicking himself for “emotional eating” and hates that his radio alarm clock only plays holiday music.

Whoville is three times more decorated this yearWhoville is three times more decorated this yearCourtesy of Universal Studios

Out of food, Grinch and beloved dog Max have to go for groceries to Whoville. We see that Donna Who (Rashida Jones), mom to twins and young Cindy-Lou, is bravely overworked and barely coping. A Christmas choral group chases the Grinch who is then mean to everyone in the grocery store as well as Cindy-Lou who has dropped her important letter to Santa. She thinks of walking to the North Pole to talk to him but mom nixes that.

Chased by holiday carolers, the Grinch reaches the grocery storeChased by holiday carolers, the Grinch reaches the grocery storeCourtesy of Universal Studios

Big Secret Plots

While the Grinch plays “All By Myself” on his massive pipe organ and angrily watches a ginormous Christmas tree being flown into Whoville, Cindy-Lou confides in friend Groopert (Tristan O’Hare) her plot to stay awake on Christmas Eve, catch Santa and tell him her wish for mom. After trying to catapult an enormous snowball into town to destroy the tree, the Grinch is himself catapulted into the tree and lands right on the button to light it up! He can’t win! He remembers his sad childhood as an orphan with no family or Christmas. He decides to dress as Santa and steal Christmas from Whoville!

The Grinch poses as SantaThe Grinch poses as SantaCourtesy of Universal Studios


The Grinch plots to go into town dressed as Santa, steal every present and take down all the decorations on Christmas Eve.  Cindy-Lou and friends decide Santa will have to be trapped in order to listen to Cindy and they figure out how to rig a cookie. If he grabs it, he’s hoisted to the ceiling. Meanwhile, the Grinch figures out how to steal a sleigh and after a screaming, noisy goat messes up his attempt to recruit reindeer, he is left with one very fat one he names “Fred”. After big, exhausting (and funny) trouble stealing the sleigh on top of neighbor Mr. Bricklebaum’s (Kenan Thompson) house, the Grinch actually allows dog Max and giant reindeer Fred to snuggle with him in bed. After sending Max out attached to a drone to fly over Whoville counting houses to steal from, the Grinch tries out the sleigh but allows Fred leave when his wife and child find him. Little Max will have to “guide the sleigh tonight”.

Cindy-Lou and friends plan their Santa captureCindy-Lou and friends plan their Santa captureCourtesy of Universal Studios

Christmas Eve

Using mechanical devices of his own making,the Grinch steals all of Whoville’s presents and decorations. At the very last house, which happens to be Donna and Cindy-Lou’s, He gives in to temptation and grabs the cookie she has left for Santa. Whoosh! He is caught in her trap! Will Grinch’s plan still succeed? Will Cindy ever ask Santa to make mom’s life easier? Will Grinch finally change his mind about the joys of Christmas?

Cindy-Lou's overworked mom loves her a lot.Cindy-Lou's overworked mom loves her a lot.Courtesy of Universal Studios

Wrapping Up

Benedict Cumberbatch beautifully voices an eventually kinder, more relatable Grinch whose lonely, bad start in life and holiday season disappointments led to his “bad guy” behavior. I love that!  We finally “get” the Grinch. Yes, he’s overall “mean” but he loves his little dog Max and grows to care about a “full-figured” reindeer who enters his life as well as opening up to the joy of togetherness.  

Oversized reindeer Fred is a goofy delightOversized reindeer Fred is a goofy delightCourtesy of Universal Studios

Keenan Thompson is great voicing Mr. Bricklebaum, a feisty, friendly, holiday-loving neighbor. Pharrell Williams is magical as the rhyming narrator. Production designs are colorful and animated wonderfully. All of the crazy mechanical gadgets in the Grinch’s cave are a wonder to behold in action and the beyond over-decked-out holiday Whoville is cheery.

Mr. Brickelbaum is just too holiday jolly for the GrinchMr. Brickelbaum is just too holiday jolly for the GrinchCourtesy of Universal Studios

Some will complain that the story has been done before but, since we finally have a Grinch whose motives we understand and who can change for the better, we have a new twist on the old tale. It will be fun for you to stay through the credits since there is more animation continuing the story.

Cindy-Lou greets the Grinch's dog MaxCindy-Lou greets the Grinch's dog MaxCourtesy of Universal Studios

Adults, little kids and teens were really getting into the film in my screening. The movie, as a last quote says, provides “kindness and love; the things we need most”. Never more true in our troubled, modern times. For the pure, inventive and entertaining joy of it, we give the film a full five stars.

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Movie Rating: 5

Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch Movie PosterDr. Seuss’ The Grinch Movie PosterCourtesy of Universal Studios

See Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch in theaters November 9th

What is Your Opinion?

Kidzworld visitors would love to read what you think about the Grinch character in general and if you are glad we will finally know what makes him so….grinchy. Comment below or see the film and write your own review on your Kidzworld profile page.