“THE GRINCH” from Illumination Entertainment is now available on Blu-ray and digital to add to your home collection. There has been many retelling’s of this holiday story over the years but none quite like this one. I had a great time with this film and thoroughly enjoyed the robust collection of special-features. So let’s get into why I think it’s worth picking up.
Growing up I remember the Grinch making an appearance every year. I read the stories, watched the specials on television, and always enjoyed the menacing Grinch and his anti-holidays ways. Marching to the beat of his classic song. Admittedly, I was not a huge fan of the live-action telling of the story. It was a little weird, it was awkward at times and despite some fantastic make-up work and a charismatic performance from Carrey, the movie isn’t a satisfying watch for me. This one was a different case. It was filled with energy, lighthearted charm, loads of nostalgia, and with everything blending together perfectly I thought this was a fantastic modern telling of the Grinch.
The collection of characters in the story kept things moving and they all had their moments to shine. The writing was also clever with a natural sense-of-humor that was able to pump life into each of the unique personalities. Benedict Cumberbatch was an excellent choice for voicing the Grinch and he captured a massive range of emotions with a smooth flow. Cumberbatch gave the Grinch intensity, brash rudeness, charm, clever wit, sadness, and so much more. I also think this movie did a great job in expanding on the backdrop of the Grinch. Despite this not being the first version of this story for me, I was happy to feel that I learned more about the character. To get a better understanding behind the concepts of why the holiday was something he wanted to steal from Who-ville.
As for the visual-appeal, it was fantastic and all you would come to expect from the team at Illumination. I loved the visual styling and thought it captured the finer nuances of the original artwork with sincerity. It was loaded with color to draw you in and with a fluid motion to the scenes it felt like it was pulled from the pages of Dr. Seuss’ artistry and brought to life. It was filled with holiday charm and even though it was set in a snow-covered landscape it still captured a warmth to it. I feel it was subtle, but so important for this story, and in creating the holiday atmosphere. Therefore, if you are a person who might have passed on this one thinking you’ve heard this story already. I recommend giving it a shot because the creative efforts do take the story down different paths which I think are worth seeing for yourself.
This release is filled with a variety of special-features. It delivers a few “Making Of” vignettes, more information about the characters in the story, and much more, so let’s get into what’s all inside this Blu-ray.
Green to Screen – The Making of “The Grinch”
This informative feature provides a peek at the concepts behind the story foundation for this version of the classic Dr. Seuss tale. Commentary speaks on wanting to tell parts of the backstory for the Grinch that hadn’t been told on-screen before. They elaborate on the emphasis of wanting the audience get to know this iconic character from deeper angles. To learn why he had a disdain for the holiday, and where his method of thought was inspired from. Also discussed was the choice of Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice for Grinch. Expanding on how he specifically was able to capture the various levels of expression for the character through his voice-work.
Illuminating the Grinch
This was the more technical-look at the making of this film. Crew speak on the artistic design of the characters and Who-ville. How the focus always was on keeping the original designs and art-work as intact as possible when bringing the world into a three-dimensional movie. The creation of the films new character Fred was also explored. As well as commentary and footage showing how the original artwork was the constant inspiration to the design of everything. Something that was interesting to see because this movie really did a great job of maintaining that nostalgic feel of the world, while still being able to bring it into the modern-age.
Who’s Who in Who-ville
This was probably my favorite bit of bonus-material. It was an interactive vignette that consisted of five-chapters covering all of the characters in this new version of the story. I had fun with this feature getting to know more about the faces in this film. Each chapter consists of a nicely edited segment from the cast and crew giving their thoughts on the character of focus. If also provides some cool animation tests to see some of the pre-res development of the characters, through the layers of added detail used in bringing these animated characters to life. It also provides a progression reel for each that I loved. It was interesting seeing the characters from early storyboard development, through the conceptual process to the final result we get to see onscreen. Something that is awesome to see for anyone who is a fan of computer animation.
My Earliest Grinch Memories
This was another feature I had fun with. It was simple but heartwarming to hear the cast and crew share their first memories of the Grinch. We all come from different lives and had our first memories of the Grinch in different ways at different times. The character means something a little different to everyone and it was captured with charm in this short featurette.
This was another of my favorites in the bonus-material provided with this release. One of the things I loved about this movie was the collection of tools and gadgets the Grinch had as his disposal. Listening to the commentary from the film-makers was interesting as they talked about the thought process and the creative development to all the various tools and contraptions incorporated into the movie. They mention it being and open forum to people working on the film to toss in ideas for the different gizmos that the Grinch could use. And I think it was a nice added feature to provide some history to the many things we see worked into the Grinch’s arsenal.
Also included with his release are two fun lyric videos for the songs; “You’re A Mean One Mr. Grinch” & “I Am the Grinch” that I thought were nicely edited. It’s a fun addition for this holiday film and with constant motion, vibrant colors and bold typed lyrics I can see many kids and some adults having a great time singing along to these songs.
Illumination slides three mini-movies into the release as well. “Yellow is the New Black” featuring the Minion’s making a jail escape. “The Dog Days of Winter” showcasing the loyal dog Max and the efforts he puts into giving the Grinch his morning tea. The last one was called “Santa’s Little Helpers” another Minion inspired short with a heavy splash of Christmas workshop charm. Accompanying these mini-movies was a making of featurette that was again well-edited to provide concise information on the thought process behind these movies, the inspiration to them, and the technical creation as well that complements the movies perfectly.
That wraps up this review of “The Grinch” Blu-ray. I very much enjoyed this movie. I found it to be a thoughtful, creative, and heartwarming retelling of the classic Christmas story and with the awesome collection of bonus-material included with it, I think it’s a must have for adding to your home entertainment library.