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Western Animation / The Grinch (2018)

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"Today we will do mean things, and we will do them in style!"

"For fifty-three years, Christmas has brought me nothing but misery. I know just what to do. I'll become Santa Claus to steal their Christmas. If he can deliver it in one night, then I can steal it."
The Grinch

A 2018 3D computer-animated film adaptation of Dr. Seuss's classic book How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, produced by Illumination Entertainment and directed by Scott Mosier (Clerks) and Yarrow Cheney (The Secret Life of Pets). The film was released on November 9, 2018.

It's the third screen adaptation of the book overall, the second feature-film adaptation after the 2000 film, and the second animated adaptation following the 1966 TV special, as well as Illumination's second adaptation of a Dr. Seuss book (after The Lorax in 2012), and the last Seuss adaptation to be directly approved by his widow Audrey Geisel, who passed away five weeks after its release, after having served as president and founder of Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

The story is about the same. Out on the outskirts of Whoville lives an unpleasant fellow known only as The Grinch (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). He dwells in a cave high up on Mount Crumpit with his inventions and his dog, Max, and only ever sees his Who neighbors when he has to go into town to get himself food. One holiday season, the Grinch catches wind that the Whos plan to make their routine Christmas celebrations three times bigger this year, something he can't tolerate in the slightest. Eventually, he has the ultimate epiphany: to keep the peace and quiet he loves so much, he must become Santa Claus and steal Christmas.

Meanwhile, in the town of Whoville itself, one particular holiday loving Who, Cindy-Lou Who (voiced by Cameron Seely), just wants to ask Santa Claus for help for her overworked single mom. How does she do it? Plot with her friends to catch him, of course!

...So what's going to happen when her scheme collides with the Grinch's?

