UltimateDisney.com: The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD
SEPTEMBER 1-15, 2005: NEWS ARCHIVES
See UD's Upcoming Schedule for just-issued announcements / Tuesday's new release chart.
September 15, 2005 - The Bambi II press release has been updated with eight new stills from this direct-to-video midquel, which will be released to Disney DVD on February 7, 2006.
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Disney has issued a full press release for Toy Story 2 Special Edition, the two-disc Boxing Day reissue of Pixar's blockbuster sequel. The announced design closely resembles that of the recently-released Toy Story: 10th Anniversary Edition. Disc One offers a remastered 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation with both DD-EX and DTS-ES 5.1 soundtracks, plus a new Cars sneak peek, and an audio commentary. Like the commentary, most of Disc 2's extras are taken from 2000 DVD release The Ultimate Toy Box, such as outtakes and various production featurettes. Most notably absent is Pixar's 1986 short Luxo Jr., while new additions include "Making Toy Story 2", the personality quiz "Which Toy Are You?", and "Ponkickies" (Buzz, Woody, and Jessie's visit to a Japanese game show). See the press release for more details.
September 14, 2005 - Disney has just released the understated cover artwork from November 8th's Volume 1 box sets of "DuckTales" and "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers". The box fronts reveal that each 3-disc set will contain the first 27 episodes of the late '80s/early '90s television cartoons. There is still no word on any special features, but each animated set will carry an SRP of just $34.99.
Twenty years ago today, two different shows made their debuts as Disney's first animated television series: "The Wuzzles" (airing on CBS) and "The Adventures of The Gummi Bears" (on NBC). See a list of all those that followed in our Disney TV Shows section.
On the UD Forum, "ichabod" has posted a list of nearly two hours of bonus features that the British Board of Film Classification has recently passed for the UK's upcoming Toy Story 2: Special Edition. Almost all of it appears to be ported over from The Ultimate Toy Box, with the exception of a "Which Toy Are You?" Quiz that identifies which of six characters from the 1999 film you are most like and a "Baseball Woody" Easter Egg. The two-disc re-release of Pixar's sequel will be available in the UK in November, and on December 26th in Region 1.
September 13, 2005 - Don't panic. After a one-week hiatus, snowhite8 has returned to fill you in on this week's four major DVD releases from Buena Vista Home Entertainment in the latest installment of her ever-entertaining Weekly Video Update (WMV, 884 kb) series. Each week, UD's on-screen personality strives to inform and entertain you in roughly sixty seconds. It is now and always well worth a view - each update typically stays online for just seven days. Whether you have or have not seen any before, you're in for a treat: click here (left to view, right to save) or else the Gobloon might turn you into a jaggedy lantern. Do you really want that?
Oh no! The official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy DVD website has exploded! Today only, you'll find a password there which will get you exclusive downloads from a backup website. Hitchhiker's is now on DVD: review.
September 12, 2005 - Tonight, we have a review of Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie, tomorrow's new direct-to-video film starring Roo, Lumpy, and the rest of the Hundred Acre Wood gang. Though the middle twenty minutes are taken straight from the 1996 TV special "Boo To You Too! Winnie the Pooh", the feature is nonetheless consistently entertaining and delivers more excitement than the most recent and similarly-titled theatrical release. The disc also includes a handful of games and activities designed to throw a Pooh-themed Halloween party for young fans.
September 10, 2005 - A new review looks at The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, a PG-rated sci-fi/comedy once slated as "Disney" before it was released by Touchstone Pictures. This long-in-development adaptation of Douglas Adams's cult creation succeeds with its mix of "satire, scientific curiosity, impressive visuals, vast imagination, and doses of British humor." The single-disc DVD (available Tuesday) offers a splendid film presentation, two commentaries, a featurette, a few deleted scenes, a fun game and sing-along, but it lacks the 70-minute documentary the UK's 2-disc set holds.
September 9, 2005 - As mentioned in our recent Sin City review, the Dimension Films adaptation of Frank Miller's graphic novel series will be revisited in a deluxe DVD set this December. Specific information has come in, and the 2-disc "Recut & Extended" set (December 13, $39.99 SRP) will include a 147-minute version separated into four stories, the original theatrical release (with three audio commentaries), the complete Sin City graphic novel The Hard Goodbye, and an impressive list of all-new bonus features. See this thread for a full details list.
Amazon.com has lowered their price on Cinderella: Platinum Edition back to just $16.99 (43% off list price), and those who preorder now will receive an exclusive sneak peek at the Disc 2 bonus feature "The Art of Mary Blair." More on Cinderella available here.
For a movie that has been promoted as "coming soon" for so long, it is at long last beginning to feel like Chicken Little is entering its final stages of pre-release. With less than two months until Disney's G-rated CGI comedy opens in theaters, here is Issue #1 of "Chicken Little's The Sky is Falling" Newsletter, which illustrates the lighthearted fictional campaign behind one of the film's two official websites. Chicken will fall into theaters on November 4th, with the future of the studio's animation somewhat at stake.
Disc art has come in for "Scrubs" Season 2 and "Home Improvement" Season 3, two of many television show box sets Buena Vista Home Entertainment is releasing this November.
