Illumination Entertainment has released a new movie poster for its upcoming film The Grinch, depicting the titular character as a youngster.
Based on the classic Dr. Seuss book How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the movie follows the green, grouchy Grinch (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), who hates Christmas, but unfortunately lives close to Whoville, whose citizens adore the holiday. To prevent their celebration, he dresses up like Santa Claus and sneaks into the town at night, stealing all of their presents and decorations. By the end, of course, he discovers the Christmas spirit for himself.
The book was most famously adapted into a half-hour special back in 1957, with famed actor Boris Karloff in the title role; perhaps even more than the book, it is a beloved classic, and airs every year. A live-action version, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas, was made back in 2000; its quality is much more debatable, with some liking its more cynical and even raunchy take on the story, while others would gladly dump it off the side of Mount Crumpit if given the opportunity.
Given this history, many fans no doubt feel iffy about a new version. So, what can we learn from this first teaser?
In the poster, the young Grinch stands against a green background, though his black-and-red scarf provides a splash of alternate color. Skinny and with a rather large head, he looks out at the viewer with a wide-eyed, perhaps confused look. His villainous future, however, is teased by the tagline above him: “He gets meaner.”
All this seems to imply some sort of origin story for the Grinch, diving into his childhood and, presumably, the reason that he hates the holidays. This is interesting, because the 2000 version did the same thing, there explaining that the Whos (who look roughly human, if a bit furry) mocked the strange-looking child until he became bitter and ran away to live in the mountains, alone. Will the new version use the same origin story, which could prove divisive for villainizing the Whos?
It is not surprising that the film will be expanding on the source material; even the half-hour version needed copious singing and a sledding scene. If nothing else, the cute, cartoony style of this poster implies that this will be a nice kid’s movie for the 2018 holiday season.