‘The Grinch’ Blu-ray Review: All the Whos Down in Whoville Are in for a Treat

     March 17, 2019

the-grinch-bluray-reviewIn The Grinch, Illumination Entertainment adapted the classic tale of Dr. Seuss‘ “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, a holiday classic that has been delighting fans and families for more than 50 years. That’s a tall order considering that the 1966 animated short has been played over and over again every holiday season and that the live-action version starring Jim Carrey delighted (and terrified) audiences nearly 20 years ago. But The Grinch is best brought to life in the pages of Seuss’ books and in an animated style that sticks close to the source material. I’m happy to say that The Grinch delivers a colorful, fun-filled holiday adventure that honors the source material and adds a little more heart to the title character along the way. And now you can bring it home on Blu-ray!

If you want a full review of the feature itself, you can read our own Matt Goldberg‘s take here, but if you want a sunnier opinion, be sure to see where I thought the new version ranked among Seussian Grinches. You might be surprised to find out just how many adaptations of the grouchy character there have been over the years!

Otherwise, here’s a detailed look at the many and varied special features:

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Image via Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment

BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAY, BLU-RAY AND DVD:

Who’s Who in Who-ville (interactive map)

  • There are so many interesting characters that call Who-ville home that it’s hard to keep track of them all. This “Who’s Who” pop-up book uses animation to create a virtual storybook that takes us from Who-ville to Mt. Crumpit.
  • Get to know The Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who, Max & Fred, the Head Whos of Who-ville, and Cindy-Lou’s Crew through character profiles, animation tests and animatics, and a photo gallery for each character or group. (Normally the galleries on these features are fine, but this one gives viewers a chance to look at the crazy detail in select scenes.)
  • The cast and crew take time to walk viewers through each and every one of these mini-featurettes, giving audiences all the information they can handle.
  • If you wanted to know more about Bricklebaum, the Happiest Who Alive, then this is the place for you!
  • The kids in Cindy-Lou’s crew are super cute, so hopefully Illumination Entertainment does more with their characters in the future. The same goes for Fred & Max.

“You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” Lyric Video 

  • Tyler, The Creator puts a modern spin on the Seussian Christmas classic.

MINI-MOVIES ON 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAY, BLU-RAY, DVD & DIGITAL:

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Image via Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment

Yellow Is the New Black 

  • Before they all make their big escape from prison in Despicable Me 3, a couple of lucky Minions get a taste of freedom as they break free with the help of one of their fellow human inmates.

Dog Days of Winter 

  • Max braves the harsh winter weather and an uncooperative Who to bring a sick Grinch his favorite hot tea.
  • This cute little short also shows where Max gets all of his coffee and spends a fair amount of time in one of Whoville’s local coffee shops. (Max is the best.)

Santa’s Little Helpers 

  • Fan favorites – the Minions – are back for another adventure! Having been accidently dropped off at the North Pole, our Minion pals make the most of the situation by trying to become elves.
  • The Minions drive the head elf a bit nuts, but Santa saves the day at the sh

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD, 3D BLU-RAY, BLU-RAY, DVD & DIGITAL:

The Making of the Mini-Movies 

  • Mini in size but not in heart, these short films are fan favorites. From the Grinch and Max to the Minions – you’ll explore the themes of each of the mini-movies through the eyes of the filmmakers who made them.
  • The cast and crew get to celebrate their short films in turn. Like Fabien Polack and Sergei Kouchnerov’s 2018 short Yellow Is the New Black, co-directors Bruno Chauffard and Derek Drymon’s Santa’s Little Helpers, and Habib Louati and Thierry Noblet’s Dog Days of Winter.
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Image via Illumination Entertainment

From Green to Screen (~6 minutes)

  • It takes a lot to bring grumpy green to your home screen. This inside look at the making of Illumination’s Seuss’s The Grinch features interviews and behind-the-scenes moments with the cast, filmmakers and artists whose hearts have all grown three sizes bringing this classic tale to life.
  • Chris Meledandri, directors Yarrow Cheney and Scott Mosier, art director Colin Stimpson, and set designer Ludovic Ramiére talk about adapting Seuss’ art style and familiar, iconic characters and settings for the big-screen. They’re joined by cast members Rashida Jones and Benedict Cumberbatch to talk about the Grinch’s backstory and emotional story.
  • Meledandri and editor Chris Cartagena talk about finding the right voice for the Grinch in Cumberbatch, who also comments on finding the Grinch’s voice for himself.

