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HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!
Blu-ray Edition

Review by Michael Jacobson

Voices:  Boris Karloff, Thurl Ravenscroft, June Foray
Director:  Chuck Jones
Audio:  Dolby 2.0
Video:  Full Frame 1.37:1
Studio:  Warner Bros.
Features:  See Review
Length:  26 Minutes
Release Date:  October 6, 2009

“The Grinch got a wonderful, AWFUL idea!!”

Show ****

When you combine two masters like the inimitable Dr. Seuss and the beloved Chuck Jones, you expect nothing short of a classic.  And How the Grinch Stole Christmas has fit that description for 40 years.

Taking the text from Seuss’ popular book and using his one-of-a-kind illustrative style as a starting point, Jones expanded the tale with a vibrant comic style, music, and talents.  And alongside A Charlie Brown Christmas, it has become one of the most beloved family viewing traditions of all time.

The classic tale of the grumpy Grinch and his vendetta against Christmas and the joyful Whos down in Whoville is timeless and never grows old, despite repeat viewings.  The humorous rhymes, the zany animation, the memorable tunes and the message about what Christmas really is NOT about has warmed hearts and tickled funny bones for four decades while showing no sign of slowing down.

Of course, what would it have been without Boris Karloff’s tremendous voice as both the narrator and the Grinch?  Or the bass-tacular vocal stylings of Thurl Ravenscroft singing “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”?  Or even the legendary voice of Rocky and Natasha June Foray bringing a little life to Cindy Lou Who (who was no more than two)?

It’s the perfect marriage of artistic talent all around, and that’s why fans can’t get enough, and why even old coots like me look forward to spending my holidays with the OTHER green grouch (the one that doesn’t live in the trash can).  The Grinch steals Christmas and the show year after year, and remains our most beloved crook.

BONUS TRIVIA:  You probably already knew this, but singer Thurl Ravenscroft was the long time voice of Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes.

Video ****

I’m speechless, stunned, flabbergasted…calling all available adjectives.  If you had told me that a 40 year old television special would be one of THE most amazing, beautiful and pristine animated viewing experiences I’d ever have, I never would have taken the bet.  But that’s the case with this tremendous Blu-ray offering from Warner.  The restoration and 1080p picture make this one of the brightest, most colorful and lovely of any traditional animated offering I’ve seen.  The colors are bright, the images are crisp, the clarity and contrast are simply beyond description.  You have to see this to believe it!

Audio **

Sadly, not as much was done with the audio…the simple surround track is suitable, but nothing spectacular; no real dynamic range or use of the rear signal, but spoken and sung words are clean and clear throughout and there are a few nice stereo effects on the front stage.

Features ****

This is quite an un-Grinch like collection of extras…they start with a terrific commentary track from animator Phil Roman and the wonderful Ms. June Foray herself.  “Dr. Seuss and The Grinch” is a nice retrospective documentary about how the book and author went Hollywood for this special.  There is the original TNT special feature on the program hosted by the late Phil Hartman, the original pencil test for the show, “Songs in the Key of Grinch” featuring classic interviews with singer Thurl Ravenscroft and composer Albert Hague, instant song selections, and a gallery of who’s who in Whoville.

And in addition to the Blu-ray disc, this set also includes a regular DVD and a digital copy for your portable media device.

Summary:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Blu-ray is a wonderful, AWESOME idea.  Seriously, friends, you’ll have no idea how good this disc is until you try it yourself.

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