How the Grinch Stole Christmas (SE)/C,B
Universal/2000/105/ANA 1.85

     How the Grinch Stole Christmas didn't do it for me. He neither pierced my heart with fear nor disgusted me to the extent of provoking laughter. In fact, this old Grinch probably worked best as a sleeping tonic. At least my thirteen-year-old daughter was delighted by varied Grinch antics.
   No doubt the busy production design is supposed to be a hoot. Some of it is funny, but I grew tired of it quickly. I felt rather overpowered by the machinations. 

Looking good, Grinch. ©Universal

     Jim Carrey is buried beneath Grinch make-up. Excessive make-up coupled with special effects worked wonders for Carrey in The Mask. In that film, there was a balance between a live Carrey and a juiced up Carrey. Can you imagine Jim Carrey going trick or treating? That might give you an inkling into his Grinch performance. I suppose I wanted Carrey to be funnier too. Young Taylor Momsen is a bland Cindy Lou Who, but that is part and parcel of the overall conception. 
    I can understand how director Ron Howard might have gotten carried away by the material. Dr. Seuss's Grinch is a sort of public treasure. Howard's usual good judgment may have been dazzled by the task of decorating a venerable public Christmas tree with movie delights. Excess is the operative word in most instances. How the Grinch Stole Christmas is really for a young kid audience. It's tuned safely for young impressionables.    
    Is the How the Grinch Stole ChristmasDVD faithful to the original source material? Probably. Most sequences are sharp, however in a number of instances it almost appears the film has been airbrushed, like illustrations in a fairy tale book. It's not in synch with the nature of the narrative material nor production elements. I found black level occasionally less than optimal. Is it a fair approximation of the original source material? Color is good with a subtle range, though in scenes with compromised black level, the color is slightly washed out. My guess is that How the Grinch Stole Christmas would present a major challenge for fixed pixel display devices like LCD and DLP projectors, and plasmas. There's a choice of Dolby Digital or DTS sound, both which present a wide and detailed surround experience. 
    The special edition elements are standard fare. They do enhance the experience for fans of the film. Emphasis is strong on make-up and production design elements, perhaps an indicator of what the mindset was for this feature. In addition to a "spotlight on Location" featurette, there are deleted scenes, a few minutes of Carrey out-takes, and other snippets of Grinch arcania. 




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