Director Ron Howard is quite the puzzling man. He surely knows how to direct a fine film like A Beautiful Mind or even The Da Vinci Code, but still knows how to give us that random piece of crap. When word came that Howard was going to adapt Dr. Seussï¿½ timeless classic How The Grinch Stole Christmas, I immediately questioned why? After all wasnï¿½t the TNT special that airs oh 40-50 times a year good enough? I guess not for Hollywood as the 2000 remake made some serious bank with Jim Carrey portraying the lead character. The only unfortunate part here is that the film is absolutely horrendous.
Obviously being billed as a kidï¿½s movie, this 2000 remake attempts (key word attempts) to reach the level that the TNT classic has by telling us the basic story. The first major problem is that the original 26-minute version that honestly everyone has probably seen is stretched out over the course of some 90 minutes. You must be asking yourself how did Howard and company manage to do this? Well first they decided to cast normal great actor Jim Carrey in the leading role. The Grinch is a boring, old, foogie who hates Christmas. We never learn why he hates Christmas (even though in the cartoon version we can assume it may be because of the togetherness of the season). In this version, Howard decided to just assume we could figure this one out. Even though the Grinch does hate Christmas, I must admit that Carrey does what he can with the material at hand. Heï¿½s able to make the film slightly (SLIGHTLY!) entertaining with his interesting humor and quirky smiles.
Also with the huge budget this film had you would think that the film would at least LOOK reasonable. Such isnï¿½t the case here as everything from Carrey as the Grinch to the town of Wooville all looked way overdone never accomplishing the subtle charming qualities of the cartoon. I had hoped the dog Max, one of the best parts of the cartoon, would be faithfully created. Nope, Howard and company decided to have The Mayor kiss Maxï¿½s butt. Was this part in the newer version of the cartoon?
I canï¿½t even believe that this film would be even remotely appealing to any parent or child. Personally if my parent bought this film and showed it to me, I would instantly develop a lack of respect for them. If youï¿½re a fan of Carrey, donï¿½t watch The Grinch unless you want an example of his worst film to date (solely due to the surroundings, not the acting). Everyone should just avoid this one.
Presented in a 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, The Grinch looked good enough throughout.
The strongest point of this transfer is the sheer amount of detail. Even though I mentioned above that the sets looked horrendous, I will admit that the detail used was great. We get numerous sequences of excellent detail, especially the snow covered mountains, which looked almost perfect. Color usage was a mixed bag with reds looking bright and colorful, but the amount of green on The Grinch looking mushy. And this was a big surprise as makeup guru Rick Baker (who has own numerous Academy Awards for his brilliant work) made The Grinch look too fake and almost too dark.
The only real negative here is that some of the sequences inside of The Grinchï¿½s lair looked way too dark giving the transfer a very fuzzy look. This resulted in these sequences lacking the sharp detail some of the earlier exterior sequences had. Video noise is kept minimum. This was a big detail as video noise was a huge problem with the 2001 SD-DVD release. Even though I didnï¿½t really care for the film, I will say that Universal continues to win me over week after week.
This disc arrives with the standard Universal Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio track available in either English or French. While The Grinch isnï¿½t the first disc to grab for a demo, the provided audio tracks were just fine.
Dialogue was clean and clear throughout really giving us a sense of what a possible Whoville might be like around the holidays. Surround usage is decent with a few notices of liveliness (particularly the closing sequence with The Grinch delivering the presents to the town). Bass response was good enough with a sequence here and there (some of the banging and clanging of the various instruments) hitting the sub. One complaint I had was that there is so much literally going on during the film (in reference to all the different sounds) that I found myself actually having a headache at the end. Now that may be because the film was so horrible.
Oddly enough here, Universal has decided to not port over the mass amount of extras found on the recently released DVD; none of the deleted scenes, featurettes, or other kidï¿½s games.
- Enhanced Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard: Iï¿½ve heard various Howard commentaries before and I will say that the man has a nice tone to his voice that tends to usually keep the viewer interested in what heï¿½s saying. Even though he gives the typical praise to his work and cast almost comparing it to the second coming, I found it odd how this Enhanced Commentary was on the SD-DVD side of the combo disc, NOT on the HD DVD side. This was an odd move by Universal, which is a company that tends to push the boundaries with their discs.
- Whobilation 1000 Games: Give me a damn break here. No kid, no matter how dumb they are will enjoy this.
- Wholiday Recipes: Various recipes that Iï¿½m sure are super healthy for your kids.
- Special Announcement: A standard announcement fare from cute little Wendy.
Call me whatever you deem correct, but I just couldnï¿½t warm to Howardï¿½s The Grinch. He has taken away anything remotely charming about the TNT classic and has, instead, delivered the perfect sleeping antidote. Even though the picture is fine, the audio good, and the features decent, I canï¿½t really imagine any self-respecting parent wanting to buy this for their child. Instead of this affair, give The Christmas Story a spin instead.
Special Features List
- Enhanced Feature Commentary with Director Ron Howard
- Whobilation 1000 Games
- Wholiday Recipes
- Special Announcement