Tag: movies & tv

The fabulous colors of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas!’

December 18th, 2009 | 3 Comments

grinch who stole christmas

No question about it, no matter how many times I see it, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” makes my brain malfunction every time.

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is 26 minutes of pure retina-wrenching, adrenaline-pumping color combinations. Sure, the tale is rich with imagery of seasick crocodiles and three-decker sauerkraut and toadstool sandwiches with arsenic sauce. And the story’s heartwarming conclusion is a classic.

What really interests me, however, is the kaleidoscope of colors happening in practically every scene. The film’s approach to color alone is enough to make any misanthrope believe in the good of humankind!

Is there anything like the town of Who-ville, seen from the slopes of Mount Crumpit? Can sense be made of how the magenta-washed houses of the Whos take on a purple tincture in the dim shadows of night? Can words adequately describe how the Grinch, in his limegreen glory, casts a bilious aura upon everything that surrounds him?

Last time I viewed the movie, 25 scenes caught my eye. Next year, another set of totally different scenes may interest me. Every time I watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” the movie rings true and anew.

One scene in particular that stands out in my mind is when the Grinch realizes the true meaning of Christmas — that this horribly overcommercialized holiday is about more than gifts after all. (That’s because it’s about color combinations! Green and red! Silver and gold!)

Just two minutes before the close of the film, we witness the Grinch careening down Mount Crumpit, with Max in tow, with the glowing morning sun of Christmas day intensifying in the sky. Here, yellow, purple and brown come together in an dizzying onrush. The irony: The Grinch’s Christmas transformation is portrayed in completely un-Christmaslike, complementary colors!

In appreciation of director Chuck Jones and his genius staff of animators and colorists, I’d like to share with you a few of my favorite scenes, and their color combinations’ hex values:

how the grinch stole christmas
The Grinch and Max begin their descent down Mount Crumpit.

how the grinch stole christmas
As their descent continues, a rocky background alternates with blue trees, producing a visual rhythm.

how the grinch stole christmas
The Whos’ fantastic élan for interior decor exemplified.

how the grinch stole christmas
Who-ville on Christmas morning, seen from Mt. Crumpit.

how the grinch stole christmas
The Whos join into a circle on Christmas morning.

how the grinch stole christmas
Bells ring in the center of Who-ville.

how the grinch stole christmas
What’s going on with that crazy lapel — whatever it is?

On that note, I wish you a fabulous holiday. See you in the next decade!

Rock it fine in ’09

January 2nd, 2009 | No Comments

The holidays have come and gone, and I look forward to getting back into the groove in ’09. Hanging out and celebrating and all that has been fun, but now it is time to get back to business, as if there were no time to waste!

Amid the holiday downtime, I did find time to watch several episodes of the classic anime series Space Battleship Yamato (aka Starblazers). The first series was produced in 1974, and it offers hours of stellar outerspace illustrations and—my favorite part—mindblowing color combinations. I have found so much inspiration in this series. It is so completely outdated and anachronistic by contemporary standards, but I still find it amazing. And the background music for the first series is ineffably strange and beautiful.

The holidays also have allowed time to peruse a couple of books via Interlibrary Loan. One of them is Verner Panton: The Collected Works. Among the many things I admire about Panton, here are two:

1. Panton was trained as an architect, and he saw himself as a designer and architect. But I find this fascinating: According to the book’s introductory essay, “He regretted having brought so few buildings to completion and never having gained a real foothold in the profession he had trained for. To be sure, he made a number of starts. Panton occupied himself again and again with ideas for construction projects, he participated again and again in large architectural and urban development competitions, with considerable expenditure of time and energy—but he did not succeed even once.”

2. Panton is quoted as declaring “Color is more important than form.” While I truly love line, I find a transformative power—almost a chemical reaction—in combinations of color. I’d have to agree.

In closing, while I have written this before, I really do want to post to my blog with more frequency. Yet, I do find it difficult to find the time and energy. I don’t know why this is. Perhaps I should retroactively make “blogging more” my New Year’s resolution? If so, I guess I’m on my way to keeping it. Anyway, I welcome your ideas for blog posts.