Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 6.45 GB
Film Size: 4.18 GB
Film Rating: Not Rated
Region: Free

Video
The Grinch comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. There has been some debate concerning this Blu-ray release, as viewers note a brighter look than all previous releases. The Grinch has been muddy green in past release, but he is now a brighter green with less murky environments.

At first I thought maybe they did switch the colors up to make a more vibrant high-def presentation, changing the actual film is really not okay. Upon further inspection though, I think it may be possible that the Blu-ray release is the first time the special has been presented accurately. Grinch animation cells from the special all are extremely accurate to the Blu-ray release and not as seen on previous home video releases.

Many will complain simply because they are not used to the look of the Grinch on Blu-ray, but I truly believe it is accurate to the original animation and color choices. The film is presented in original aspect ratio, and the print is quite clean aside from a few specks here and there. Black lines are solid, never jaggy like certain animated releases we have come to see on the format. The Grinch definitely looks very nice in high-def despite it's very simplistic nature. 8/10.

Audio
A 2.0 Dolby Digital audio track is included and I am definitely disappointed by this. The disc is on a BD25, and not much of the disc is used to begin with, yet we did not get lossless audio for this release. While the upgrade may be minimal if at all improved, it would still be nice to get an audio codec that isn't so inferior now.

Regardless, the Dolby Digital track was quite weak. The wonderful narration from Boris Karloff is easy to understand, but it definitely feels a bit muffled and lacking overall. The music on this special is always fun and certainly memorized by many, and it's presented decently. I just think the track needs a bit of a cleaning up, hiss among other things become quite distracting from time to time. 5/10.

Extras

Dr. Seuss and the Grinch - From Whoville to Hollywood (15:49) (SD)
Learn about the amazing Dr. Seuss, his book, and how it was turned into a classical Christmas special.

Grinch Pencil Test (Images) (SD)
Drawings of Grinch storyboards.

Songs in the Key of Grinch (8:01) (SD)
Featurette on the songs and voices in the TV special.

Grinch Song Selections (Audio)
Opening Song
Trim Up the Tree
Welcome, Christmas
You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Making Animation and Bringing it to Life Commentary
by Animator Phil Roman and June Foray.

Who's Who in Whoville
Text biographies on Creator/Writer Theodor S. (Dr. Seuss) Geisel, Director Chuck Jones, Narrator Boris Karloff and June Foray, the voice of Cindy-Lou.

TNT's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" Special Edition (19:18) (SD)
A historic look at the Grinch with the late Phil Hartman as he takes you through the production team.

Trailers (3:29) (SD)
Peanuts Holiday Collection and Classic Christmas Favorites trailers are included, neither available on Blu-ray.

DVD/Digital Copy of the film
A second disc features both a DVD and Digital Copy version of the film. The DVD copy included is fantastic and I'm sure many parents will appreciate it, although the Digital Copy is quite useless as it's Windows Media compatible only.

Upon reading it looks like there are so many extras, but not necessarily the case. There are actually only three video features pertaining to the film itself, the rest are either audio or text.

There is a second disc housed in the green Blu-ray case, which includes the DVD, something that I hope studios come to realize is necessary for family releases on the format. That alone gives it some decent scores in my book. 6/10.

Blu-news Summary
Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday classic, whether you watch it on television, own it on a format, or perhaps just stick with the book, you have had to have experienced the place called Whoville one way or another.

Like Charlie Brown, this was definitely an odd but certainly appreciated title released on Blu-ray, it was something I didn't expect to release until further down the road, because we are usually only guaranteed day and date releases on the format.

The Grinch is simple and short, but the story works magically to delight viewers of all ages. It's a classic unlike the disappointing live action take of the book. It's storytelling that has held up very nicely for over 40 years and still going strong. 10/10.

The Blu-ray release is great video-wise, but the audio is truly a disappointment. To be honest though, I don't see a double dip in this title's future, perhaps a repackaging or set but that's really it. The extras are mostly filler, but the DVD copy is something I am sure parents will certainly appreciate when picking up this Blu-ray release.

Overall the Grinch on Blu-ray is 'Worth A Look' whether it be a purchase or rental, but certainly 'Highly Recommended' if you do not have the DVD.

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