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Of all the animated Christmas specials that I enjoyed during my childhood, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! ($30) was my favorite because it featured the voice of horror movie icon Boris Karloff. I grew up on all the old Universal horror movies and loved this special because it had found a way to add a bit of horror with the happiest time of the year. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! combines the talents of writer Dr. Seuss (aka Theodore Geisel) with those of animator Chuck Jones, who was responsible for so many classic Warner Bros. cartoons. The Dr. Seuss story is set in the community of Whoville, which is preparing to celebrate Christmas. High above Whoville lives a nasty, Christmas hating creature known as The Grinch (voiced by Boris Karloff). To alleviate his holiday misery, The Grinch decides he must steal all of the trappings of the season from the Whos and ruin Christmas down in Whoville. Dressing up as Santa, The Grinch pays a Christmas Eve visit to Whoville and fills up his sleigh with everything even remotely related to the Yuletide season. In addition to voicing The Grinch, Boris Karloff also serves as the story’s narrator. HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! also features the voices of June Foray as Cindy Lou Who and Thurl Ravenscroft, who sings The Grinch’s theme song- You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch.

Warner Home Video has made HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. Holy jumping catfish! HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! now features its most colorful release ever, as the 1080p presentation takes the program back to the look of its original hand painted animation cells, instead of the faded prints that most of us grew up on. In addition to the wonderfully vibrant colors, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! is far more crisply defined than it has been in the past, which includes the sharply defined and totally stable hues. Blacks are perfectly inky, while the whites are clean. Contrast is excellent for this type of animated program. There are flaws in the original animation that become more noticeable at the high definition level, but otherwise, the picture is wholly excellent. Some mild grain is present in the image.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a Dolby Digital 2.0 192kbps soundtrack that seems identical to what was contained on the previous DVD release. The sound is free from significant flaws, but does have limited fidelity due the ages of the recordings and the limited bit rate of the encoding. Boris Karloff’s narration is crisp, but the music can seem thin. No other language tracks are present, but English subtitles are provided.

The interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements, many of which have been ported from the previous DVD releases. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with animator Phil Roman and voice artist June Foray. Both provide personal memories of the HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!, which creates a well rounded view of the special, since they contributed to very different areas of the production. Songs In The Key Of Grinch is a nine-minute featurette that introduces viewers to composer Albert Hague, who was responsible for the special’s classic tunes. Songs also introduces one to Thurl Ravenscroft, the singer whose deep voice many will also recognize as that of Tony The Tiger from cereal commercials. Also included is a 19 minute featurette about HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!, which originally ran on TNT in 1994. The featurette is hosted by Phil Hartman and includes interviews with the wife of the late Dr. Seuss, as well as composer Albert Hague and filmmaker Tim Burton. Another Featurette is the sixteen-minute program Dr. Seuss And The Grinch: From Whoville To Hollywood. Song Selections, Who's Who In Whoville and Grinch Pencil Test close the standard supplements. A Digital Copy of the program is also provided.

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! is another holiday must have. The Blu-ray presentation offers a highly impressive visual upgrade to high definition. Definitely recommended to fans transitioning to high definition.



How the Grinch Stole Christmas [Blu-ray] (1965)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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