January 15, 2007 - We've posted a press release for The Complete Seventh Season of "The Golden Girls". The announcement outlines some of the noteworthy guest stars appearing in the Touchstone sitcom's final season and reveals the promising bonus features that will be found on the 3-disc set, coming February 13th. More...
Albert Gutierrez "touches on Touchstone" for our latest DVD review, of the branch's summer sleeper Step Up. In the movie, a tough delinquent teen (Channing Tatum) teams up with a talented ballet student (Jenna Dewan) to collaborate on an art school's important senior dance project. Despite the public's warm reception, the PG-13-rated drama offers little that hasn't already been seen in other teen and/or dance movies. The DVD provides a 4-party audio commentary, 7 short deleted scenes, a featurette, music videos, a brief blooper reel, and a number of features on the movie's MySpace dance contest. Read on...
January 14, 2007 - Our latest full-page DVD review covers That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana. This 3-episode crossover yields interaction between the worlds of Disney Channel's most popular series: "That's So Raven", "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody", and "Hannah Montana". When first aired last summer, the trio became the most-watched episodes in the network's history. On DVD this Tuesday, the "Mixed-Up, Mashed-Up Edition" also delivers a Hannah Montana concert music video, a neat "Raven" trivia game, and a bonus never-before-seen episode of "Suite Life." Check out our full review.
January 13, 2007 - Five new DVD reviews come your way today with the posting of our Winter DVD Roundup. Given capsule critiques in this latest batch are the 4-episode compilations "Power Rangers Mystic Force": Volume 2 - Legendary Catastros and "Power Rangers Mystic Force": Volume 3 - Fire Heart, Miramax's R-rated psychological thriller The Night Listener starring Robin Williams and Toni Collette, the 1977 action/comedy Grand Theft Auto: Tricked Out Edition starring and directed by Ron Howard, and The Cry Baby Killer & The Little Shop of Horrors: Back-to-Back Jack Edition which pairs up two of Jack Nicholson's first film roles in a Roger Corman double feature. Click here to read all the reviews in our latest survey of recent Buena Vista DVD releases.
January 12, 2007 - Upcoming Cover Art has been upated with genuine high-res artwork from a number of 2007 Disney DVD releases: Jump In!: Freestyle Edition, "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Mickey's Great Clubhouse Hunt, "Little Einsteins": The Legend of the Golden Pyramid, and Baby Einstein: My First Signs. Click here to view all of the above and get an overview of the year's currently-scheduled and expected releases.
January 11, 2007 - The recent holidays have given countless Disney fans some time to watch the numerous exciting DVDs released throughout the course of December. Over the past few weeks, many have reported anomalies in the True-Life Adventures sets which made up the first wave of Walt Disney's Legacy Collection. Members of our forum have discovered an excess of blue in Prowlers of the Everglades (Volume 1) and inconsistent aspect ratio treatment of the final reel of Secrets of Life (Volume 4). See the last few pages of our active True-Life Adventures thread for more information. For replacement possibilities, you can contact Disney Videos' customer service (who are now aware of both issues) at 1-800-723-4763.
An e-mail attributed to Walt Disney Treasures host Leonard Maltin posted on the UD Forum by "thatartguy" reveals the breathtakingly disappointing news that the recently-issued Wave 6 represents the end of Disney's annual collector-friendly limited edition line. Like anything in the home video industry, this information would seem subject to change, although Mr. Maltin's message -- culiminating with "That this series exists at all is a minor miracle, and I feel grateful that we had a six-year run with it." -- appears to offer sad but genuine closure to what has long been one of UD readers' most beloved DVD series.
Last week's pair of "Higglytown Heroes" announced a new Friendship Edition of what is considered Disney's 22nd animated classic, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Released in 1977 but chiefly composed of the studio's first three Winnie the Pooh featurettes (that came 3-11 years earlier), Many Adventures was treated in 2002 to a fine 25th Anniversary Edition DVD, which has been out of print since last year. Arriving in June, the "Friendship Edition" is said to include games, a single-along, and an all-new episode of Playhouse Disney's forthcoming computer-animated series "My Friends Tigger & Pooh." We'll have much more on this re-release in the weeks and months ahead.
Meanwhile, Disney has opened up an official website for The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition. The 2-disc set, tenth in the Platinum Collection, will arrive on October 2nd to celebrate the animated film's 40th anniversary.
