UltimateDisney.com: The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD
APRIL 16-30, 2006: NEWS ARCHIVES
See Upcoming Schedule for the latest announcements. / Tuesday's New Release Chart
Final hours to buy Pixar stock!
April 30, 2006 - Amazon has added the following DVD box sets for preorder at 30% off: "Desperate Housewives": The Complete Second Season ($41.99, 6 discs, August 29), "Grey's Anatomy": The Complete Second Season ($41.99, 6 discs, September 12), "Lost": The Complete Second Season ($41.99, 7 discs, October 3), and "Commander in Chief": The Complete First Season ($27.99, 4 discs, October 3). As the past several weeks have shown, these discounts will probably last only 48 hours. Remember, using UD's links to buy from Amazon supports this site, something that is highly-needed now.
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In addition, three discs bearing the Disney name have been set for August 1 release with the same short-lived discount: the IMAX documentary Roving Mars, and the repeatedly-delayed Disney Learning Adventures Winnie the Pooh: Wonderful Word Adventure and Winnie the Pooh: Shapes and Sizes.
April 29, 2006 - Disney has proclaimed that the loose Tim Allen-headlined comedy remake The Shaggy Dog will be coming to DVD in August. Its modest disc will contain both 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 reformatted fullscreen transfers, plus deleted scenes, bloopers, and a bark-along bonus for dogs. Look for an official announcement soon.
April 28, 2006 - There have been a number of rumblings in recent weeks about ABC's hit hour-long dramas making their return to DVD this fall. A couple of months back, we alerted you that four shows were tentatively slated to arrive in September. Now, thanks to UD reader Daniel and USA Today, we have some firm information about three of those. "Desperate Housewives" is due on
July August 29th (typo confirmed) in a six-disc set billed The Complete Second Season - The Extra Juicy Edition, with an unaired storyline, deleted scenes, and more. Hip medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" will check in on September 12th in The Complete Second Season - Uncut with three extended episodes "too steamy for TV." Finally, on October 3rd, you can get "Lost": The Complete Second Season - The Extended Experience, a seven-disc set holding unaired flashbacks and an interactive matrix exploring connections between various characters and numbers. USA Today has a little bit more information plus a mock-up of the "extra juicy" "Housewives" Season 2 box art. The three confirmed sophomore sensations will each carry a $59.99 list price. UPDATE: Though the article contained no news on the fourth series penciled in, the Geena Davis drama "Commander in Chief" is still slated to come to DVD in The Complete First Season - Inaugural Edition sometime this fall. Cover art for all four has been posted here.
UD has only recently received a review copy of "Dinosaurs" The Complete First and Second Seasons, which makes the likelihood of a full critique by release date unlikely, though still a goal. Meanwhile, it can be confirmed that "The Golden Girls" The Complete Fifth Season contains audio commentaries on six episodes, with stars Betty White, Rue McClanahan, and Bea Arthur each flying solo on their tracks. Following six commentary tracks on both Seasons 1 and 2, "Scrubs" The Complete Third Season only boasts a pair of tracks (with Donald Faison, joined by writer Mark Stegemann on one and creator Randall Winston and co-star Judy Reyes on the other), though that is still two more than what appeared on the Region 2 release earlier this year. Thorough two-page reviews are in the works for each of these sitcom box sets.
UD is looking for a few individuals to serve as newsletter writers. Exemplary work could lead to a slot as a DVD review writer. See this thread for more details and how to apply.
April 25, 2006 - Our latest review looks at the only DVD this week bearing the "Disney" name: "Little Einsteins": Team Up for Adventure. The disc holds three episodes of Playhouse Disney's top-rated series for preschoolers, including one that has never before aired. Our critique considers the show's good and bad qualities and ponders the value of this technically sound but somewhat light compilation. Click to read.
Amazon.com has made Baby Einstein: Baby's Favorite Places (press release) available for preorder at 30% off. Following recent trends, this discount should end by Wednesday afternoon. UPDATE: It did.
April 24, 2006 - You may have noticed banners and buttons around the site proclaiming that time is running out to buy stock in Pixar Animation Studios. It's true; this unique item from OneShare.com will no longer be on sale next week. The good news is that there is still time to pick up a certificate of your own, which features beloved characters from the computer animation wizards' shorts and movies. The even better news is that you can now save $25 when you buy two shares. Use the code pixardeal when checking out. Alternatively, if one is enough for you, you can use the code ultimatedisney to get free shipping. Click here to visit OneShare.com and order Pixar stock before it's gone.
