No matter how many times I watch this film, the story and its’ songs are still fresh, just like the newly minted Blu-ray, How The Grinch Stole Christmas looks as if it could have been made yesterday. The story still, to this day, retains its heartwarming potency from when its first air, this includes the charming songs by Dr. Seuss and sung by Thurl Ravenscroft (Tony the Tiger) and the citizens of Who-ville. Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas will have adults, kids, and Grinches a like, happily grinning a Grinchly grin, from ear to ear.
The story begins with all the happy Whos down in Who-ville, who loved Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did not… and with a song, so begins the 26 minute televised edition of the now holiday classic “Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas”. I do not think I need to go in too much detail, for I think it would be safe to say that, by now every one knows, or should know the story. But for the sake of this review, I shall do a quick refresher, for your convenience of course.
The Whos down in Who-ville are getting ready for Christmas; “For Christmas comes tomorrow…” However the Grinch, who lives just north of Who-ville, is planning to “stop this whole thing!” Why? For 53 years he’s put up with it, and now he plans to steal Christmas, and make all the Whos down in Who-ville, all cry “Boo Who”. But can the Grinch really stop Christmas from coming, or does Christmas mean something more…
Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch stole Christmas is an unforgettable story, because of its heartwarming message, it has effectively set itself apart from the rest of Dr. Seuss’ repertoire. The realization of the true spirit of Christmas is well worth it at the end. As I previously stated this is one story that many families look forward to sitting with their young ones during Christmas time. This is another one of my favorite holiday show that without a doubt I look forward to revisit time and time again. It truly brings the spirit of Christmas to even the coldest of hearts.
Before I watched the BD version of the Grinch, I watched the DVD that came with the BD. I was shocked, the color and detail was a smidge brighter and better, then that of the 50th anniversary edition. I think I can nail the better PQ to the exclusion of Horton. So after watching the DVD, I was looking forward to the Blu-ray, popped it in, and then fell back wards on to (thankfully) my chair.
The Grinch slithers its way onto one of the best animated Blu-ray I’ve seen this year (ok, minus the Japanese BD of Karas). Might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the restoration and transfer of a film this old is excellent. The 1080p 1.37:1 transfer of Dr. Seuss How The Grinch Stole Christmas is great! However, I must warn, people that have 4:3 (Full Screen) TV sets, the picture will not take up your screen like the DVD, the picture will be boxed, preserving it original ratio. But seeing as this is the Blu-ray most people will most likely have a high definition screen. If you don’t mind me saying, it looks pretty darn cool. With that being said, all the color that was present in the original run was all present on the Blu-ray, or close to it, this includes the Grinch’s bright green fur that over the years it just seemed to have turned a darker brown every time it’s televised.
The colors are bright and vivid; you can see more of the lines to the animation, thick and bold. The fine brush strokes are visibly shown frame by frame. Example, look at the close ups on the Grinchs’ face during the first minutes of the DVD, then watch the BDs’ first five minutes. You’ll see what I mean, you’ll want to look at the Grinchs’ eyes and eyebrows, the difference or is magnificent, and it just goes to show you the power that is Blu-ray. There is no detection of overly used edge enhancement. But like all old cartoons there are the technical problems that lie in this beautiful transfer. But it’s not because of the transfer, WB so rightfully gave it; personally, I could not ask for a prettier picture then this. The main problems doesn’t fall on the studio’s restoration process, but the actual age of the film, now I can pick them out easily and tell you were most of them are, but for you dear reader, I do not want to, for risk of them standing out like a sore thumb. I think its safe to say that, this is the best version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas has ever looked on a home video release. Well-done Warner!