January 8, 2007 - Continuing to show strong support for Blu-ray Disc, Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment has issued a press release announcing dozens of titles slated for 2007 release in the young high-definition format. Among the Disney-branded titles scheduled to turn up on Blu-ray before year's end are Chicken Little (March 20), Cars (Summer), Remember the Titans (TBA), and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean films (May). For currently-available titles, check out our complete list of Disney Blu-ray Discs.
We've completely updated our Upcoming Disney Movies page to reflect Walt Disney Pictures' 8-film slate for 2007. Underdog, Enchanted, and the newly-subtitled National Treasure: The Book of Secrets have been expanded to full capsules; new previews have been written for The Rock's family comedy The Game Plan, plus Feature Animation's distant The Frog Princess and Joe Jump. New pictures, information, and tie-in merchandise have been incorporated into revised write-ups of Bridge to Terabithia, Meet the Robinsons, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and Pixar's Ratatouille. Finally, there are updates on the productions of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, American Dog, Rapunzel, and Toy Story 3. Click here for our full and now up-to-date "Coming to Theaters" page.
December 29, 2006 - We're back with Aaron Wallace's review of The Fox and the Hound 2. This recently-released midquel moves Disney's twelve-year practice of issuing inferior but diverting sequels to a 25-year-old film that doesn't rank among the studio's most popular. Links to the original don't go much beyond characters and continuity can be questioned, but viewed on its own, it's a pretty cute story and not much more. As expected, the disc's picture and sound are without issue. Its bonus features offer a featurette on the movie's country/Broadway-flavored music, a Goofy short, a demo of Disney DVD Game World, a Mutt Mix Master, and a music video by High School Musical's Lucas Grabeel. Click here for the full review and don't forget to check out Albert Gutierrez's recent interview with director Jim Kammerud.
December 22, 2006 - Today, we've got you covered in two ways on Invincible, Walt Disney Pictures' latest true sports drama. First, we have a movie and DVD review, which looks at the satisfying treatment given to a familiar underdog rising. Here, the story belongs to Vince Papale, who made the unlikely transition from bartender to Philadelphia Eagle in 1976, becoming the oldest rookie in NFL history. Papale's journey is dramatized, with Mark Wahlberg portraying the working-class South Philadelphian, in a manner that's similar to Disney's other recent fact-based athletic dramas. Yet, it bucks tradition enough to succeed as an intimate character drama that is told with appropriate restraint. The DVD offers a fine featurette and two less gripping audio commentaries. Full review...
Then, we're proud to bring you An Interview with Vince Papale, in which the real life inspiration for Invincible talks to UD about his involvement in the making of the movie, collaborating with Mark Wahlberg, the film's period rock soundtrack, the current Eagles squad, and his 30-year connection to Rocky Balboa. We even pitched him a question that no one else has ever dared to, involving one Tony Danza. Don't miss UD's Interview with Vince Papale.
With the posting of our 16th interview, we've set up an Interview Index to help you access UD's past conversations with assorted figures behind the making of Disney movies, television series, and music. Click here for the full list.
December 21, 2006 - Thanks to Albert Gutierrez, The Complete Pluto, Volume Two becomes the second Walt Disney Treasures set to get reviewed. Twenty-three shorts cover the last five years of the expressive but mute ordinary dog's big screen career. The two-disc set also holds all three of the cartoons in Figaro the cat's series. The fine picture and sound reflect apparent restoration work, while a quartet of featurettes deconstruct and comment upon three additional Pluto shorts and extensive galleries round out the disc. Read on...
December 20, 2006 - Wrapping up our coverage of the premiere wave of Walt Disney's Legacy Collection, Aaron Wallace reviews True-Life Adventures, Volume 4 - Nature's Mysteries. This two-disc set houses the TLA feature Secrets of Life as well as "True-Life Fantasy" Perri, adapted from the book by Felix Salten, author of the source texts of Bambi and The Shaggy Dog. It also provides Oscar-winning two-reel short Nature's Half Acre and a pair of complete "Disneyland" anthology episodes. Like the three volumes it arrived alongside, this one boasts phenomenally restored picture and some nifty bonuses. Read the full review.
December 19, 2006 - Our Snowy Screencap Challenge came to a close at midnight. We now can reveal to you the unobscured screencaps and the Disney films from which they originate. Randomly selected from all eligible entries, the winner and his or her prize are announced underneath the screencap reveals. Click here to view.