Illuminating The Grinch (~5 minutes)

  • Using filmmaker and cast interviews, concept art and progression reels, we take a behind-the-scenes look at how the characters evolved from initial sketches to fully realized characters.
  • Meledandri, Cheney, computer graphics supervisors Laurent De La Chapelle and Fabien Polack, character effects artist Richard Adenot, animation directors Pierre Leduc and Christophe Delisle, layout cinematography supervisor Guy-Laurent Homsy discuss how the animation team went about bringing The Grinch and the Whos to life.
  • The creative team goes into great detail about the challenges in animating the Grinch’s fur, expression, and costumes throughout the movie.
  • Lots of stages of animation are shown throughout the featurette, from layout, to animatics, to rough animation, to effects work and lighting, all the way to the finished product.
  • They also spend some time talking about the new introduction, Fred the rotund reindeer. Fred’s creation from scratch acts as a sort of primer for the full story of how The Grinch was created, but that’s a tale for another featurette.
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Image via Illumination, Universal Pictures

My Earliest Grinch Memories (~3 minutes)

  • The cast and filmmakers of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch reveal their earliest memories of the grumpy green character and the enduring appeal of this Christmas curmudgeon’s journey to redemption.

Grinchy Gadgets (~3 minutes)

  • From his body-size blow dryer to his moving mechanical chair, from his catapult to his dog drone-rig and more… you’ll get to explore the wondrous world of Grinch’s
  • I loved the gadgets used throughout the film, not just for their design and their creativity but for how they’re used in action on the screen. Happy to see a featurette on these, though I wish they would have gone into a bit more detail.

“I Am The Grinch” Lyric Video 

  • A stylized look at Tyler, The Creator’s original song created just for the film.
  • Sing along with the new take on a classic song!

Songs From His Little Heart (~3 minutes)

  • Take a deep dive into the toe tapping beats of Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch. From score to specialty songs, you’ll hear from the film’s A-list musicians on what it took to create the music behind the movie.
  • Go behind the scenes with Danny Elfman and the crew as they talk about the decision to make music a big part of the movie and having to come up with the score that represented The Grinch’s emotional range.
  • The music not only had to convey emotion and comedy, it had to channel the fanciful nature of Seuss’ stories.
  • Elfman talks about meeting with Theodore Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) and thinking he’d be pleased if he could hear the score of this movie. He also talks about the excitement and the anxiety of crafting the music for such an iconic property.
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Image via Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment

X-mas Around the World (~2 minutes)

  • Every culture practices Christmas in a slightly different way. We’ll highlight some of the more fun permutations of the holiday around the globe.
  • In Norway, the home to the largest herd of reindeer, it’s common to hide brooms. In Sweden, a 42-foot-tall Yule goat is constructed. Germany hides a pickle on their Christmas trees and in Venezuela, church-goers travel to mass on roller-skates. In Austria, Krampus punishes the wicked kids at Christmas.
  • When it comes to feasting, Australia enjoys Christmas on the beach with some shrimp barbecue. Japanese celebrations opt for some fried chicken.

Cindy-Lou’s Yule Log 

  • Nothing says the holidays quite like an animated fireplace blasting fake heat from your living room television. Just in time for winter, we’ll recreate Cindy-Lou’s living room on Christmas Eve for all to enjoy.
  • This is a cute recreation, but it’s “ruined” by the Grinch’s machinations, in keeping with the spirit of things. You’ll have to watch the whole ~7 minute playthrough to see how it all ends up!

Production Babies 

  • A celebration of the babies born to the filmmakers during the production of Illumination’s Seuss’s The Grinch.
  • Head of story, Mark O’Hare, draws a young Grinch as all the names of the production babies are listed.

Any Who Can Draw (~7 minutes)

  • Hosted by an Illumination artist and head of story Mark O’Hare, you’ll see step-by-step how to draw some of your favorite characters from this beloved holiday classic; Grinch, Max and Fred!

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