You’re a dull one, Mr. Grinch—at least in this latest retelling of the classic Seuss tale
If Walt Disney Animation built its reputation on fairy tales and princesses, is upstart animation house Illumination founded on supervillains? Four of its first eight cartoons are part of the Despicable Me family, detailing the adventures of a bad guy (reformed by his adoption of three girls) and his chattering minions (reformed, in a sense, by their goofball incompetence). Now the company has taken on the Dr. Seuss classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, expanded in story but shortened in title to simply The Grinch. It’s another movie focusing on a character who drips with self-regarding (and child-fascinating) malevolence and who, like Despicable Me’s Gru, lets go of his evil ways rather easily.
The Grinch is only the third major adaptation of the Seuss book, coming along nearly 20 years after the last one.
Christmas Creep: When is it acceptable to start celebrating Christmas?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I'm not quite sure there are candy canes and silver lanes aglow, or even a tree in the Grand Hotel yet, but it's certainly coming to town. Christmas cards have been in the shops since before Halloween, the mushy, sentimental adverts are on the television, and yes, the Grinch is in the cinemas.
Social media is awash with moans and groans about the early festivities, especially with another 46 days until Christmas Day. There's even a meme doing the rounds depicting Santa Claus executing an elf each time Christmas is mentioned in the month of November. Happy holidays, and don't have nightmares, kids!
In Europe, Advent usually marks the start of the festive celebrations at the end of November or the beginning of December. In the United States, Thanksgiving, held on the fourth Thursday of November, is the signpost for the holidays. However, these rules do not seem to apply for shops, stocking up with Christmas goodies and tormenting its employees with far too cheerful songs, compared to their vacant, tortured look.
This process is known as the 'Christmas Creep'. It is when retailers, who in the time of giving want to receive your sales, introduce Christmas signs and displays long before the holiday season. Macmillan Dictionary defines the Christmas Creep as "the tendency for commercial outlets to wheel out all their Christmas paraphernalia earlier each year".
They add: "Business experts argue that Christmas creep is the inevitable consequence of the Christmas season being absolutely crucial to retailers, who can substantially boost their takings by convincing customers that they should prepare for the festivities as early as possible."
The Christmas Creep is not necessarily a new phenomena. Retailers saw the benefits of early advertising for the holidays as far back as the late 19th century. There is evidence of advertisements from 1885, telling customers that "Christmas is coming" and to prepare with early shopping.
These tactics by retailers are effective. According to History Extra, examining the facts from the QI Christmas specials, internet searches for Christmas are gradually starting earlier. An analysis of searches from 2007 found people started looking for ‘Santa Claus’, ‘elf ’ and ‘presents’ on November 11. By 2013, they started on August 25.
Outside of the blatant commercialism, and looking back at early Christmas traditions, Yuletide was celebrated for almost three months. Until the 17th century, the festive celebrations started on the Feast of St Martin on November 11 and lasted until Candlemas on February 2.
It may feel like Christmas is coming earlier each year, but it has been the case for a long time. Tradition, however, is making way for commercialism - and tis the season for profit, along with goodwill to all men (if they line your pockets, of course).
The Grinch review: a gleefully sardonic Benedict Cumberbatch gets Dr Seuss just right
Dirs: Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier; Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Cameron Seely, Rashida Jones, Pharrell Williams, Keenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury (voices). U cert, 90 mins
If the very best animation feels like nourishment for the soul, think of this adaptation of the beloved Dr Seuss tale as the spiritual equivalent of a double helping of chocolate-flavoured breakfast cereal: not exactly clean eating, but packing an irresistible sugary kick.
The Grinch is the eighth film to date from Illumination Entertainment - aka the House that Minions Built - and arguably the first in which the studio manages to play to its Looney Tunes-esque slapstick strengths without getting ensnared in the complications.