I'll be the first to admit when I first started seeing the posters and trailers for Yet Another Grinch Movie I was more than a little annoyed. Let's be real, we've seen this story done nearly a half dozen times. It's the same story. We know it. The Grinch has become such an ingrained part of the Christmas holiday tradition the nickname is now applied to individuals who exhibit a certain behavior at any time of the year.
I have a very low tolerance for the seeming lack of creativity and ability to create something new and "original." (There's a second thought in that statement which I refer to in an earlier thought about Originals by Adam Grant; hint it's a trick.)
Regardless, as you might imagine I begrudged Illumination's attempt at recreating the same old tired story. And yet there was something different. The posters hinted at it (the graphic for this thought). Clearly I should have been less hasty to write-off the creativity (although comically routine) found in this studio's movies.
Here's why I believe this is the best Grinch movie to date. We all know and "love" the Grinch. We see a character we hate turn into a character we love. We see good triumph over evil. And yet there was always something missing. We missed the connection to the character. Here is the central character of a movie and yet we never truly connected with him. We observed him. We didn't commiserate with him and we certainly didn't personify him. I think the reason this stuck out so clearly to me was how it was a perfect example of a thought I recently shared. I was talking with a close friend the other day and I was sharing something I had read regarding the problem with Simon Sinek's mentality of Start with Why.
Whoa, hold up, did you just read that sentence correctly? Was I actually suggesting there was a problem with Start with Why? I know this is a drastic change in character from everything I've shared before. But here's the idea in summary:
The concept of starting with why is a very important internal motivator for a company. This belief is invaluable for your company's goals and decision-making. But this is not why others will follow you. Others will follow you because you tell the story of your why. It's the story-telling, not the "why" that truly matters.
Does that make sense? I hope so. If you'd like to expand on that thought some more please let me know, but for now I need to get back to the way this relates to the Grinch movie.
Illumination did something we've never seen before. Yes, they took some artistic liberties (of course) but the result is a story. A story about a "why." For the first time ever we were given a reason for the Grinch. We understood his actions because we understood the why behind his behavior.
Suddenly we did something we never had done before. We empathized with the Grinch. We thought about our own "hard times" and the resulting behavior we exhibit to the world. While we may not "hate Christmas" and live the life of a secluded hermit (and most of us are not covered in green fur) we can all certainly relate to times we have taken defensive and possibly "mean" behavior towards others in an attempt to protect ourselves.
I find it hard to believe in all the previous versions we were never really given this detail and as a result the ability to relate better to the character. Maybe it's just me, but this simple little effort by Illumination is a perfect example of why story-telling is what makes people follow a movement. You see the "why" for the Grinch always existed, but until this story was told to everyone, we didn't relate the same way. And this is why I believe the art of story-telling is the true hero behind every compelling "why."
If you were like me and thinking of not going to see this movie might I recommend reconsidering? You may be pleasantly surprised.