Previews: Trailer 1, Trailer 2, Trailer 3

The Grinch contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • After the Grinch comes up with his wonderfully awful idea, he stands directly in front of a window that looks oddly like the window of the Sanctum Sanctorum. Granted this could have been just a truly wild coincidence given the architecture featured in the rest of the movie. It’s a little difficult to say.
    • There’s also a moment where the Grinch crashes into Bricklebaum’s Christmas dragon ornament.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: A subtle example, but the Grinch is less exaggerated-looking than previous versions, with softer facial features that look more like a furry green dog-man than a creepy old goblin, normal eyes instead of his signature red and yellow pupils, and soft, clean fur. He's also got much less of an exaggerated potbelly, and overall looks much younger than both previous Grinches — although like the original, he's at least 53, and is shown to buy hair dye to cover up the grey.
  • Adaptation Expansion: This is to be expected for a Dr. Seuss film.
    • The previous versions establish/imply that the Grinch lives in self-imposed exile away from the Whos. This film shows that the Grinch regularly visits Whoville to buy groceries, although he prefers not to buy anything during the Christmas season. Presumably, as a result of him coming down to their town often, the Whos don't despise or fear him as much as the Whos in Ron Howard's film or Halloween Is Grinch Night (respectively), where the Grinch's impending arrival is a big deal.
    • The Grinch's epiphany to steal Christmas happens on December 21st rather than Christmas Eve. This gives the Grinch more time to develop his gadgets and formulate his plan to rob all of Whoville in one fell swoop. This extra time also allows him to find reindeer to pull his sled, eventually snagging a reindeer named Fred.
    • Cindy-Lou Who is now given her own B-Plot, namely trying to capture Santa... so she can ask him to help her overworked mother and make her happy.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
    • The Grinch is still a mean one, but significantly less of a mean one than previous versions, as he is portrayed as a grouchy cynic who prefers to mind his own business than actively hurt other people, will still be social when he needs to be, treats his dog well, and who decides to steal Christmas as a twisted sort of coping mechanism rather than out of pure hatred for the Whos and the holiday.
    • The Whos, in comparison to the 2000 film. In the 2000 version, the Whos are obsessed with all the worst parts of the holiday season, materialism and commercialism, they bully the Grinch, and then vilify him when he pulls a Then Let Me Be Evil. In this version, they're all nice to each other and try to be friendly to the Grinch. While they aggressively carol at him, not realizing that it's triggering for him, and in flashbacks they failed to notice an orphaned boy spending the holidays alone, at worst, they're Obliviously Evil.
  • Adaptational Wimp: In most adaptations, when the Grinch has his Heel Realization and the sleigh full of presents almost falls off of the cliff, the Grinch gains the strength of ten Grinches (plus 2) as a result of his heart tripling in size and saves the sleigh all by himself by lifting it. In this movie, however, his strength never reaches such unrealistic levels and the sleigh and the Grinch himself (who almost falls to his death by trying to save the sleigh) have to be saved by Fred instead.
  • Adaptation Personality Change:
    • Max is still the Grinch's Morality Pet, but instead of being a frightened, timid dog who reluctantly does the Grinch's bidding, Max is very much loving and loyal to the Grinch.
    • While he is by no means a nice guy, this version of the Grinch is shown to be significantly kinder to Max than the Chuck Jones or the Ron Howard version. While Max is rather put upon, the Grinch's love and concern for him are never in doubt — and the one time he does manage to deeply hurt Max's feelings, he apologizes and tells him he's a good dog.
    • Overall, the Grinch is much less antisocial than his previous incarnations and it's implied his motive for stealing Christmas is partially more of a Freudian Excuse than out of sheer malice.
  • Adaptation Title Change: The title is shortened from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Cindy-Lou is depicted as such. She knows that her mother is overworked and stressed, so her only Christmas wish is to make her happy and she is generally smart for her age, but that doesn't stop her from having the innocence and cheerfulness of a typical little girl.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Bricklebaum, the Grinch's neighbor of sorts, calls him "Grinchy" on occasion. It's unknown how the Grinch feels about his before his change of heart.
  • Age Lift: While her age is never specified in the film, Cindy-Lou Who has the appearance and mannerisms of a 6-7-year-old, despite being "no more than two" in the original animation.
  • All-CGI Cartoon: It's a computer-animated film by Illumination Entertainment.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Pun aside, this trope is largely averted. There's nothing to suggest the Grinch is ostracized by the Whos. Bricklebaum, the Grinch's neighbor, is polite to him and considers him a friend, even the nameless bit characters are polite and approachable. Arguably, the worst thing that happens is that the Grinch is chased around Whoville by carollers, who are overeager rather than malicious.
