The Grinch: Collector's Edition (2000)

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Released 20-Nov-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
dts Trailer-Piano
Featurette-Spotlight On Location
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Featurette-Who School
Featurette-Makeup Application and Design
Featurette-Seussian Set Decoration
Featurette-Visual Effects
Theatrical Trailer
Notes-Wholiday Recipes; By The Numbers
Production Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
DVD-ROM Extras-Games, Screensavers, Wallpapers, Web Links
Trailer-Grinch Game
Music Video-Where Are You Christmas-Faith Hill
Game-Rhyme Time; Dress The Grinch
Read Along-The Care And Feeding Of A Grinch
Karaoke-2
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 100:38 (Case: 105)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:50) Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ron Howard
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Jim Carrey
Christine Baranski
Anthony Hopkins
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $36.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Dutch
Czech
Bulgarian
Hungarian
Polish
Icelandic
Arabic
Hindi
Hebrew
Turkish
Danish
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Greek
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    I'll admit to having had my doubts when I sat down to watch this film. Could they possibly have brought the world of the Grinch to life? Well they have, and they did a very good job, too.

    The Grinch That Stole Christmas is of course from the world of Dr Seuss. I remember growing up listening to and then reading these stories and I now read them to my own children. Everybody knows the story, everyone loves the characters. To be given the task of bringing this to life on-screen is a great responsibility. From the care that was taken with the film and the obvious awareness of this pressure that comes across in the interviews, it is obvious that everyone involved in the film knew they had to get it right.

    I have only one small complaint. They have obviously had to expand the story and have kept faith through the greater part of the film. There are a couple of instances where they have added some adult humour, I suppose in an attempt to widen the appeal of the film. I am not entirely sure that couple of the scenes are really appropriate. It will go over the heads of most children so it is only a minor complaint.

    The world of the Who has been brought to life in incredible detail. All the zany buildings that are portrayed in the books have been built, the objects that make up the environment have been created and the Who themselves have been brought to life. A combination of incredible make-up and of course digital effects have combined to project the two dimensional world of the books into a complete three dimensional world.

    Of course, there was only one actor in the world who could possible play the part of the Grinch and that was Jim Carrey. Put him in a green hairy suit and put a half inch of latex on his face and the incredible personality of Jim Carrey still comes through. Admittedly, a lot of his physical comedy films do have a very similar feel to them, but his persona works perfectly in this role.

    For those that have only recently arrived from the planet Zarquon and are not familiar with the story, here is a synopsis of the story as it is told in the film. The world of the Who is a very simple and in many ways shallow one. Christmas for them is a very happy time that in the main revolves around giving and receiving presents. A little girl, Cindy, has come to doubt Christmas and is looking for a deeper meaning beyond the commercial aspect that she sees around her.

    Babies arrive in the world of the Who flying under little umbrellas. The baby Grinch arrives in Whosville by mistake and is adopted by two kind old spinsters. It is soon apparent that the Grinch is not like other children and the alienation that he feels soon drives him out of the town to become a recluse living in the mountain that overlooks the town of Whosville.

    Cindy feels sorry for the Grinch after a chance meeting and convinces both the Grinch and the townspeople to give each other another chance. This of course leads to disaster, and humiliated again, the Grinch decides to take his revenge and to steal Christmas. To get from here to the ending we all know is coming...you will have to watch the film.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    There are really no problems at all with this transfer, with every aspect scoring pretty much full marks.

    We are presented with a 1.78:1 transfer that is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is pin-sharp throughout, both in the foreground and background. The shadow detail is good, with an excellent level of detail visible. A minor point - in a couple of the scenes, the black is not entirely black but a very dark grey. There is no low level noise.

    The colours are very bright and fully saturated. The world that they have created is by its nature very colourful and this has been captured in this transfer. At times there is a riot of colour on the screen with large areas of bright colours. There are no problems with noise or bleeding.

    There are no MPEG artefacts visible at all. There is a tiny amount of edge enhancement present that is visible if you are looking, such as at 33:15, but it is not noticeable unless you are looking for it. The transfer is free of aliasing and the film master used is near-perfect. There are a few specks visible but again not noticeable unless you are looking for them.

    There are a very large number of subtitles available. I watched the English ones for a while and found them both accurate and easy to read.

