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Review: 'The Grinch' is surprisingly good

Like many of you, I grew up on the animated TV classic "The Grinch," and honestly, I saw no need to make yet another version of this beloved Dr. Seuss tale for the big screen. I was invited to a free screening at Regal Hollywood 20 in Greenville earlier this week, and in the end, I'm glad I didn't pass this movie up. 

The new animated full-length feature film "Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" comes from Illumination Entertainment — the same company responsible for those lovable if slightly annoying Minions. Academy Award® nominee Benedict Cumberbatch voices the big green meanie at the heart of this tale, which expands on both the TV classic and book to modernize a beloved Christmas story. The Grinch lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch realizes there is only one way for him to gain some peace and quiet: he must steal Christmas by posing as Santa Claus. Meanwhile, down in Who-ville, Cindy-Lou Who plots to trap Santa as he makes his Christmas Eve rounds to thank him for helping her overworked single mother. 

What I loved most about this version of "The Grinch" is that it was obviously handled with care to retain all of the traits that make it nostalgic for parents while presenting its much-needed message for today's children. Audiences finally get to see a few motivations for The Grinch's surly hatred of Christmas in a touching backstory that will make you sympathetic. Another thing I loved is that there is essentially no, or so little that it doesn't stand out in my memory, crude innuendo or nods to adult humor in the story. 

This new version of "The Grinch" is surprisingly earnest, sentimental, and yet faithful to all that most of us already know and love about the story. Some new and memorable characters are introduced, including Fred, an oversized reindeer, but overall, the movie is simply a joy to watch.  

Go or wait for video?: Go!

Good for ages: All ages, although the 4-year-old sitting beside me got restless after about 30 minutes. 

"Dr. Seuss' The Grinch" is now playing nationwide in theaters.