Illumination is a studio known for producing gutless, boring, paint-by-numbers, mass appeal movies that focus more on cute gimmicks and marketing than they do on actual storytelling and character development. If you've seen anything else from Illumination, you practically don't need to see this movie, because you can probably just predict every scene in your head and just about get it right. While The Grinch isn't Illumination's worst, it's still a thoughtless and emotionless product only meant to sell toys and theater tickets before charm and charisma.
Benedict Cumberbatch's Grinch is boring. I do like Cumberbatch and I did think he'd be great to voice the Grinch, but he's terrible in this movie. His voice doesn't match the character whatsoever, and does nothing to bring the character more to life. At least Jim Carrey put energy and emotion into his performance, whereas Cumberbatch sounds like he's disappointed about the small paycheck he's just been given. The Grinch himself is written in a way that pulls all punches and has to cave in to cutesy kids logic instead of a clever way that tells a good story. Instead of making The Grinch actually funny or interesting, they make him the typical 2018 grumpy hipster who's a good guy at heart but just needs his morning coffee. Making him a mostly good character really undermines the climactic payoff of him finally understanding the meaning Christmas towards the end.
Sadly, both the character and the overall movie as a whole share the same problems; it's boring, uninspired, and vanilla. Much like the character, the movie sucks out anything interesting in favor for playing it safe and selling toys. The music is even done by rapper Tyler The Creator, and even as a moderate fan of his work, the music here is terribly uninspired and obviously an attempt to make the film more hip. Most of the jokes are entirely predictable. Actually, the entire movie is predictable. I don't mean we've seen the original movies, I mean the film follows every generic story you'll ever see in a kids movie. The film feels more like it was written by a computer and less like a team of engrossed screenwriters. One of the film's running gags is the ex-popular 'screaming goat' meme...seriously, I thought that meme stopped being funny in 2013.
Truthfully, this film is not the worst thing to come out of Illumination. It may not be a good movie, but at least it doesn't completely bastardize and miseducate its message like The Lorax did, and at least it isn't as excruciatingly for-the-masses as Minions or The Secret Life Of Pets. The Grinch, as well as every single other Illumination Studios movie, is like a cute untamed puppy; it may urinate on your rug and chew up all of your shoes, but it's cute and looks at you with big puppy dog eyes and does silly things, so you don't punish it and let it slide when it really shouldn't be forgiven so easily. When are we as an audience going to stop letting these thoughtless movies slide solely because of their cuteness? Regardless, moms and kids alike will continue to enjoy these movies without the slightest care, simply because it's cute and nothing more.