  • All There in the Script: Out of Cindy Lou's friends, Izzy (the Who girl with her mouth obscured by her scarf) was not referred to by name throughout the movie, only in the captions and credits.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version features Tiny Baby by Perfume as its theme song.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Max is seemingly smarter than the average canine, almost acting as the Grinch's "butler" of sorts. Fred the reindeer and the goat also qualify.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: The bright green creature is motivated by envy.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • A subtle instance, but still there. When the Grinch is speaking to Cindy-Lou early on, he tells her that she should give her 'wish' to Santa in person, then observes that nobody's ever actually seen him. Sounds like this particular act of meanness is a passive-aggressive attempt to drop a reveal... but then during his planning of the heist, he reasons he'll be capable of handling one town in one night if Santa can handle the whole world. So his comment to Cindy-Lou was just an effort to rub in the futility of his own suggestion.
    • Fred attempts to work the delicate coffee machine designed for Max to use. When Max discovers him trying to activate it by stepping on it, he awaits the worst...only for it to set up with no hook ups. Cut to the Grinch complimenting his wonderfully prepared coffee, leaving Max slightly jealous.
  • Big Eater: The reason why the Grinch has to go down to Whoville during Christmas season. He initially had stockpiles of food to last him till the start of January but due to his excessive "emotional" eating, he was reduced to a mere bean on a plate just five days shy of Christmas itself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Fred saves the Grinch and sleigh from falling down the ravine.
  • But Not Too Evil: This version of the Grinch is more of a cynical grouch who gets pushed into being villainous by his Freudian Excuse, as opposed to an actively malicious, hateful jerk like previous versions.
  • Butt-Monkey: It seems to be karmic payback for the Grinch being a curmudgeon that he suffers so much physical abuse in his daily life.
  • Canon Foreigner: Like the live-action movie, this film adds a few more key characters. In particular, the Grinch enlists an actual reindeer called Fred this time, turning them and Max into a Terrible Trio.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Given his larger presence in Whoville compared to previous incarnations, the Grinch has taken on this sort of persona, emphasized by how he revels in doing his misdeeds in style.
  • Cheerful Child: Other than when they're disgusted by their breakfast of oatmeal, Buster and Bean Who are a happy and energetic pair of babies.
  • Chekhov's Gun: When the Grinch falls into Cindy Lou's Santa trap, she tells him that listening to the Whos' singing helps to take the sadness away, which momentarily touches his heart. When he is on the top of Mt. Crumpit, he sees the Whos singing without presents and after his heart grows three sizes, he is determined to return the plundered gifts to Whoville and make amends.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Fred the Reindeer; when the Grinch discovers that he has a wife and child, he lets Fred go home. Later, when the Grinch is on Mount Crumpit and has a change of heart when he decides not to dump the Christmas plunder, Fred and his family come to the Grinch's aid to save the sleighful of Christmas presents.
  • Chromatic Arrangement: Cindy-Lou Who is associated with the color pink, and her baby brothers, Buster and Bean, wear blue and green respectively.
  • Comfort Food: The Grinch has to go grocery shopping at the beginning of the film because his "emotional eating" already cleared out his stock of food for hiding out until Christmas is over.
  • Curtains Match the Window: The Grinch has green eyes and fur. Max has brown eyes and fur, and Bricklebaum has brown hair and brown eyes.
  • Cute, but Cacophonic: The screaming goat.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cindy-Lou Who's father is neither mentioned nor seen. It's most likely he either passed away or left.
  • Dissimile: The narrator describes Whoville as "a town like your town, if your town was a dream; but it wasn't a dream".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Around the mid-point when the Grinch stumbles upon the Whos' tree lighting ceremony he becomes paralyzed with fear and begins experiencing flashbacks to his childhood. Coupled with how anxious he is at Cindy-Lou’s place at the end of the movie we might very well have a Grinch with a case of both anxiety and PTSD.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: In-Universe and subverted. The Grinch decides to "get into character" by studying Santa characteristics... only to abandon the plan when he realizes it involves being full of jolly spirit.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Grinch, after spending decades as a Christmas-hating hermit, overcomes the trauma he suffered as a child and gains friends to spend the holiday, and the rest of his life, with.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite the Grinch's mischievous pranks and rude behavior whenever he heads down to Whoville, the Whos bear no lasting grudge towards him. Even after the Grinch confesses to stealing all of their Christmas stuff, the Whos still welcome him to a Christmas feast which surprises the Grinch, to say the least. However, it is notably more subtle than past incarnations. Instead of being lauded at the gift return, he quietly walks home alone, to be invited later by Cindy-Lou. Also, the invitation is to a Christmas dinner at her house, with maybe 20 or so Whos in attendance; it's entirely possible that some denizens of Whoville don't forgive him.
