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How the Grinch stole Christmas (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=155166&d=1255527447
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

75






Studio and Year: Warner Bros. - 1966
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 25 minutes
Genre: Holiday TV special

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.37:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: Boris Karloff, June Foray
Directed by: Chuck Jones
Music by: Albert Hague
Written by: Thedor Dr. Seuss Geisel
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 6, 2009







"The Grinch looks great in Blu!...."



Film Synopsis:

Every who down in Who-ville likes Christmas a lot, but the Grinch who lived just north of Who-ville did NOT! So the cuddly as a cactus Grinch (with termites in his smile and garlic in his soul) tries to wipe out Christmas for the cheerful Who-villains, only to discover: maybe Christmas, he thought doesn't come from as store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more! Magnificently narrated by Boris Karloff and animated by cartoon legend Chuck Jones, it's an award-winning Who-roast-beast-feast of a holiday classic!



My Take:

The Grinch who stole Christmas is a story that should need no introduction. However for those few who may have never heard it here is a good overview from Wikipedia:

The Grinch, a bitter, cave-dwelling, catlike creature with a heart "two sizes too small," lives on snowy Mount Crumpit, a steep, 3,000-foot (910 m) high mountain just north of Whoville, home of the merry and warm-hearted Whos. His only companion is his faithful dog, Max. From his perch high atop Mount Crumpit, the Grinch can hear the noisy Christmas festivities that take place in Whoville. Envious of the Whos' happiness, he makes plans to descend on the town and, by means of burglary, deprive them of their Christmas presents and decorations and thus "prevent Christmas from coming". However, he learns in the end that despite his success in stealing all the Christmas presents and decorations from the Whos, Christmas comes just the same. He then realizes that Christmas is more than just gifts and presents. His heart grows three sizes larger, he returns all the presents and trimmings, and is warmly welcomed into the community of the Whos.

As a child Dr. Seuss' books were required reading in my house. We loved reading them over and over. The cat in the hat, Horton hears a who, Green eggs and ham, and the subject of this review were among the most popular. The Grinch who stole Christmas was adapted into an animated film in 1966 and became a Christmas season staple that as kids we never missed. Voiced and narrated by the late great Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones' adaptation is skillfully handled and is one long memorable moment that has enchanted youngsters for years. I love Thurl (Tony the Tiger) Ravenscroft's rendition of You're a mean one Mr. Grinch and the interaction between the Grinch and his faithful companion, Max. Other than the Grinch, the biggest scene stealer has to be Cindy-Lou Who (voiced to perfection by June Foray). This is indeed a timeless classic that has been shared and enjoyed by generations. Here is a quote from my recent review of A Charlie Brown Christmas as it also pertains to this:

When I was young the only time we were able to see classics like this were around the holidays when they came on TV. If you somehow missed it you were out of luck until next year. It was rarely a problem because there was always plenty of advanced notice. Of all the wonderful yearly classics this is one that we never missed. The advent of home video changed all of that. I don't want to say that made it less special but kids growing up in the age of home video don't understand the excitement/anticipation of waiting each year to see The wizard of Oz, West Side Story, Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or How the Grinch stole Christmas. It has probably been forty years since I first saw it and I still enjoy it very much the same. Watching it now brings back warm nostalgic feelings from my childhood. I am thrilled that it has been released in high definition on Blu-ray Disc.









Parental Guide:

This program is appropriate for all ages.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 66



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

How the Grinch stole Christmas comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 20 mbps and lossy Dolby Digital stereo audio that has a constant bitrate of 192 kbps.

This presentation clearly represents this made for TV special in its finest light and looks great. The print is in excellent shape and exhibited little to no obvious signs of its age. Resolution is excellent as the video is rendered with refined clarity and stable sharpness. Colors are bold with slightly overstated reds and blues and a wide array of hues that quickly identify with Dr. Seuss' distinctive visual style. Blacks, such as those found in the background of the Grinch's cave or in the dark Whoville family fireplaces aren't infinitely deep but look appreciably dark next to the lighter elements onscreen. I detected a light veil of grain and didn't see any signs of compression related video noise or artifacts. This older TV based soundtrack makes exclusive use of the center channel speaker. I was impressed with the level of clarity that I heard in spoken dialogue and lower level sounds contained within the recording. The centrally focused presentation isn't especially engaging but dimension is fair. There is no information mixed to the surrounds and subwoofer. Based upon the original source elements this track sounded appropriately dated but otherwise just fine.