This is an RSDL disc with the layer change at 69:50. Considering the pace of this film, the layer change has been positioned very well.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

   While this is not a spectacular soundtrack, it is a very good one.

    There are three audio tracks; an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track, an English DTS 5.1 track and a Dolby Digital 2.0 surround track in Hungarian.

    I listened to both the Dolby Digital and the DTS tracks through. I could not really pick a difference between them other than the volume level. There is nothing in this soundtrack that would really stress a codec and show a difference.

   Dialogue quality is good but not perfect. I could not pinpoint whether it was the accent, or the speed of delivery, or something else, but I found a few phrases through the film to be hard to understand.

    There were no problems with the audio sync.

    James Horner has done a great job on the music for this film. The music not only supports the story but has a feel all its own that is a perfect match for the world of Dr Seuss. He has managed to take the spirit of the books and the visuals and create a soundtrack that has a similar feel.

    The surrounds are used to good effect throughout the film. The soundtrack is expanded to surround you as well as featuring a good selection of effects, both ambient and directional. I must admit I expected something a little more zany, like maybe the Grinch acoustically flying around the room, but still it is a very good effort.

   The subwoofer was active supporting the soundtrack. It did not really stand out at any time but added weight to the appropriate moments.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    We have a good selection of extras on this disc. It is interesting to note that in each feature that covers the various aspects of the film production, everybody notes that they felt the pressure and the responsibility of bringing such a well-loved story to the screen.

Menu

    This disc goes straight into the film, which means you have to go back to the main menu to change the default Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack to the DTS soundtrack as you cannot switch soundtracks on the fly. The first time you go to the main menu, a video clip runs before you get to the menus. Subsequent returns to the main menu are quicker. While this is a cute feature the first time, it does pale a little on subsequent viewings, although this may have been because I ended up inserting and removing the disc several times in a short time period.

    Once we get to the menus, they are presented as a static image at 1.78:1 with 16x9 enhancement underscored by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack that has the surround bit set. Entries to submenus also have a video clip, but these are much shorter than the first one.

    The video quality of the extras is not that great, but this is pretty standard these days as the material is often captured with small digital video cameras and they also very correctly save the majority of the space on the disc for the main feature.

Featurette: Spotlight on Location

    This is presented in 1.33:1 and is not 16x9 enhanced. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This is a good start to the special features and is the standard short 'making-of'. This runs for 7:17.

Deleted Scenes

    There are 7 deleted scenes presented at 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. They are not listed separately but all run one after the other. There is a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. While I can guess at why the scenes were deleted, a director's commentary would have saved me from having to wonder. A total running time of 9:27.

Outtakes

    Presented at 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced with a running time of 3:17. Any outtakes with Jim Carrey in them are going to be funny - these are no exception, and still with a family rating. A Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack accompanies.

Featurette: The Who School

    This is presented in 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This is a quick, 5:44 look at the actors and extras developing and then practising the physical aspects of the land of the Who. An interesting revelation is that many of the extras are from the Cirque de Soleil, and were chosen for their acrobatic and stage ability.

Featurette: Make-Up Application and Design

    Running for 6:57 and presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This is a look at the master make-up artist that developed the make-up for the film. Of particular interest is the evolution of the early concepts through to the final product.

Featurette: Seussian Set Decoration

    This featurette runs for 5:16 and is presented at 1.33:1. We see some of the in-depth research that went into understanding the world of the Grinch and other Suess titles and how this was translated into three dimensions for the film. It is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.

Featurette: Visual Effects

    This featurette was a real revelation. We all know that they use digital effects in movies, but I was surprised at just how far they have gone in integrating them into films - I suppose I had become used to them. We are talked through some of the scenes in the film. They then show you which part is real and which part is computer-generated. They do this for several scenes including one with a large number of people, highlighting those people that are not real. Be prepared to be surprised and entertained - I found it fascinating. This is presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with a running time of 10:51.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented at 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced, it is accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. It runs for 1:10.

Wholiday Recipes

    Some static pages with background images from the film. Overlaid is some text describing how to make three Grinch-type snacks. They include such delicacies as Onion Wreaths and Hershey Peanut Blossoms.