  • Evil Brit: Averted. While Benedict Cumberbatch is British, he voices the Grinch with an American accent like the Jim Carrey version.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Like previous iterations, the Grinch is surprised and confused when he hears the Whos singing and celebrating Christmas despite taking nearly all of their decorations, presents, and food. He, of course, has an epiphany upon this discovery and decides to give back everything he has stolen. He's even more surprised that Cindy-Lou Who invites him to Christmas dinner at her house despite the fact that he stole all of their stuff in an attempt to ruin their Christmas.
  • Evil Genius: Similar to his previous incarnations, this Grinch has a massive intellect when it comes to concocting schemes and creating technological marvels...all for the purpose of stealing gifts.
  • Evil Is Petty: During his trip to Whoville for groceries, the Grinch goes out of his way to do mean things to anyone he crosses by. Such as pushing a snowman's head off the body with a carrot, tasting a spicy pickle before spitting it back into the jar and then giving it to an unsuspecting shopper, and putting the last chutney jar onto a high shelf in front of the customer who wants it (and then knocking it over for good measure).
  • Eye Recall: The Grinch's flashback to his lonely and troubled childhood is initiated by a slow zoom through his eye.
  • Finger-Snapping Street Gang: Early on, the Grinch is harassed by a group of carol-singers performing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". At one point, their singing becomes slower and more sinister, and they begin advancing on the Grinch while snapping their fingers in unison for no apparent reason other than to troll The Grinch, who in this version actually has major PTSD regarding Christmas and is genuinely terrified of them.
  • Food End: The movie ends with the reformed Grinch joining the Whos for Christmas dinner at Cindy Lou's house.
  • Freudian Excuse: The Grinch cannot believe that the Whos are kind, generous people and Christmas isn't a storm of consumerism because when he was a little orphan, no one shared any love or warmth with him.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Downplayed. With how well the Grinch treats Max (especially compared to the Chuck Jones and Ron Howard versions) and Fred to the point of letting him return to his mate and child it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say the Grinch has far more patience for animals than Whos. Well, except for the goat.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Grinch, who whips gadgets and gizmos out without breaking a sweat.
  • Gagging on Your Words: When the Grinch refuses to go out shopping in Whoville, he has to force himself to say the word "Christmas."
  • Good Parents: Donna, Cindy-Lou's mom. She's an overworked medical worker (possibly a nurse, but it's not outright confirmed) raising three kids on her own. But she tries not to let it show in front of her kids and when she does vent a little, it's not directed at her kids but at her friend on the phone.
  • Grim Up North: The Grinch specifically lives north of Whoville in a cave. He goes further north through a blizzard to find some reindeer.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: When testing Cindy-Lou's trap for Santa, her friend Groopert loses his clothes and uses the cookie being used for the trap to cover his privates.
  • Hates Being Alone: By the end, the Grinch is able to admit to himself and the Whos that he didn't really hate Christmas itself. He just didn't like being alone.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The Grinch runs into Cindy-Lou during his grocery shopping and gets all mocking about her letter to Santa, saying that if her 'wish' was really important, then she should tell him in person. This eventually leads to Cindy-Lou setting a trap to speak to Santa in person... which the Grinch triggers.
    • The reason that the Grinch falls into Cindy-Lou's trap at all is because he ignored his own rule; resist the temptation of the cookies left out for Santa.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Turns out Fred has this dynamic with his mate.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The trailer pokes fun at people who get ready for Christmas long before the holiday season itself even begins...while the movie itself was released exactly two weeks before Black Friday of 2018note .
  • Inevitably Broken Rule: By the rule-maker no less. While going over the basics of stealing from the Who's homes to Max and Fred, The Grinch tries dissuading them from being distracted by the hidden contents of the gifts and Christmas cookies left for Santa Claus. As he explains the former, he loses his train of thought and almost gives into that very temptation to open a present he uses as an example. In the case of the latter, it's when he decides to help himself to some cookies when he ends up falling for Cindy-Lou's Santa-trap.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Bricklebaum brings in the absolutely massive new Christmas tree, he jokingly calls out to the Grinch that it will be so bright, "You'll be celebrating Christmas with the rest of us!" He has no way of knowing that Christmas isn't some grouchy pet peeve, but a traumatic trigger the Grinch tries to avoid.
