As I told you (here), the lovely people at Warner Brothers sent us a fabulous package of family-viewing DVDs just before Christmas so we've been busy watching them all. Even if some of them are Christmas-themed, I'll tell you about them because they're timeless classics that you can always buy for next year. Especially as I told you about the first DVD we watched - Happy Feet - here and was surprised to see that there are still people out there who have never seen it !
Well, next up was Dr Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I'm sure you all know the modern Jim Carrey version but this is the original animated version. It's very retro which I think is quite nice for Christmas viewing because it seems traditional and quaint, but I have to admit, the Madhouse mini-testers weren't quite so impressed, because they're more used to high-definition, computer-generated images and special effects.
I've just gone to do a quick bit of research and this is the original 1966 television production by Chuck Jones, featuring the voice of the legendary Boris Karloff, so it is understandable that it looks a bit dated ! It is an absolute classic for generations of American viewers, rather like The Snowman on UK TV, but I'd never seen it on this side of The Pond.
The DVD also features Horton Hears A Who!, again the original animated version, with the same retro feel. Now I knew the stories of The Grinch and Horton but I'd never linked the two together. However, the blurb on the back of the DVD explains : "The Grinch is the crankiest, grumpiest, meanest creature since Mr Scrooge ! He lives in a cave on the side of a mountain, over-looking the town of Who-ville." Who-ville ! Home of the Whos who Horton hears ! I'm starting to sound like Dr Seuss myself now ! It all starts fitting together and making sense - well, as much sense as anything in the wacky world of Dr Seuss anyway !
I don't think the DVD will be your kids' absolutely favourite Christmas viewing but is a lovely slice of nostalgia that the whole family can sit down and watch in the run up to Christmas. Back in the day, it won awards so it's a great way of showing kids what TV used to look like before computers were used. For older kids, it's also really interesting to watch this and compare it with the modern film version, as well as going back to the original Dr Seuss book to see how it all started. Hmm I could probably come up with a really cool lesson plan based around that for Christmas next year - now there's an idea !
star rating : 3/5
RRP : £4.55 on amazon
run time : 50 minutes
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