Entertainment » Television

How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - Ultimate Edition

by Michael  Cox
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Nov 8, 2018
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! - Ultimate Edition

What are the origins of a cultural phenomenon, a true classic? As perpetual to holiday lore as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "Dr. Seuss' 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'" is an indictment of Christmas commercialism that's not only one of the holiday's greatest commercial successes it has been used to year after year to sell airtime to advertisers.

Though it has been adapted many times over the years in many different ways, the 1966 television special remains the purest translation of the popular author's classic children's book. From its inception, it became a perennial favorite and a harbinger of the holidays.

The story is simple but crafty: A curmudgeonly hermit, who lives high above a society of happy holiday celebrators, decides to steal all their presents and pleasure one year and is shocked to find that his machinations don't faze the festivities. The true foundations of this month of giving lie in the heart and not under the tree.

Dr. Seuss' wonderful world of end rhymes, nonsense words, and surreal drawings form the foundation of this 40-minute feature, but all of the most endearing aspects of this animated classic come from Bugs Bunny creator Chuck Jones — the way bodies stretch and bounce like they're made of rubber, the sidekick antics of the Grinch's dog Max and the big, expressive eyes and faces on all of the characters.

There's no mistaking the ways the roughly 12 minutes of the story have been expanded by Jones, with marvelous slapstick comedy, visual gags and physical business. The very Grinch himself looks less like Seuss' empathetic antihero and more like one of Jones' "Looney Toons." The real proof of this comes with two additional animated specials included in this Blu-ray collection, "Halloween Is Grinch Night" and "The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat."

Both of these television specials look and feel more like the work of the legendary children's book author, but neither of them has the enduring warmth and classic charm of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

A pack of special features, produced for previous home video releases, have not aged as well as the holiday classic. They go from the corny — "Dr. Seuss and the Grinch — From Whoville to Hollywood," a rap-rhyming chronology of the journey from book to cartoon, featuring Rico Rodriguez of "Modern Family" — to the bizarre and downright creepy —"Dr. Seuss' 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!'" an historic look at the animation produced by TNT and featuring Phil Hartman. Nevertheless, plentiful interviews make these features interesting, including dialogues with Theodor Geisel's (Dr. Seuss') wife, Chuck Jones, the Tony Award-winning composer Albert Hague and Thurl Ravenscroft (the singer of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch," part of the Grammy Award-winning music written for the show.)

"Dr. Seuss' 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas!' — The Ultimate Edition"
Blu-ray Combo Pack $19.99


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