    • The carolers at the beginning of the movie could also be seen as this, as they actively chase after the clearly fleeing Grinch. Even Max, who likes Whoville and Christmas and is visibly saddened by the Grinch's treatment of the Whos, looks increasingly concerned during this scene.
  • The Kindnapper: When Cindy-Lou Who appears to have trapped Santa, she's all apologies, offering him some milk and a seat and explaining why she felt the need.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than most takes on The Grinch, due in no small part to the Adaptational Heroism where the Grinch himself is concerned, in contrast to the Ron Howard film which was a bit Darker and Edgier than other versions.
  • Lost in Imitation: As with the live-action version, this film uses material that originated from the 1966 television special. On the other hand, it's averted in the sense that this film does not really keep anything from the live-action version and instead expands the story in a completely different way.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: The Grinch assumes this posture at the end of the scene where he declares that he is going to steal Christmas from Whoville.
  • Mood Whiplash: The scene where the Grinch tries to steal a sleigh from Bricklebaum's roof is mostly humorous and filled with slapstick. However, in the middle of it, there is a quiet, sad moment where the Grinch looks through the window and sees that Bricklebaum's friends are celebrating together with singing Christmas carols, which obviously makes the Grinch feel lonely again. He snaps out of it pretty quickly and the scene becomes humorous again.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Unlike the previous versions of the tale where the Grinch is full of joy after realizing the meaning of Christmas, here the Grinch is ashamed of himself for ruining the holiday for the Whos. After he brings their stuff back to town, he solemnly apologizes and goes home.
  • My God, You Are Serious!: Played for Laughs. When Bricklebaum shows the Grinch the mayor's "Christmas 3 times bigger" poster, the Grinch laughs it off as "one of [his] 'kidding' things". It's not until Bricklebaum is flying a titanic Christmas tree like a blimp (with the shiniest frickin' star ever hanging off the back) that the Grinch realizes it's actually happening and then some.
    Grinch: Three times bigger? That's a hundred times bigger!
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When the Grinch purposely ruins the snowman that a young-Whovian was making on the way to the grocery store, the kid says to him, "You're a mean one, Mister."
    • At one point in the film, the Grinch is attacked by a cat while he is stealing presents, just like how his live-action counterpart was.
    • As in previous versions, the Grinch-disguised-as-Santa lies that he is taking Cindy-Lou's tree for repairs when she asks him why.
    • When the Grinch tries for the first time to have Max pull his sleigh Max is unable to pull the sleigh and winds up burying himself in the snow instead only to rise up two seconds later and begin pulling, just like the Chuck Jones version.
    • Cindy Lou has twin brothers, just like in the live-action adaptation, though here they are babies instead of teenagers.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The trailers make it look like the Grinch's massive eating montage is him trying to look like Santa. Instead, it's actually a montage played at the beginning of his emotional stress eating.
    • They also make it look he ventures down to Whoville to do "mean things with style." In reality, he goes to great length to stay away from Whoville at Christmas time and is only bearing it because he stress-ate through the food stocks he'd meant to last until January. The mean things with style come later, as he's putting his plans to steal Christmas together.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Cindy-Lou only gets it in her head to catch Santa to see him face-to-face because of the Grinch heckling her at the beginning. Which leads to her catching the Grinch during his heist, hearing her wish to help her mom, and plants the seeds for his change of heart.
  • Nude-Colored Clothes: The Grinch wears clothes that look just like his fur.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Grinch prefers to stay as far away as possible from Christmas and isn't the type to launch into a hammy, theatrical monologue about how he plans to destroy it. So, when he suddenly does just that, coupled with the fact that he's just come off of a massive PTSD-driven panic attack, Max is visibly very alarmed.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: How the Grinch got all his tools and supplies is never shown.
  • Older Than They Look: While it's a bit hard to figure out because he is a green, furry goblin-like creature, the Grinch utters the "For fifty-three years..." line indicating that he's likely fifty-three at the youngest. But thanks to his Adaptational Attractiveness, he could pass for a young adult. Somewhat justified, as Bricklebaum discovers a bottle of green hair dye amongst the Grinch's groceries early on, implying he's at least going grey.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Benedict Cumberbatch voices the Grinch with an American accent, and while he mostly does a fairly good job, sometimes you can hear Cumberbatch's natural British accent showing.