In UD's latest interview, Aaron Wallace talks to Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the writers of all three movies in Disney's wildly successful Pirates of the Caribbean series. They discuss the influence the ride had on them and the movies, the popularity of the Pirates franchise, the icon that Captain Jack Sparrow has become, and the future of Pirates after At World's End is released next spring. Elliott and Rossio also discuss some of their other noteworthy work, like Disney's animated features Aladdin and Treasure Planet and DreamWorks' CGI blockbuster Shrek. Be sure to check out UD's Interview with Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio.
December 16, 2006 - Albert Gutierrez recently spoke with Jim Kammerud, the director of The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea and 101 Dalmatians II: London's Patch Adventure, whose latest film -- The Fox and the Hound 2 -- was released to DVD this week. Kammerud addresses the decision to revisit the 25-year-old world of Tod and Copper, the absence of supporting characters from the original film, and the cast and crew behind the movie. He also reflects on his earlier outings for Disney and elaborates on the The Aristocats 2, a planned project that may now never see the light of day. Check out UltimateDisney.com's Interview with Jim Kammerud and look for our Fox and the Hound 2 review early next week.
It's time for another CD Roundup! This, Holidays 2006 CD Roundup, is our last report on Disney's music releases for the year. It makes sense then that we've expanded the 2-title critique to include 2006: Year in Review, which names the 10 Best Albums released by Walt Disney Records over the past twelve months and awards five other CDs niche triumphs (Best Box Set, Best Karaoke, Best CD+DVD Combo, Best Preschool, and Worst Overall CD). The two new subjects are Disney: The Music Behind the Magic, a five-star, two-disc, 50-track collection of 75 years of memorable Disney music; and The Cheetah Girls 2: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack, which expands last August's release with a remix, a cover, and a concert DVD. You definitely won't want to miss this final CD Roundup of 2006.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• Walt Disney Treasures: Your Host, Walt Disney - This two-disc set focuses on Walt's showman side as a weekly television personality with five anthology episodes selected for Walt's personal involvement and a 90-minute once-lost Disneyland special. Splendid extras include a rare CinemaScope short of Walt interacting with Mickey Mouse on stage at Radio City Music Hall, a 21-minute interview with Walt's daughter Diane, a featurette with eight child actors who worked with Disney, and a photo gallery.
• Disney DVD Game World: Disney Princess Edition - This virtual board game doesn't deliver much next to the far superior Dogs Edition. Its appeal is limited to young girls and as usual, they can do much better. Though it's diverting enough to virtually collect items on the way to the royal ball, the questions aren't likely to win over many apart from those who are pleased by the mindless fun that the ubiquitous Disney Princess brand often offers.
• Walt Disney's Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures, Volume 2 - Lands of Exploration - This two-disc set includes a couple of firsts: the very first True-Life Adventure (1948's Oscar-winning Seal Island) and the series' first feature-length production (1953's The Living Desert, another Oscar winner). It also contains the Oscar-winning documentary The Vanishing Prairie in addition to a couple of two-reel shorts (thematically similar but not given the TLA banner) and a pair of anthology episode excerpts. Though lighter than other volumes, the bonus features include a juicy "Filmmakers' Journal" piece, two shorts with Roy Disney at Animal Kingdom, and fifteen minutes of vintage trailers.
• The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Four-Disc Extended Edition - The biggest DVD set ever afforded a single Disney film spares drastic changes in a cut that prolongs the blockbuster adaptation of C.S. Lewis's best-selling fantasy novel by just seven minutes. Disc 2 reproduces the second platter of last spring's Collector's Edition, Disc 3 delivers an all-new 75-minute C.S. Lewis biography, and Disc 4 serves up yet another way to view the movie (a visual-oriented alternative to a commentary), another featurette and an art gallery. Aside from the theatrical cut, nothing is lost, but not an overwhelming amount is gained either. Also available for about $25 more in a Gift Set with bookend statues, this set will only be produced through the end of January.
• Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - 2-Disc Special Edition - Disney's all-time highest-grosser overcomes a rocky start enough to delight most viewers. Fine performances, standout action sequences, a good sense of humor, and fantastic effects compensate for a weak first hour, an excess of oddness, and a captivating but slightly sour open ending. A more expansive re-release seems inevitable, but this two-disc set should satisfy even ardent fans with bonus features that are remarkable in both quantity and quality.
• Air Buddies - The sixth film in the athletic dog series turns the focus to Air Bud's five puppies, who must prove heroic when their parents are kidnapped. For the first time, the canines communicate à la Homeward Bound with a distinguished voice cast and convincing computer generated imagery. Related Report: Air Buddies Press Day on the Disney Lot
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