Now, here’s a new film, made for the big screen. It’s longer, it’s brighter — check out that lime-green! Rating: 3 stars out of 4.
My heart was aflutter; in my stomach, a pinch
As I sat with my popcorn, awaiting “The Grinch.”
On my mind was a picture of grade-school-age me
Waiting every December for “Grinch” on TV.
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We all loved that version — so short and so sweet
And Karloff’s sly cackle? A Christmastime treat.
But now, here’s a new film, made for the big screen
It’s longer, it’s brighter — check out that lime-green!
(There’s no need to panic — it’s really not scary
This one’s animated, and there’s no Jim Carrey.
A family film, shown in 2 or 3D,
It’s from the same team as “Despicable Me.”)
The Cumberbatch Grinch, all paunchy and slouchy,
Is not really mean — he’s just kind of grouchy.
You all know the story: He cooks up a scheme
“I’ll steal Christmas!” he plots, beady eyes all agleam.
But the Who’s, as we learn, will not easily fall:
They happily caroled; no presents at all.
It’s a message that warms, be you grown-up or kid,
And did I like this “Grinch”? Well, mostly I did.
The look of it all is, no question, a joy:
Who-ville looks like a sweet gingerbread toy
With snow-dappled treetops and wreaths with red bows
Brightly wrapped presents and Christmas-themed clothes.
(Just one note on costume, which caused me to stare:
Why must the Grinch sleep in tight-white underwear?)
The story’s much longer — like the Grinch heart, it stretches —
And yes, I do have one or two quick kvetches:
A bit too much rushing and pratfalls and such;
Some newly writ rhymes lacked the Seussian touch;
The Grinch’s backstory? Excessively rote;
And I wish we’d seen more of that very odd goat.
But while the first “Grinch” I will always adore
It’s possible that there’s still room for one more.
Hearing the Who’s sing their songs to the skies —
It’s still movie magic, whatever the size.
★★★ “Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch,” with the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Cameron Seely, Pharrell Williams. Directed by Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney, from a screenplay by Michael LeSieur and Tommy Swerdlow, based on the book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. 86 minutes. Rated PG for brief rude humor. Opens Nov. 9 at multiple theaters.