A year out from the release of the new Illumination/Universal adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and we still know nothing more than when the film was announced back in 2013. Originally slated to be released this year, the film was to premiere just in time for the Christmas season, but the project was then pushed back to November 2018.
But why make another Grinch adaptation? What can they do this time that they haven’t done before?
The new movie, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of famous title character, will follow in the footsteps of past 3D animated Seuss adaptations, Horton Hears A Who! (2008) and The Lorax (2012). Based on this knowledge, we can assume that this film will diverge pretty wildly from the original story. The 2000 Jim Carrey version of the classic Christmas tale already included a rather gripping backstory and downright hilarious humorous edge for their holiday-hating antihero, but you can bet that Illumination’s version will be even farther from Seuss’ version, and definetely more musical. That begs the question — will Cumberbatch actually sing? Probably, but we will have to wait and see to determine just how well.
At 2016 CinemaCon producer Chris Meledandri stated that this film wouldn’t tackle the over commercialization of Christmas that the live action film capitalized on. He said that while that element will still certainly be there, he felt that the story was more personal and character rooted, and the real heart of the story was Grinch’s comedic cynicism. And for Meledandri, this makes Cumberbatch the clear choice. Cumberbatch is known for playing cynical snobs who are generally disinterested in the public, but who always have a layer of emotional integrity that is unveiled on a journey to self-discovery. Meledandri is hoping that this will be conveyed in his animated version. And of course now that Cumberbatch has two young children of his own, it makes sense that he would want to do some roles that his kids can watch.
If you’re a little weary of this new adaptation, you’re not alone. Jim Carrey’s version was top-notch and it will be tough to beat. But by the sounds of it, they aren’t looking to beat Jim Carrey’s version. They are looking to tell a new story, provide some new insight on a character we all know and love (despite the termites in his smile and all the tenderness of a seasick crocodile).