The Grin (Ian McShane) and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Thompson) arrive in the Kingdom of Groovynham with the world at their feet. He has just graduated with top honours from Wizard School and has accepted a position in the royal court from the King himself. The Grin wants to use his powers to bring happiness to everyone, but his actions have unintended consequences and he and Mary soon find themselves on the run from the law.
When Mary is secretly banished to another realm, The Grin believes she has left him. He transforms into The Grump and decides to use his powers to make everyone else as miserable as he is. While the tales of his deeds spread terror throughout the realm and he’s eventually captured and imprisoned, he hones his powers and hatches plans for revenge.
Meanwhile in another dimension, Mary is trying to bring happiness to others by creating an amusement park based on the world she has left behind and her unfinished love story. When Mary eventually dies, her grandson, Terry (Toby Kebbell), takes over and struggles to keep the park going. When all hope seems lost, Terry accidentally opens a portal to the other dimension and finds himself in the Kingdom of Groovynham where the King has recently passed away. His daughter, Princess Dawn (Lily Collins), is having her coronation and The Grump has just escaped from prison.
Angry that he has lost his chance for revenge on the King, the Grump decides to curse the princess and the entire kingdom instead. When Terry arrives at the castle, Princess Dawn thinks all her troubles are at an end because he’s there to save her, but all Terry wants is to get back home. When the pair learns that an oracle holds the key to helping them both, they set out together to find it, learning some lessons about love and letting go.
Death or separation from a loved one; the transformative power of magic; romantic love as the foundation for happiness
Here Comes the Grump has some violence. For example:
- The Grin accidentally sets Groovynham on fire while trying to make everyone happy.
- The King’s dragons crash to the ground when flames are sneezed on them.
- An old lady pushes Terry into oncoming traffic and walks over him.
- The Grump’s henchmen run around, repeatedly shooting Terry and Dawn with mood darts. They also punch and kick each other.
- The Grump and his henchmen attack little balloon men. The balloon men are shot with arrows and their deflated bodies litter the ground. Terry patches up some of them and helps them to fight back against The Grump by blasting the henchmen with oxygen tanks.
- Characters are crushed by falling rocks, hit with rocks, and occasionally fall off cliffs. They appear unharmed.
Here Comes the Grump has some sexual references. For example, when Dawn plucks a mood dart from Terry’s bottom, he says, ‘Hey! No touching the merchandise, baby’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Here Comes the Grump shows some use of substances. For example, Terry and Dawn visit a balloon kingdom. In this kingdom, balloon characters drink an unidentified substance, suck helium, blow smoke rings and puff clouds of smoke. Terry refuses to join in, but Dawn partakes. She gets very giggly and starts to act ‘high’. She begins eating daisies and Terry asks, ‘What did you give her?’ The bartender says that he added ‘oxygenated caffeine shots to her drink’.
Nudity and sexual activity
Here Comes the Grump has some sexual activity. For example, Terry and Dawn kiss a couple of times. It isn’t true love’s kiss, but it appears to break a spell both times.
There is no specific product placement in Here Comes the Grump. There’s a possible reference to Twitter when birds post terrible comments about the Grump on a social media platform used by the balloon people.
There’s no coarse language in Here Comes the Grump, but there is some name-calling, including ‘buffoon’, ‘male chauvinist pig’, ‘sucks’, ‘dumb’ and ‘good for nothing twerp’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Here Comes the Grump is an animated fantasy that will appeal to younger audiences. Parents and mature viewers might struggle to enjoy the movie because the plot is jumpy, the animation is simplistic and characters and themes are rather questionable.
The main messages from this movie are that true romantic love equals happiness, that misery loves company, and that sometimes to find what you’re looking for you have to let it go.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include determination, happiness, courage, resilience and understanding.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the following:
- What are the implications of believing, as Dawn does, that someone will come to rescue you, that you have no power to decide or influence your own future, that your happiness depends on someone else, and that without romantic love you can’t be happy?
- What are the risks of substance use? For example, when Dawn decides to join the balloon people in drinking and smoking the helium, her behaviour changes suddenly and she’s clearly not in control of herself.
- Is it OK to want revenge? For example, the Grump think that if he can’t be happy, he’ll make sure that no-one else is happy either.