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Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Collector's Edition

Hollywood's propensity for recycling, sterilizing, mutilating and castrating classic material has been growing exponentially in recent years, with studios desperate for a box-office response to name-recognition. So they must forgive the critics who, upon hearing the words "Blockbuster," "Jim Carrey," and "Grinch" in the same sentence, recoiled in horror at the impendingly banal desecration of Dr. Seuss' beloved holiday classic. But as it turns out, Ron Howard's blustery film of Seuss' colorful-but-maudlin tale is not half-bad. Carrey, giving his best performance since Dumb and Dumber, plays the Grinch, a green, hairy sourpuss who looks disdainfully down from his mountain lair on the chirpy consumer culture of buoyant Whoville. With Christmas approaching in full-throttle holiday bustle, a wide-eyed Who moppet, Cindy Lou (Taylor Momsen), makes it her philanthropic mission to include the mysterious stick-in-the-mud in the town's Yuletide festivities. Howard's film is a busy one, brimming with all of the requisite bright colors and loud noises, but it is thankfully far from relentless in its bombast, giving Carrey time to create a likable, amusing curmudgeon and Momsen enough quiet space to exercise her charms, which she does without veering dangerously into insipid preciosity. The greatest delight of this live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the production design by Michael Corenblith, which vividly captures Seuss' storybook fantasy. With almost no crude humor, The Grinch is a lively, likable addition to the holiday video collection, sure to delight the kids and even amuse adults who may have been expecting a 105-minute headache. Universal has packed a stockingful of special features onto this Collector's Edition disc, which sports an anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) and both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras include a seven-minute "Spotlight on Location" featurette; a nine-minute reel of deleted scenes; a barely amusing three-minute outtakes reel; short featurettes on the film's rodent-nosed characters, makeup application and design, Seussian set decoration, and visual effects; a music video for Faith Hill's "Where Are You Christmas?"; and a couple of Wholiday Recipes. There's also a section for kids called "Max's Playhouse" that includes interactive music and games. Also features Descriptive Video Service audio narration for the blind. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

(Editor's Note: A full-screen version of The Grinch with the same features is also available separately or as part of a "DVD Interactive Play Set," which includes an elaborate pop-up tableau of scenes from the film.)



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