Sources within and close to Disney have told us that Secrets, Stories and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth has been tentatively re-slated to arrive on DVD this fall. Originally planned for release on July 12, 2005, the disc was delayed at the 11th hour for no clear reason. Long the most-preordered title among all UltimateDisney.com readers, this much-anticipated DVD will contain a number of things, all related to the world's premiere theme park, Disneyland. The main program is Disneyland: Then, Now and Forever, a brand new, never-before-seen, feature-length documentary on the Anaheim resort. Supplements, as originally announced, are to include the "Wonderful World of Disneyland" trivia game (with beginner and advanced levels), interviews with Diane Disney Miller and former Imagineer Rolly Crump, rare footage of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse on stage at Radio City Music Hall in 1962, the 12 sing along songs from Disneyland Fun, and, inside the case, a collectible replica of the original Disneyland E-ticket book. Those contents are subject to change, as is the expected autumn timeframe. But judging from the active forum thread (with menus!) we have dedicated to this title, this news was too good not to share, as it offers hope for a DVD some have thought would never see the light of day. We'll keep you fully updated on any new developments. If the planned release date holds up, we should be getting a new announcement in anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.
April 23, 2006 - Our second DVD Roundup is here! Given capsule reviews in this new article are three films making their DVD debuts this month through Disney. Touchstone's R-rated comedy Casanova tells a largely fictionalized account of the notorious 17th century charmer, conforming to period romance conventions as the Venetian (portrayed by Heath Ledger) pursues a feminist worth changing his ways for. Shopgirl, also rated R and from Touchstone, is consciously artistic and provides quirkiness in its love triangle of Claire Danes, Jason Schwartzman, and Steve Martin (who wrote the novella it's based on). Finally, Spymate is the lone family-friendly subject, a chimpanzee action/comedy which is cut from the same mold as the Air Bud and MVP: Most Valuable Primate movies and stems from the same studio. Click here to read all three critiques and revel in some good fun in the tradition of UD's past 425 reviews.
This Week's Bargains• Amazon.com's Hot List (Amazon's most popular DVD deals)
BestBuy.com Bargains (Support Ultimate Disney: buy online, free in-store pickup.)
• Last week: 24 Disney DVDs on Sale - Up to 50% Off! - Pixar & much more
• Last week: Buy Narnia and save $3 on another Disney DVD - choose from 300+
• Last week: Buy Disney Princess Sing Along V3, save $3 on another Princess DVD
• Buy Meet the Orchestra and save $3 on any other Baby Einstein DVD
* Buy Shopgirl and Casanova together and save $10! (Get both for $29.98!)
April 22, 2006 - Ed ("mexico_ride" on our forum) alerts us that Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes and Winnie the Pooh: Wonderful Word Adventure are now due to be released on August 1st, according to an ad in Disney & Me magazine. These next two Hundred Acre Wood-set Disney Learning Adventures were originally slated to bow last November and were then pegged for a spring 2006 release. They will become the 22nd and 23rd Pooh DVDs Disney has released in Region 1. A new date has yet to be set for Disney Princess Learning Adventures: The Enchanted Book of Letters, which was pulled shortly before its announced February release. For more information, see the Upcoming Schedule and our Ultimate Guide to Pooh.
Reworked imagery for High School Musical and our first look at Baby Einstein: Baby's Favorites Places are the latest additions to Upcoming Covers.
April 21, 2006 - Has the upcoming NFL drama Invincible been shuffled to Disney's less family-friendly Touchstone Pictures division? If TouchstonePictures.com is accurate, then it would appear so. Such a move would leave just three franchise films to fill the rest of Walt Disney Pictures' 2006 slate: Pixar's Cars, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, and The Santa Clause 3. UPDATE: the title has been moved to DisneyPictures.com, with the corrected release date of August 25th.
Valentine's Day is long past, but the United States Postal Service still has romance (of the Disney variety) on its mind. To kick off Epcot's 13th annual Flower & Garden Festival, USPS was on hand today at Walt Disney World for a ceremony unveiling the third and latest wave of The Art of Disney postage stamps. Four of Disney's most memorable couples (Mickey and Minnie, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Lady and Tramp, Belle and the Beast) are honored in the new set, which were a Disney World exclusive for today. They'll go on sale nationwide tomorrow (pictures and press release), and if you're mad your favorite Disney duo was left off, there's always Zazzle.