  • Ominous Pipe Organ: The Grinch owns one, though he mostly just plays songs like "All By Myself" on it as a hobby, so it's not that ominous. It's played a bit straighter when he plays it right after he announces that he is going to steal Christmas.
  • Orbital Shot: While the Grinch is listening to the Whos' Christmas song which leads to his heart growing three sizes, the camera circles slowly around him.
  • Orphanage of Fear: Of the 'cold and lonely' variety. A flashback shows us the Grinch grew up in one, contributing to his Freudian Excuse.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with. This version of the Grinch actually dons a white beard. Compared to every other version who didn’t even bother, thus raising a few questions when Cindy-Lou stumbles upon him. That said this Grinch still does little else to hide his distinguishing green fur.
  • Pet the Dog: Aside from treating Max fairly well, the Grinch decides to let Fred the reindeer leave to be with his mate and child, despite the fact he needs a reindeer to pull his sled. Fred and his family later returns to save the Grinch from falling off of Mount Crumpit during the climax of the story.
  • Poke the Poodle: This being the Grinch, he likes to get his contempt for the Who's across with various Kick the Dog moments, though this being a Lighter and Softer film compared to the live-action movie, these moments are petty, but pretty small and harmless. Such acts including: pretending to help a child put on a snowman's carrot nose, only to destroy it instead; snatching an old lady's cane and using it to launch a guy with an obnoxious Christmas sweater skyward; stealing a jar of pickles from one person's shipping cart and leaving it with someone else (after double-dipping); snatching a jar of chutney from the top shelf, deliberately putting it back instead of giving it to the woman who was trying to take it, then bumping the shelf to smash it.
  • The Prankster: This is the main role The Grinch plays in the Whoville community before deciding to steal Christmas, playing mean-spirited but ultimately harmless pranks on the Whos.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: At one point, Max does this in an attempt to sleep in the Grinch's bed. He doesn't buy it. Then the Grinch's reindeer companion Fred does the same thing, and the Grinch relents. Despite the situation, he settles in quite comfortably.
    The Grinch: Max, did you teach him puppy eyes?
  • Remake Cameo: In the Japanese dub, Kōichi Yamadera, who voiced the titular Grinch in the dub of the live-action film, voice Bartholomew in this film.
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity: Or "Whomanity," perhaps? Cindy-Lou asking Grinch-disguised-as-Santa to lessen her hardworking single mother's load instead of presents for herself makes the Grinch question his belief that the Whos are all greedy and selfish. Hearing all of Whoville sing the tree carol without their gifts or decorations seals the deal.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: This is a Dr. Seuss adaptation, after all. A great example of this occurs when the Grinch realizes he's all out of food.
    Grinch: Where is my personal reserve of moose juice, and goose juice? My emergency stash of Who-hash? And my secret slew of frozen beezlenut stew?!
  • Ring-Ring-CRUNCH!: The first thing the Grinch does when he wakes up is throw stuff at his alarm clock, because it keeps playing Christmas music. Every time it gets hit, the clock just changes stations, until it finally gets knocked off the ledge. As a Brick Joke, it turns on again the next morning, only to be crushed by the nightstand.
  • Santa Clausmas: Downplayed. While the depiction of Christmas is overall secular, the birth of Christ is still mentioned, as the Christmas carolers who annoy the Grinch are singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen". "Silent Night" appears later on, as well.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • The first joke in the teaser has the Grinch's alarm clock play a familiar, overplayed tune: "Happy". He then tosses a lamp at his clock in annoyance, knocking it off the dresser. But it still won't shut up.
    • Some advertisement campaigns have made a jab at remakes, outright asking if Hollywood is proud of themselves. Get it? Cause...this isn't the first adaptation of the Dr. Seuss story.
    • One TV spot had the younger version of the Grinch holding up a sign that reads "Go see my movie." A Minion enters and laughs at him, at which point the Grinch turns over the sign, which now reads "He won't be in it", with an arrow pointing at the Minion.
  • Shout-Out: The over-aggressive carolers snapping their fingers while slowly stalking the Grinch, spoofs the "Sharks" vs "Jets" number from West Side Story.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Cindy-Lou Who is absent in the trailers (aside from a brief shot of her taking part of a Christmas picture with her family in the second trailer), despite being the deuteragonist.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Averted. Maybe? The only one to refer to our title character as the Grinch is the narrator. Everyone else calls him "Mr. Grinch", and Bricklebaum occasionally calls him "Grinchy". However, during his proper introduction to Cindy-Lou as the end of the movie he says his name is just Grinch.