Bonus Features:


  • Behind the story: Dr. Seuss and the Grinch from Whoville to Hollywood - 25 minute featurette

  • Grinch pencil test - Take a look at some of the storyboard sketches

  • Songs in the key of Grinch - 8 minute documentary

  • 4 Grinch song selections set to a static pic of Whoville

  • Making animation and bringing it to life - Audio commentary featuring animator Phil Roman and June Foray (the voice of Cindy-Lou Who)

  • Who's who in Whoville - Text based biographies of Dr. Seuss, Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones and June Foray

  • How the Grinch stole Christmas TNT special edition hosted by the late Phil Hartman - A fun soup to nuts look at the production (19 minutes)

  • Trailers: Peanuts holiday collection & Classic Christmas favorites

  • Bonus Disc containing a Digital Copy and standard definition DVD version of How the Grinch stole Christmas




Final Thoughts:

How the Grinch stole Christmas is a beloved family classic from the mind and heart of Dr. Seuss. Its story was faithfully brought to life in this animated feature that has easily withstood the test of time and entertained generations of viewers throughout the years. It tiptoes onto Blu-ray from Warner Bros. featuring excellent high definition video quality and a wonderful assortment of pertinent bonus supplements that add to the enjoyment of this quality offering that belongs in every collection.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 15
Hi Ralph,

Thanks for a great review of another childhood classic.
Any chance you will review the recently released Jim Carrey live action version? My son loves that one.
post #3 of 15
Hi Ralph,

Have not watched this in years. Time to take another look.

Holiday classics. I'm surprised that with all the old catalog titles being released Paramount has not gotten around to "White Christmas", first film ever in VistaVision.

Eagerly awaiting "North by Northwest" on BD. Release date 11/03. You will have that title soon? On DVD with my OPPO 83 it looks great. Can only imagine how good it might look if MGM did a 4K full restoration. And some consider that work not one of Hitch's best. Huh?

Thanks and keep your great reviews coming.

Joe
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Hi Ralph,

Thanks for a great review of another childhood classic.
Any chance you will review the recently released Jim Carrey live action version? My son loves that one.

Thanks for taking the time to answer...
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Thanks for taking the time to answer...

Ralph may be working or tending to some personal family business, so he may not have seen your question yet, so be patient.

I doubt he'll be reviewing it though since it's a Universal release, which is a studio he doesn't cover. I have reviewed it though and it's very similar to the HD DVD and a vast improvement over the DVD release. Unfortunately, the cinematography is too bland for my tastes.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Thanks for taking the time to answer...

Greetings,

My apologies HTdude14. Dave is right, things have been hectic (on a personal note). I won't be covering The 2000 Jim Carrey Grinch movie as it's a Universal Studio release and I don't handle them.


Regards,
post #7 of 15
oops thought this was the newer movie...
post #8 of 15
Thanks Ralph and Dave. My apologies for being an impatient boob
I certainly can understand busy family life.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Htdude14 View Post

Thanks Ralph and Dave. My apologies for being an impatient boob
I certainly can understand busy family life.

Greetings,

Apology accepted and thanks.


Regards,
post #10 of 15
I just wonder if this was a release that really needed the Blu-ray treatment. The age of the print alone and the fact that it was produced for NTSC TV and the general animation style means that the presentation (in my opinion) is not going to benefit any from what amounts to an up-conversion in format. I am all for releasing family classics such as this for future generations to enjoy, but this particular one is already available on DVD. Essentially I feel that releasing it on Blu-Ray is at best a waste of media, and at worst a waste of money if you have a DVD copy already.
post #11 of 15
^^^^

well, it can't HURT to have it on blu-ray... realistically, the more catalog titles like this (and other "timeless" type things) that make it to blu-ray, the better...
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

I doubt he'll be reviewing it though since it's a Universal release, which is a studio he doesn't cover. I have reviewed it though and it's very similar to the HD DVD and a vast improvement over the DVD release. Unfortunately, the cinematography is too bland for my tastes.

Dave,

I agree with you... However, in the audio side the BD is better than the HD DVD...
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by gonzalc3 View Post

Dave,

I agree with you... However, in the audio side the BD is better than the HD DVD...

Slightly, but still not as robust as it could have been. I think the sound design was weak to begin with, so there wasn't a lot to improve upon.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

Slightly, but still not as robust as it could have been. I think the sound design was weak to begin with, so there wasn't a lot to improve upon.

Yes it was due to the sound design... But there are some parts in which the clarity coming out of the surrounds improved...
post #15 of 15
Just FYI. I just bought this and How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Neither digital copy is compatible with mac or ipod, according to the insert. how dumb is that?
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