The Grinch Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews The Grinch, the film based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved tale about a cynical grouch who goes on a mission to steal Christmas.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

96

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 2018
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 86 minutes
Genre: Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Pharrell Williams, Cameron Seely
Directed by: Scott Mosier, Yarrow Cheney
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: Michael LeSieur, Tommy Swerdlow
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 5, 2019

“Resting Grinch Face”

Synopsis:

“From Illumination and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, the film based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved tale about a cynical grouch who goes on a mission to steal Christmas from others only to feel his own heart grow three sizes larger through unexpected friendships.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

We are all familiar with the Dr. Seuss’ classic and beloved tale. But, for those that aren’t here’s an overview:

The Grinch and his loyal dog, Max, live a solitary existence inside a cave on Mount Crumpet. His main source of aggravation comes during Christmastime when his neighbors in Whoville celebrate the holidays with a bang. When the Whos decide to make Christmas bigger and brighter, the disgruntled Grinch realizes there is one way to gain peace and quiet. With help from Max, the green grump hatches a scheme to pose as Santa Claus, steal Christmas and silence the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all.

Ah, the Dr. Seuss stories. I am a fan and grew up watching the adaptations of them that were frequently broadcast on television. Around the holidays there were a series of staples that we watched each year. Among them was “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” narrated by the late great Boris Karloff. I am not particularly a fan of the live action version starring Jim Carey and hoped that this new animated spin would prove more entertaining.

I had fun with this one. It predominantly remains faithful to Dr. Seuss’ story while broadening the narrative a bit to include more on Cindy-Lou Who and some connective tissue between she and the Grinch which, in turn, fulfills story elements surrounding some of the added details. We also get a few new characters that provide a few chuckles as well as a heartwarming minor subplot. None of this detracts from the original essence of the Dr. Seuss’ wonderful holiday message which when all is said and done comes through loud and clear.

Does The Grinch reinvent the wheel? No. It more or less the same story we have already seen. That doesn’t make it any less effective or fun to watch. What is missing is the nostalgic value of some of the best moments from the original as those that are present feel different in a way. Regardless, I found The Grinch to be well spun and pitch perfect holiday entertainment for the kids.

Replay Value:

Parental Guide: 

The rating is for brief rude humor.

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.**

Audio: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
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  • Fleshtones:
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Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

The Grinch comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

This is a reference quality video presentation that boasts vivacious colors that are rich in saturation and bold in depth. Detail is superlative as the video has definitive three-dimensional quality with crisp texture and excellent fine articulation. Contrast is strong and well balanced so that whites are crisp and colors pop without distortion or loss of detail. Blacks are deep with excellent dynamic and enriching gradational highlights. This is a beautiful and pristine quality digital transfer that sparkles on Blu-ray.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. There is some excellent use of the overhead channels during the scene where the Grinch, Max and reindeer Fred test drive the newly acquired sled. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it made for an entertaining listening experience.

The 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD (Atmos core) soundtrack makes excellent use of the entire surround platform and offers detail rich sonic clarity, crystalline dialogue and plenty of authoritative, room filling bass. This mix doesn’t bombard you with constantly aggressive surround sound. It applies it when appropriate and combines discretely placed directional cues with rear channel ambience that fills the listening area nicely. The front and rear sound fields never collide but work in unison to render the soundtrack with precise imaging and acoustic presence that elevates the experience. The LFE channel is actively engaged throughout and offers bass response that is extended, punchy and clean. This is a well-rounded overall presentation that I thought complimented the source material.

Bonus Features:

  • • Who’s Who in Who-ville (interactive map) – There are so many interesting characters that call Who-ville home that it’s hard to keep track of them all. This “Who’s Who” pop-up book uses animation to create a virtual storybook that takes us from Who-ville to Mt. Crumpit.
    • “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” Lyric Video – Tyler, The Creator puts a modern spin on the Seussian Christmas classic.
    • Yellow is the New Black – (Mini Movie) Before they all make their big escape from prison in Despicable Me 3, a couple of lucky Minions get a taste of freedom as they break free with the help of one of their fellow human inmates.
    • Dog Days of Winter – (Mini Movie) Max braves the harsh winter weather and an uncooperative Who to bring a sick Grinch his favorite hot tea.
    • Santa’s Little Helpers – (Mini Movie) Fan favorites – the Minions – are back for another adventure! Having been accidently dropped off at the North Pole, our Minion pals make the most of the situation by trying to become elves.
    • The Making of the Mini-Movies – Mini in size but not in heart, these short films are fan favorites. From the Grinch and Max to the Minions – you’ll explore the themes of each of the mini-movies through the eyes of the filmmakers who made them.
    • From Green to Screen – It takes a lot to bring grumpy green to your home screen. This inside look at the making of Illumination’s Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch features interviews and behind-the-scenes moments with the cast, filmmakers and artists whose hearts have all grown three sizes bringing this classic tale to life.
    • Illuminating THE GRINCH – Using filmmaker and cast interviews, concept art and progression reels, we take a behind-the-scenes look at how the characters evolved from initial sketches to fully realized characters.
    • My Earliest GRINCH Memories – The cast and filmmakers of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch reveal their earliest memories of the grumpy green character and the enduring appeal of this Christmas curmudgeon’s journey to redemption.
    • Grinchy Gadgets – From his body-size blow dryer to his moving mechanical chair, from his catapult to his dog drone-rig and more… you’ll get to explore the wondrous world of Grinch’s gadgets.
    • “I Am The Grinch” Lyric Video – A stylized look at Tyler, The Creator’s original song created just for the film.
    • Songs From His Little Heart – Take a deep dive into the toe tapping beats of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch. From score to specialty songs, you’ll hear from the film’s A-list musicians on what it took to create the music behind the movie.
    • X-mas Around the World – Every culture practices Christmas in a slightly different way. We’ll highlight some of the more fun permutations of the holiday around the globe.
    • Cindy-Lou’s Yule Log – Nothing says the holidays quite like an animated fireplace blasting fake heat from your living room television. Just in time for winter, we’ll recreate Cindy-Lou’s living room on Christmas Eve for all to enjoy.
    • Production Babies – A celebration of the babies born to the filmmakers during the production of Illumination’s Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch.
    • Any Who Can Draw – Hosted by an Illumination artist and head of story Mark O’Hare, you’ll see step-by-step how to draw some of your favorite characters from this beloved holiday classic; Grinch, Max and Fred!
  • DVD
  • Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

Based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved tale The Grinch is a charming update that maintain the essence of the original classic while adding a few contemporary elements that bring home its primary theme. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video, rewarding lossless surround sound, including a complimentary Dolby Atmos immersive sound mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package. The Grinch makes for pitch perfect family entertainment that looks and sounds terrific on Blu-ray. If you’re a fan feel free to add it to your holiday video collection.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems