‘Hats Off to Dr. Seuss
The newly compiled “Hats Off to Dr. Seuss Collector's Edition” proves once and for all that Theodor Geisel's adventurous stories, fantastical rhymes and otherworldly drawings haven't lost any of their potency more than two decades after his death.
On March 2, the world celebrated the author/artist's 109th birthday, and the new Blu-ray collection strikingly illustrates the good doctor's knack not only for telling fun stories but also for addressing persistent social issues like prejudice, environmental responsibility and even arms races.
Over the past few years, Warner Bros., emboldened by the boffo box office for new computer-animated big-screen versions of “The Lorax” and “Horton Hears a Who,” has been debuting high-definition transfers of the 1960s and '70s animated TV adaptations of Seuss' beloved children's books
“Hats Off to Dr. Seuss” collects five of these recently released Blu-rays — 1972's “The Lorax,” 1970's “Horton Hears a Who,” “1971's “The Cat in the Hat,” 1973's “Green Eggs and Ham & Other Stories” (originally titled “Dr. Seuss on the Loose,” it also includes “The Sneetches” and “The Zax”) and the best and most iconic of them all, 1966's “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — into one slim volume.
To bring his stories to television back in the day, Geisel collaborated with veteran Looney Tunes animators Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng, and the high-definition treatment gives their work extra pizazz. From the pink beaches where my personal favorite, “The Sneetches,” squabble to the magenta skies over the Grinch's Mount Crumpit home, Dr. Seuss' candy-colored illustrations have even more eye-popping razzle-dazzle on Blu-ray.
While they remain more faithful to the slender books than the heavily padded movie versions, the TV adaptations unfortunately haven't been given the bonus materials they deserve. Except for the separate DVD copies, the compilation includes all the extras from the previous Blu-ray releases, including interactive puzzles, making-of featurettes, singalongs and the 1994 biographical TV movie “In Search of Dr. Seuss.”
Not surprisingly, though, the best bonus is more Seussian storytelling. Along with the main titles, the collection includes the additional animated shorts “The Butter Battle Book” (1989), Pontoffel Pock & His Magic Piano” (1980), “The Hoober-Bloob Highway” (1975) and “Daisy-Head Mayzie” (1995).
— Brandy McDonnell