Mirroring last year's pattern, Disney has announced the 21st entry in the Baby Einstein series for DVD release on July 25, 2006. Baby's Favorite Places: First Words - Around Town follows last July's Baby Wordsworth as the second volume designed to stimulate communication in infants. The half-hour program introduces vocabulary relating to one's neighborhood and will again employ classical music from the likes of Mozart and Joplin as well as sign language with Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin. See the full press release for more details.
Our Upcoming Cover Art page has been updated with revised/final artwork from June's DVD releases, namely high-res covers from Eight Below, Glory Road, and "Home Improvement" Season 4, plus a thumbnail of the Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure reissue.
After being sidelined for the first half of the season, Touchstone's sitcom "Scrubs" returned to NBC in January and has since earned some rave reviews and solid ratings, making a sixth season all but certain. Timed to coincide with the Season 5 finale, Buena Vista Home Entertainment has slated the comedy series' Complete Third Season DVD release for May 9th. That's not breaking news. What is is the fact that you will find a special bonus inside the Third Season's DVD package: every set will contain a lithograph featuring the seven principal "Scrubs" cast members. Raising the "neat" factor, in 100 random copies of the 3-disc set, this so-called "Scrub-o-graph" will be hand-signed by Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins, and Judy Reyes and embossed with a seal of authenticity. For more information, check out the studio's official "Scrubs" Season 3 announcement, which we've just upgraded from fact sheet to a full-blown press release.
Next Tuesday sees the second DVD release of Playhouse Disney's culture-driven preschool series "Little Einsteins", from Disney and the Baby Einstein Company. Wouldn't you know it, there's more on the way! A preview on Little Einsteins: Team Up for Adventure announces another "triple-length adventure" will be making its way to Disney DVD soon. Like next week's disc, this future one, titled Little Einsteins: Mission Celebration!, will also contain a never-before-seen installment. Look for it on August 22nd.
Now through May 11th, A&E's Shop is selling "Ellen" The Complete Season One for just $19.98, 50% off its list price. You can read Aaron Wallace's review of this Touchstone sitcom's two-disc set here and browse through A&E's Special Offers here. In addition to "Ellen", thirty other items are now half off including several TV box sets.
April 20, 2006 - With new records set seemingly each week, the Disney Channel Original Movie High School Musical has been dubbed by New York's Daily News "one of the biggest children's-TV phenomena since Fess Parker pulled on a coonskin cap." The uber-popular telemovie will air again twice tomorrow night, beginning at 8:00 Eastern/Pacific. The article mentions that a sequel is already in the works and a novelization is forthcoming. Of course, the movie's "Encore Edition" DVD is due in a month (press release) and if you can't wait that long, iTunes has it for download in addition to oft-downloaded tracks from the chart-topping soundtrack (review).
Speaking of iTunes, the Apple-owned pay-per-download program has just made five Oscar-nominated Disney shorts from the 1940s newly available for $1.99 a piece, bringing the total number of offerings to fifteen. The latest additions are Lend a Paw, Donald's Crime, Chip an' Dale, Squatter's Rights, and Pluto's Blue Note. Download them here.
It took a while, but "Power Rangers S.P.D." has returned to the UD spotlight, as Volume 3: Wired, Volume 4: Boom, and Volume 5: Zapped are pooled into one standard-sized review for your reading pleasure. Our reviewers endured over 8 hours of watching "S.P.D." (plus countless more thinking and writing about it) to bring you this thorough critique, why not give the page a few minutes to read their fascinating findings? The series, the 13th incarnation of the curious kid-oriented franchise, follows young law enforcement officers and their battles against assorted villains in the year 2025. Read the full review for all the Power Rangers you'll need.
April 19, 2006 - Do you ever wonder what could happen under, under an umbrella tree? Well, you can stop wondering and read our review of "Under the Umbrella Tree" Volume 2. Arriving a year after its predecessor, this 4-episode disc includes the half-hour Valentine's Day special "Love" and delivers everything you remember about the stellar show which aired on The Disney Channel in the 1980s and '90s, plus new introductions featuring the characters. Once again, the disc is available exclusively at CinerioEntertainment.com. Click to read our review.