Like most of the recent restoration transfers, the studio chosen the, Ha hem… “worst audio” option. This being the case, it didn’t bug me much, due to the age of the film. But still with a great picture, I was looking for something different a new audio track. It would have been nice to see a lossless and the original audio, for the nostalgia factor for the older fans. But this was NOT the case; the studio re-used for this release. The audio is clearer and crisper then that of its DVD counter part. Heck you can now hear when Boris Karloff breaths in, after he is done talking. On the original DVD, 50th anniversary, and the new 2009 edition, you would need headphones, or be prepared to blast your TV for you to hear it. I did not detect any pops, clicks, hisses, etc, that tend to show up in older films. But for the fans, the music has the waver that we have come to know and love. I think the best part to all this, is that Boris’ voice, that at times got muffled on the DVD, were surprisingly not muffled, or at least sounded better on the Blu-ray. Don’t let the sound prevent you from picking up this wonderful title. After all, WB did a decent job.
The extras on the Blu-ray are taken straight from the 50th anniversary edition and the new 2009 deluxe edition (included with the Blu-ray). As mentioned before, the animated version of Horton Hears a Who, has not been included on the DVD or Blu-ray. It happens to be the first time the Grinch and Horton have been separated. Fear not, Horton can be found on its own disc and can be placed next to this title in your collection. Anyway, I would caution about the slipcover as it has plenty of glitter that will get messy. Yes it is identical to that of the 50th anniversary edition DVD, minus the size. So naturally there is the case of loose glitter. For fans of slip covers (I myself being one of them), this is a nice bonus! But for the crowd of people who do not like slip covers, I would wait and see if you can get this title with out the slipcover. Let’s get to the extras!
Dr Seuss and the Grinch-From Who-ville to Hollywood – A fun, yet interesting look at Dr. Seuss. Is it fun to watch with your kids? YES! Fun to watch by yourself, not so much…while the fun factor is there for the entire family, I found some portions of it a tad annoying for my taste.
Grinch Song Selections – For some of you that are die-hard fans of the songs, rejoice! This feature is still here. But unlike the DVD, giving you the animation with the songs, the studio deiced to give you a nice Welcome to Who-ville screen saver instead. Way to go WB…
Who’s Who In Who-ville – Biographies about Chuck Jones (Director), Dr. Seuss (author, song writer), Boris Karloff (The Grinch/Narrator), and June Foray (Cindy-Lou Who)
Grinch Pencil Test – Neat storyboards of the Grinch that made it in to the show.
TNT’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Special Edition – This happens to be a favorite of mine, as far as extras go. The late Phil Hartman hosts a 20min behind the scenes look at how the Grinch went from story book to big screen. Granted this is not for everyone. While Phil does a great job at hosting, some will find him a bit annoying. But none the less a fun watch.
Songs in the Key of Grinch – Albert Hague (Composer) and Thurl Ravenscroft A.K.A Tony the Tiger (unscripted vocalist) tell you more about their involvement on the show. I also happen to enjoy this extra as well. A good watch for anyone who wants to make it big.
Making Animation and Bringing it to Life Commentary By Animator Phil Roman and June Foray – A cute and very charming commentary that is aimed more towards the adult and fans of the Grinch.
Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas (DVD/Digital Copy) – Like I’ve said during this review, The DVD is a twin of the 50th anniversary edition, minus Horton, and it also holds the hmm… digital copy. Now here’s my big complaint, Warner (like any other studio) expects us to pay big money for a BD + DVD + Digital Copy for any title, but not making it iTunes compatible. See where I am going with this? While it’s not a big deal to everyone, I can see how troublesome it will be to some by not including a copy in the most used format. Nonetheless, I will give Warner kudos for the new DVD, and for conveniently putting the digital copy on the disc as well.
If you ask me, Warner could have done a better job with the audio and maybe put in a high definition extra. I mean, they do not have Horton on the disc, and if they took out the Who’s who in who-ville and Grinch Pencil Test I’m sure they could have fit in something new. But nonetheless, WB did a fantastic job on the picture quality. I have to say that I’m happy for now. In No way should the audio or the digital copy deter you from buying this. To end this review I’ll quote the show one last time “Welcome Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to claps. Christmas will always be, just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas, while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand.”
Here’s a video clip. Enjoy!