While I understand a lot had to be added in order to turn a children’s picture book into a full-length film, I felt that most of the additions really didn’t work. My biggest problem came with turning the citizens of Whoville into are not only obsessed with Christmas, but they are also rather materialistic. As a viewer, I almost found myself cheering when The Grinch ruined their celebration. Outside of Cindy Lou, who questions Whoville’s celebration of Christmas, I found the other citizens to be unsympathetic characters.
Another element that was added was explaining why The Grinch hates Christmas and lives alone outside of Whoville. Back when he was 8 years old, he had a crush on one of the most popular girls in school. When The Grinch was teased during his class’ Christmas celebration, he declared he hated Christmas and left Whoville. Supposedly, this girl liked The Grinch but never told him, and still carries a thing for him. I ultimately found The Grinch’s love interest to be really shallow, and I never found myself rooting for The Grinch and this character to get together. Not only did I find the love interest character to be annoying, I thought this angle felt rather forced into the story.
Another disappointment I had was with the version of the song “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch.” Jim Carrey just couldn’t do this song justice. Thurl Ravenscroft owns this song, and Carrey’s performance just sounded rather weak in comparison.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas is ultimately a simple story, which was conveyed perfectly in the original animated special. The elements added to this live-action adaptation ultimately hurt the original story instead of enhancing it. This is not a film I’m going to be in any rush to watch again during the holiday season in the future.
When it comes to the actual DVD, there were a number of bonus features included on the disc. “Spotlight on Location” is a seven-minute long documentary about making the film. There’s nine minutes worth of footage in the deleted scenes feature, and I can understand why these scenes were deleted; they didn’t truly add anything to the film, and would have only contributed to dragging out a story that already feels dragged out.
There’s three minutes in the outtakes feature, and it’s billed as a “gag reel.” WhoSchool is a roughly six-minute documentary about the stunts that appear in the film. Makeup Application and Design is a roughly seven-minute documentary about the makeup used for the film. Seussian Set Decoration is a five-minute documentary about the sets. Visual Effects is a roughly 11-minute documentary about the visual effects used in the film.
A music video for Faith Hill’s version of the song “Where Are You Christmas?” is available for viewing in the “Extras” menu. This disc also includes DVS (Descriptive Video Service), which provides narrative description of key visual elements for the blind and visually impaired; a screen explaining this feature is also in this menu. In the menu for the extras, there are also trailers, production notes, and other things to explore.
There’s also a “Max’s Playhouse” section of the disc that’s aimed at kids. Here, kids can play games or sing along with the two songs included in the film. The navigation in this menu was a little frustrating for me as an adult, so I’m not sure how user-friendly it would be for kids.
While I may have been disappointed with the film, I have to give Universal a lot of credit for this DVD release for the effort that was put into the bonus material that was included. If you’re a fan on this film, or are interested in learning more about what goes on behind-the-scenes when films are produced, there are a lot of bonus features included that should be of interest to you.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD release for Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas that my family was given as a Christmas gift several years ago.