April 18, 2006 - Having been available for ten weeks now, Disney's direct-to-video midquel Bambi II goes out of print today. Its 70-day availability window is the shortest Disney has employed in six years, but as is usual for announced discontinuations, you'll be able to buy the DVD until existing inventory runs out. For instance, Amazon is still selling the disc (albeit in their BVHE-at-list-price phase) and Marketplace prices start as low as $11. On the other hand, the Disney Movie Club, which recently showcased the movie as a Featured Title, is no longer offering it at all. Check our Out-of-Print List for an up-to-date roster of Disney DVDs you won't find in stores.
April 17, 2006 - Disney has issued a press release for Eight Below, their $80 million-grossing snow dog adventure. This announcement confirms what we've told you earlier, that the DVD will arrive on June 20th with two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and a making-of featurette. Amazon.com has listed Eight Below for preorder at 30% off. If you're interested in buying from the e-tailer, act now, as the disc is almost certainly to rise to list price in the next 48 hours. UPDATE: Told ya!
Disney's latest theatrical release, The Wild, had a decent Friday intake but fell fast and wound up in 4th place at the box office. Its earnings, a bit under $10 million, were about half of what the most conservative estimates had the G-rated comedy/adventure pegged for. So much for computer animation guaranteeing financial success, huh? The C.O.R.E.-animated flick should end up with about $35 million overall (roughly twice the North American gross of Valiant) and stampede its way to DVD before the end of summer. Its soundtrack of score and songs will be covered in our next CD Roundup.
April 16, 2006 - Easter's almost over, but why not take this moment to point out some of the DVDs we've reviewed which contain noteworthy Easter Eggs? Check out the following critiques for information on how to unlock unannounced bonus features: Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition, Toy Story 2: Special Edition, The Incredibles, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe: 2-Disc Collector's Edition, Dinosaur: Collector's Edition, Chicken Little, Funny Factory (Vols. 1 & 2), Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies, The Chronological Donald, Vol. 1, Davy Crockett: The Complete Televised Series, Mickey Mouse in Black & White, Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Volume 2, Tomorrowland, A Very Playhouse Disney Holiday, Freaky Friday (2003), Spirited Away, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Mickey's House of Villains, Dream On Silly Dreamer, Schoolhouse Rock, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, "Lost" Season 1, "Desperate Housewives" Season 1, Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: 2-Disc Criterion Collection, and Flightplan.
Recent Disney and Disney-Related DVD Reviews:
• Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin - Clearly predating Disney's preschool-ization of the Hundred Acre Wood gang, this 1997 film holds up rather well for being one of the studio's earliest direct-to-video forays. It's not perfect or on par with the best Pooh fare, but Grand delivers plenty of fun. Its widescreen transfer is a minor issue as picture is mostly great and sound is top-notch. While the bonuses do not deserve the label "Special Edition", they do include the biggest highlight of the bear's animated career.
• The Greatest Game Ever Played - As period golf dramas only have so much appeal, this Bill Paxton-directed, Shia LaBeouf-headed film puts much focus on class struggles and repeatedly attemps visual tricks to make golf exciting. The disc is surprisingly full of worthwhile bonuses, including two engaging commentaries, a making-of featurette, and a very cool 1963 broadcast catching up with the real Francis Ouimet.
• Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 12 - Best Pals: Mickey & Pluto - While this 8-short compilation can be faulted for failing to uphold its title (it contains much more Pluto than Mickey), its content does not disappoint. Among the hour of solid entertainment offered are two cartoons making their DVD debuts.
• Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 11 - Best Pals: Donald & Daisy - Presenting nearly every vintage short that stars Disney's duck couple, this disc lives up to its long title and entertains heartily. This compilation marks the DVD debut of four fun cartoons and while the video is lacking and extras are still absent, it's an ideal sampling for the non-completist looking for an hour of Donald and Daisy hijinks.
• Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 10 - Best Pals: Mickey & Minnie - The title isn't just long, it's misleading too because the mouse couple takes backstage to their speechless pets Pluto and Figaro in most of the disc's eight vintage shorts. Four cartoons make their DVD debut here, including two from Figaro's series not slated for Treasures release anytime soon. As usual, there are no extras and video quality is a mixed bag.
• The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Special Two-Disc Collector's Edition - Easily Disney's best film of 2005, this blockbuster fantasy adaptation is treated to the finest Disney DVD of 2006 thus far. Hours of interesting bonus material and slick packaging largely satisfy for now, but leave room for future improvement. Our review includes a look at the journey C.S. Lewis's novel took to the big screen and its religious overtones.
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