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Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – Blu-Ray Movie Review

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Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – Blu-Ray Movie Review

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Universal Pictures

Of all of Dr. Seuss’s stories, How the Grinch Stole Christmas appears to be the most celebrated, even topping his beloved Cat in the Hat. With The Grinch, Illumination has taken their own stab on the yuletide tale and the result is their best production to date. This computer animated rendition respects the original source material, while putting its own spin as it heavily focuses on the planning of the heist. Directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier give a quick idea of why the Grinch hates the holiday and that results in a much needed message on loneliness and social anxiety. There’s also a heartwarming theme running through The Grinch on the importance of kindness, mostly through the ever cheerful Whos. Cindy Lou-Who’s own subplot, where she attempts to contact Santa Claus, has a childlike joy and ties in nicely with the main plot.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s decision to voice the Grinch with an American accent seems unusual at first, but it manages to work. Meanwhile, Pharrell Williams is a surprisingly excellent choice to voice the narrator. The team at Illumination really upped their animation game on The Grinch, beautifully translating Seuss’s trademark art style. The slapstick comedy bits work effectively and art director Colin Stimpson has done a lovely job with his designs for Whoville, Mount Krumpet and the other locales visited by the Grinch. On a second viewing, one starts to truly admire the incredible shot compositions Cheney and Mosier bring to The Grinch. The filmmakers bring a cinematic eye to the film and show the incredible growth Illumination has been having as they slowly, but surely, experiment a little bit more.

The widescreen image of The Grinch especially pops on the Blu-Ray with all of the amazing colours the artists have imbued the film with. Danny Elfman’s score and Tyler The Creator’s songs, including his new cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” sound fantastic, too. Universal Studios have included a decent number of bonus features for the Blu-Ray. The main attraction is a trio of short films or “mini-movies.” There’s a new Grinch short, titled Dog Days of Winter, which shows Max’s attempts to get a hot chocolate for his master and it’s a humourous little adventure. We get the usual Minion antics in Yellow is the New Black, but the Christmas-related short Santa’s Little Helpers provides the funnier Minion tale. Seeing the Minions try to become elves in the North Pole allows for plenty of opportunities for great gags and it’s surprising this short wasn’t attached to theatrical showings of The Grinch. A featurette interviewing the filmmakers of the mini-movies provides additional insight into their creation.

A lot of the behind-the-scenes bonus featurettes emphasize adapting Seuss’s book and his influence over the production, including “From Green to Screen.” “Illuminating The Grinch” shows some of the animation tests and concept art and the evolution of the characters, while the cast and crew reminisce about the book and the Chuck Jones television special in “My Earliest Grinch Memories.” Meanwhile, “Grinchy Gadgets” shows the various contraptions used by the Grinch in the movie. A few lyric videos for Tyler The Creator’s songs are included, as is a neat featurette where Danny Elfman discusses composing the score. There are a few educational treats, with a look at how Christmas is celebrated around the world and Illumination artist Mark O’Hare provides some drawing tutorials. Finally, the disc culminates with a virtual fire place and a list of babies born during the production of The Grinch.

Some more bonus features on the making of The Grinch would have been nice, along with a director’s commentary. However, it’s nonetheless a decent set of extras. Most importantly, The Grinch is sure to become a new holiday favourite, alongside the classic animated special and the live-action Ron Howard adaptation. It’s a sweet and charming movie that shows how timeless the themes of this story are and is Illumination’s best and most impressive work to date. Christmas may be over, but The Grinch is still a Blu-Ray worth picking up when it hits store shelves on February 5.

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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