By The Numbers

    A static text page with interesting stats from the film. Did you know that they built over three hundred props during the filming of this movie?

Production Notes

    Text with background pictures. I find this feature fairly dry on most discs but this one was quite interesting.

Cast & Filmmakers Biographies

    The usual text-based information presented on some quite good backgrounds using scenes from the film.

Trailer : The Grinch Game

    A 1:19 trailer advertising the computer game. There is also a demo version of the game in the DVD-ROM contents.

Music Video: Faith Hill "Where Are You Christmas"

    Presented in 1.85:1 and not 16x9 enhanced and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. This runs for 4:14

Kids Press Here Section

    This is the fun and games section for the kiddies.

Game: Rhyme Time

    A four line poem appears with the last word missing from two of the lines. There are a number of words to chose from to fill in the blanks. Chose the right word and you are rewarded with a happy clip from the film. Get it wrong and you receive one that isn't so happy. Compete the poem and it is read out for you by a character from the film.

Featurette: How Do I Find This

    A short video clip with a voiceover that attempts to teach the little ones how to use your remote. It is intended to show them how to use the games, but just the thought of letting junior loose with the remote.....

    It finishes with a practice game for them to try out their new-found skills.

Game: Dress The Grinch

    Really only eight menu selections that show the Grinch dressed up in different costumes ranging from a fireman to a tourist.

The Care And Feeding of the Grinch

    A storybook consisting of text and pictures. There are two options; one is to read it yourself, turning the pages with the remote. The other is to have the story read for you.

Sing Along

    Where Are You Christmas and You're A Mean One Mr Grinch presented as sing-alongs. The scene from the movie that contains the song is shown with subtitles turned on. The words in the subtitles turn green in time with the music. My only complaint is that the subtitles flashed each time a word turned green, but I doubt the kiddies will notice.

DVD ROM Extras

    When I first inserted this disc, it brought up an install screen for a DVD player from Interactive. I am not sure if this occurred because it could not locate my existing player or if it will happen every time. During the install, this program asked for some information, such as age and postcode and then informed me that it was going to transmit this information to the manufacturer the next time I connected to the Internet. Personally I did not like this one little bit! To collect information from someone's computer and then transmit it to a second party is not good behaviour for a program. The checkboxes that supposedly turned off this feature were not easy to find, and I would not have trusted them anyway.

    Once up and running, you are presented with a picture of Who town with a magnifying glass that you drag around. There are four sections that you can then highlight and enter. Mt Crumpit, The Post Office, Cindy Lou's Home and The Theatre. As you enter each section, you have to move the mouse around until a text description of the feature appears, which makes it a little difficult to use.

Mt Crumpit

    This section contains a repeat of the Cast and Crew Biographies and the production notes as well as 12 pictures that could be viewed and at the press of a button become wallpaper for your computer.

The Theater

    This gave access to the same featurettes as outlined above.

The Post Office

    By trolling around with your mouse you can find three areas to click on.

  1. The Grinch Screen Mate. This opened a second window that invited you to 'click to download'.
  2. The install for the Grinch game demo.
  3. Access to seven sound snippets. You place the mouse over the heading to play the sound clip.

Cindy Lou's House

  1. An install option for a Grinch screensaver.
  2. A repeat of the recipes with one extra.
  3. An invitation to download a special Grinch browser advertised to contain a browser, channels, email a download manager and other features. As it said the download was less than 4.5Mb, I declined the honour. With features like this I certainly would not let my children loose on this disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The reviews of the audio and video seem very similar between the regions, though they don't mention the slight problem with the blacks. The Descriptive Video service apparently covers the menus, the special features and the movie and would have been a nice inclusion for the visually impaired. The pop-up playset would appear to be a special version that includes a pop-up book for the kids.

    I personally don't see anything that would really warrant the extra cost of importing this disc.

Summary

    Everyone involved with this film has managed to bring to life one of the classic stories of Christmas. I believe that they have managed to stay true to the spirit of the story and produce a very entertaining family film, though it is rated PG.

    The video is good.

    The audio is very good

    The extras will keep you entertained for quite a while.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 27, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

Other Reviews
DVD Net - Amy F
Jeff K's Australian DVD Info Site - Kevin S
Dark Horizons - Garth F
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))

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