How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Animation / Family
Warner Brothers || NR - 26 minutes - $29.99 || October 6, 2009
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-12-02


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Chuck Jones
Writer(s): Dr. Seuss (book); Irv Spector & Bob Ogle (additional story)
Cast: Boris Karloff


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Commentary
  • 3 Featurettes
  • Song Selections
  • Storyboards
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Full Frame (1.33)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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.::THE FILM::.

The 1966 Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, has been almost required viewing for the holiday season... except apparently in my family as this is the first time in a long while I have seen it.

The Grinch is a grouch who hates all the celebrating the Whos in Whoville do on Christmas. The Whos comes out of their little huts, gather around in a circle, sing and just enjoy being merry during the joyous season. The Grinch finally tired of it all comes up with a scheme to steal Christmas from the innocent Whos and make them as miserable as he is.

The scheme involves coming down from his cave up in the clouds while the Whos sleep, break in to their huts and steal everything they own from the presents to the Christmas tree. The hermit’s dastardly deeds ends after he steals everything from the Whos, piles it on a sled — pulled by his poor, abused little dog — and plans on pushing it all off a cliff. Oh, that Grinch, what a fiend.

Of course, the short was based on Dr. Seuss’s classic book and one could easily argue it’s the only version of any of Seuss’s adaptations to see be it the ridiculous Jim Carrey interpretation or the reportedly (since I never had the stomach to actually see it) awful Cat in the Hat with Mike Meyers.

I found How the Grinch Stole Christmas to be a charming special, one that adults will enjoy but something hopefully kids will get more out of especially with a smack-in-your-face message at the end. The songs are absolutely wonderful and the evil charm of The Grinch voiced by Boris Karloff (who also served as the narrator) and even if you’ve never seen the special, you know the music.

Unfortunately, I do wonder how the short will play to today’s youth as we are living in a more cynical world; I know my cynical mind actually began siding with The Grinch given the people of Whoville are a bit too happy... In any case, I liked the special which is still fun all these years later, it’s a message we all should remember during this time of the season.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The Blu-ray comes with a nifty but ultimately annoying slip cover with that rough glitter substance on the front. While certainly it’s Christmas-y, I would’ve preferred the standard glossy cover...

Dr. Seuss and the Grinch – From Whoville to Hollywood (15:48) – Discover the amazing Dr. Seuss and his creation of his book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” – and how this all-time classic was adapted into the famous Christmas special. This is a pretty cool featurette with interviews and comments from those who have researched and knew Dr. Seuss before going into the origins of the book.

Songs in the Key of Grinch (8:01) is a featurette on the songs and voices in the Christmas TV special. In this, we get more interviews with those who composed and sang the music including Thurl Ravenscroft a.k.a. “Tony the Tiger” who recently passed away.

Making Animation and Bringing it to Life is a commentary with animator Phil Roman and June Foray who was the voice of Cindy Lou Who. The two trade stories about the special and talk about various topics about the TV special.

Who’s Who in Whoville are old school text biographies on Creator/Writer Theodor S. (Dr. Seuss) Geisel, Director Chuck Jones, Narrator Boris Karloff and June Foray.

TNT’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Special Edition (19:18) is a historic look at the Grinch with the late Phil Hartman as he takes you through the production team.

The rest of the disc includes: Grinch Pencil Test (storyboard art), Grinch Song Selections where you can go directly to your favorite songs and finally trailers for “Peanuts Holiday Collection” and “Classic Christmas Favorites”.

Oh, and there’s also a digital copy.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Well, what would a 40 year old animated piece look like in 1080p high definition? It is fairly colorful, free of dust, dirt and other imperfections, which is astounding given its age. It’s not an entirely amazing viewing experience but probably is an improvement over the DVD version.

The audio on the other hand isn’t that enticing, due to the age. The Blu-ray comes with a low key Dolby 2.0 stereo track that is flat in every way but at least it’s not too muffled or distracting.



.::OVERALL::.

Is it worth owning on Blu-ray at a premium price? Maybe not, but fans certainly couldn’t go wrong with getting it in this format as the picture is pretty darn good. The features, while mostly ported over from other editions, are fairly entertaining and go beyond what one would expect from a short TV special.