  • Spit Take: The Grinch spits out his milk when Cindy-Lou asks "Santa" why he's taking away the tree.
  • Suddenly Shouting: When the Grinch and Max look for reindeer and the screaming goat follows them:
    Grinch: Now, reindeer migrate, so maybe we’ll catch a few heading south for the winter. I’ve also read that they like to mate in densely wooded—WILL YOU STOP FOLLOWING US?! Shoo! Away! Go back to the goat farm! Go eat a can!
  • Sugar Bowl: Whoville is a whimsical, pretty place with a happy, friendly population. Even the Grinch's lair in Mount Crumpit is bright and colourful.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Zig-zagged. Despite his enthusiasm the sleigh is more than three times Max's size and weight, so when he tries to pull, he ends up digging himself into the snow. But he finds the strength to pull it anyway.
    • Unlike the other two incarnations, the sleigh actually does fall off Mount Crumpit, being a vehicle with thousands of pounds worth of Christmas decorations and presents just leaning on the edge of a cliff. And when the Grinch tries to grapple to the edge, the cliff itself falls.
  • Take That!:
    • An interstitial for this film in between other trailers played at AMC theaters, that features Grinch texting his opinion of movie theater popcorn which he shows is a poop emoji. He then points at it and sarcastically remarks, "Hey, wouldn't it be great if this guy got his own movie?"
    • The trailers also poke fun at the phenomena of people putting up decorations and celebrating Christmas long before the holiday season actually begins.
  • Take That, Audience!: The print and web advertising campaigns for the movie lampshade and jab at remakes, family movies and/or advertising in the grinchiest way possible.
    "Another remake?! Hope you're proud, Hollywood."
    Highway billboard: "I could watch you crawl through traffic all day."
    Shopping mall billboard: "Time for everybody's favorite ride: the escalator!"
    New York Subway: "No, I don't want to go to your off-Broadway play."
    Times Square: "Good luck getting those Hamilton tickets!"
  • Team Power Walk: Played With when Cindy-Lou and her friends come up with a plan to trap Santa. They're riding their bikes and trikes in slow motion to the tune of Run-DMC's "Christmas in Hollis" when suddenly all their parents call them from offscreen to come home.
  • Tempting Fate: Before the heist, the Grinch hammered into Fred and Max that they shouldn't go for the cookies laid out for Santa. Sure enough, when he disregards his own rule, it turns out to be the one cookie in Whoville that's booby trapped.
  • Terrible Trio: The Grinch, Max and Fred.
  • There Are No Therapists: If the Grinch had had a good one at any point in his life, there would be no movie.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: Cindy-Lou's got a habit of doing this. She declines her mother's offer to sit down and have some eggs, too busy rushing to deliver her letter to Santa. Later, when her mother sends her off with several to-go waffles, her friend eats them instead.
  • Trauma Button: Christmas and every part of celebrating it brings the Grinch back to how much it hurt when he was an isolated kid while the Whos were happy with their families.
  • Tsundere: While the movie claims that the Grinch hates Christmas, his real problem seems to be loneliness, with Christmas being a trigger that reminds him of his lonely childhood more than anything. There are scenes that imply that Grinch may secretly like Christmas, even before his Heel–Face Turn - when looking through the Christmas almanac, he admires that gingerbread house and seems to find the little gum drop family cute, but he then covers it up by calling it "So, so stupidly dumb". Later when he talks about how tempting opening presents may be, he basically looks hypnotized by the wrapped present and gets very close to opening it, only to throw it away and tell Max and Fred that they shouldn't do that.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The Whos down in Whoville don't have a reaction to the Grinch, who is a weird creature covered from head to toe in green fur. But considering that the Grinch is more willing to come out of his cave than previous versions (albeit only for grocery shopping), it makes sense that the Whos are used to him by this point.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: The Grinch, judging by an earlier poster and its tagline (similar to the Ron Howard version, for a relative level of sweetness).
  • Villain Protagonist: Even though every single person in existence is aware of how it ends, the Grinch is, per the norm, the Big Bad of his own story.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cindy-Lou isn't so bad by any stretch. She just wants to make sure Santa gets her request for her overworked mom. It can't be helped that the best course of action is to catch the guy in the act.

♫ You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel
You're as cuddly as a cactus
You're as charming as an eel, Mr. Grinch! ♫


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): How The Grinch Stole Christmas 2018, Dr Seuss The Grinch


Carolers harass The Grinch

When The Grinch enters into Whoville to restock on food, he finds a group of characters stalking him through the streets like it was West Side Story.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / ChristmasCarolers

Media sources: