The Grinch 4K Blu-ray Review

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No wonder the Grinch wanted to steal Christmas, he's nowhere near as good without it.

by Casimir Harlow Mar 14, 2019 at 10:48 AM

  • SRP: £20.00

    The Grinch Film Review

    Following The Lorax, Illumination Studios return to Dr. Seuss to remake The Grinch in the mould of their Despicable Me series.

    Illumination previously took a shot at Dr. Seuss with The Lorax, giving The Grinch its third go-around after the 60s Christmas special animation and Carrey's big screen live action outing, and playing it distinctly safe, reimagining the Scrooge-like tale as a very green Christmas-themed variant on their Despicable Me prototype.

    Playing with exactly the same not-quite-bad guy on a long, slow path of redemption by way of grand plan of ultimate villainy scuppered by the interference of sweet young children, it's pure Despicable Me, trading in the same beats right down to the very beat of the introduction of the titular character by way of a stomping hip hop remix of the classic You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch. A short series of grumpy skits about grumpy clothes and a frustrating alarm clock, as well as a sequence of him wandering the town spoiling everybody's fun (think: Gru popping the kid's balloon) hammers the point home about just what a perpetually foul mood he's in, with his bitterness spilling into a spiteful scheme to rob the entire town of Christmas cheer. It's all a grand master plan of 'evil' carried out with the use of cool tech and gadgets as well as a few cute and loyal minions. Now where have we heard that before?

    The Grinch doesn't take enough risks

    Ultimately, despite some colourful visual panache and a few fun physical comedy moments - which were better envisaged by Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner and almost all spoiled by the trailer - The Grinch doesn't take enough risks, even reining in Cumberbatch, and taking its sweet merry time building to the grand heist that was originally in the very title of the book (so there's little point having this much build-up), before flipping the emotional tables in a heartbeat.

    There's plenty of Christmas spirit here (although its not as effective at Easter, even further hampering rewatch value) and maybe even a hint of Pixar-esque emotional magic towards the very end, leaving a 90 minute animation which is likely to bedazzle kids (those who don't mind grumpy protagonists) and entertain for that short duration, but also remain instantly forgettable immediately afterwards.

    The Grinch 4K Picture

    The Grinch The Grinch 4K Picture
    The Grinch comes to UK Ultra HD Blu-ray courtesy of Universal, who offer up likely the exact same excellent package that their US release was afforded; even the 2K Digital Intermediate is unable to hold this back from being an impressive presentation.

    The disc presents a native 3840 x 2160p resolution image utilising the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.40:1. It uses 10-bit video depth, a Wide Colour Gamut (WCG) and High Dynamic Range (HDR), as well as Dolby Vision, and is encoded using the HEVC (H.265) codec.

    We reviewed the UK Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Grinch on an LG 55B7 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD OLED TV with an LG UP970 Dolby Vision 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

    even the 2K Digital Intermediate is unable to hold back an impressive presentation

    The image enjoys a modest uptick in detail, most notably thanks to a combination of effects from the added enhancements of WCG, HDR and Dolby Vision, lending added nuance to the more textured objects on offer thanks to that added gradation in colour, arguably evident most obviously on Grinch himself, with his fur coming alive even more so than before. Beyond this, it's these very same elements which work together to bring quite the eye-popping affair, giving almost an added dimension of depth to the colourful proceedings, which are rendered with dazzling vibrancy and superior pop. There's some striking contrast on offer here, with the prevalent primary tones splashed colourfully against the brilliant white snowy backdrop, and deep black tones for the night sequences, having a similar effect upon the Christmas light-strewn landscapes. As you'd only expect, the 4K rendition of the animation comes devoid of any signs of digital issues; it's an excellent presentation.

    The Grinch 4K Sound

    The Grinch The Grinch 4K Sound
    The accompanying Dolby Atmos track is also unsurprisingly excellent, with Elfman providing a suitable Despicable score replete with punchy song tracks that ruffle the features with some LFE input. Dialogue remains well-prioritised, lending distinction to Cumberbatch's distinctive vocals, although it's the score and effects that better define the feature, and the audio presentation.

    the Atmos track is also unsurprisingly excellent

    Effects in particular impress, allowing grander and more elaborate action pieces to light up the soundstage, breaking out the big guns to fully utilise the 3D object-based audio, sending characters - and objects - careening across the screen, but still affording nuance to the less bombastic elements which get picked up and disseminated with similarly discrete distinction. The bustle of the happy town provides a welcome background din to keep the atmospherics engaged, and the score also has plenty of material to play with, rounding out an excellent track.

    The Grinch 4K Extras

    The Grinch The Grinch 4K Extras
    The Grinch enjoys a slew of extra features

    The Grinch enjoys a slew of extra features, predominately Featurette-based, but also with a slightly more interactive feature that lets you look into the characters. We look at adapting the Dr. Seuss material, maintaining the style, animating it, as well as Cast and Crew reflections on the story, a look behind the music, and some lyrics for a couple of songs. The mini-movies will be a highlight (mostly Minion-based), and there's even a Making-of for those.

    The Grinch 4K Verdict

    The Grinch The Grinch 4K Verdict
    The studio play it safe, reimagining the Scrooge-like tale as a very green, Christmas-themed variant of their Despicable Me prototype

    Universal's 4K release of The Grinch boasts excellent video and audio, and a slew of extra features, remaining a strong package for fans of the feature to pick up.

    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £20.00

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