September 8, 2005 - With the news earlier this week that 1969 TV movie My Dog, The Thief will be heading to DVD next January, we've gone back and thoroughly updated our listings of Disney's made-for-television films. This is the biggest area of the studio's catalogue that has gone largely unreleased on the DVD format, as our three pages index more than 300 productions from the late 1950s to the present: Pre-1980, 1980-1990, 1991-Present. My Dog will become just the fourth TV movie from the 1950s through '80s to arrive on the format. While nobody expects all or even most of these vintage Disney features to suddenly appear on disc (the overwhelming majority were never even released to VHS), hopefully, these revised pages will trigger your memories and aid you in the tracking of these widely-forgotten works. Among the lists, you may notice plenty of titles that fans have been clamoring to revisit on DVD -- such as The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1964), Child of Glass (1978), the animated Fluppy Dogs (1986), Mr. Boogedy (1986) and its sequel Bride of Boogedy, Polly (1989), and Polly: Comin' Home! (1990), to list a few -- plus several big-name actors and Disney regulars known for their subsequent film roles.
Those who were left scratching their heads by the absence of two 1940s Donald Duck shorts from in the Walt Disney Treasures Wave 5 announcement for The Chronological Donald, Volume 2 can rest easy. An e-mail from Treasures emcee Leonard Maltin ensures that Bellboy Donald (1942) and Duck Pimples (1945) will in fact be included in the 2-disc December release.
Ding dong merrily on high! The Disney Princesses are sure to be celebrating a very secular Christmas with their vaguely-announced November 1st release Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment. Disc art for that title, featuring six brightly-adorned young heroines, has just been posted here. Meanwhile, those looking for holiday animation that's a bit more religious can choose from Disney's Wal-Mart exclusive The 3 Wise Men (also on November 1) or Classic Holiday Stories (one of September 27th's two Classic Cartoon Favorites) which marks the DVD debut of the 1978 Don Bluth-directed featurette-length short The Small One about a young Judean boy's fateful trip to a marketplace.
September 7, 2005 - New listings at Amazon.com alert us to some upcoming Disney DVDs including several that have not yet been formally announced. All of the following are now up for preorder at 30% off: Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition (February 28), Toy Story 2: 2-Disc Special Edition (December 26), Kronk's New Groove (December 13), and Bambi II (February 7). In addition, four new titles from Disney's live action catalogue are now showing up for release on January 17th: Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, The Devil and Max Devlin, Benji the Hunted and 1969 television movie My Dog, the Thief. For a look at the studio's late 2005/early 2006 slate, check out our fully-revised Upcoming Schedule.
The most recent issue of UltimateDisney.com's free e-mail newsletter went out early this morning. This is a great way to be notified of any upcoming and current Disney DVD releases, plus read the site's various newsbits and in a compact, digest format every week or so. To sign up and gain access to the first 75 issues (dating back to May 2003), send a blank e-mail to UltimateDisneyemail@example.com.
September 6, 2005 - Disney just issued a handful of new press releases for DVDs that are coming this December and early next year, beginning with a noteworthy couple of animated sequels. The Kronk's New Groove announcement discusses some plot specifics regarding this Emperor's New Groove follow-up which centers on dim-witted but good-hearted former henchman Kronk. The film will make its way to DVD on December 13th with two games and a featurette. The press release for Bambi II discusses its story about Bambi's coming-of-age and growing bond with his father. When it is released on February 7th, 2006, it will be accompanied by "Bambi Trivia Tracks", "Thumper's Hurry & Scurry Game", and making-of featurette "The Legacy Continues." Both direct-to-video features will be presented exclusively in 16x9 widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.
The recently-launched literary short series Walt Disney's Timeless Tales will continue with release of Timeless Tales: Volume Three in a wave of its own on January 3, 2006. This 65-minute disc will include six cartoons: 1930s Silly Symphonies The Wise Little Hen (which introduced Donald Duck), The Golden Touch, and Little Hiawatha; 1946's Casey at the Bat; and standalone '50s shorts Morris, the Midget Moose and Ben and Me (which are both scheduled to also appear on December's Disney Rarities tin). The DVD will also include a "collectible" Casey storybook-let. Two weeks later, yet another new shorts compilation line is launched: Walt Disney's Funny Factory, with the first two volumes devoted to Mickey Mouse and Donald, respectively. Like the Classic Cartoon Favorites series, each Funny Factory entry will carry a $14.99 SRP and hold about an hour's worth of shorts.
Finally, recently-aired Disney Channel Original The Proud Family Movie arrives on December 6th with a never-before-seen alternate ending, "Proud Family Shorties", an "Enjoy Yourself" music video, and Penny's Driver Ed Game. Coming the same day, That's So Raven: Raven's House Party will hold four music and dance-themed episodes plus a never-before-seen show, a radio trivia game, and Raven Re-Do outtakes. As is typical for the cable channel's offerings, each DVD carries a $19.99 SRP and fullscreen/Dolby Digital 5.1 feature presentation.
Disney has updated their initial announcements for the three Halloween DVDs coming next week. You can now read full press releases for Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie and the Halloweentown Trilogy. The new information reveals that Heffalump is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen (as opposed to the fullscreen announcement) and that all three Halloweentown movies will be offered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. All three DVDs carry $19.99 SRPs.
Our latest DVD review looks at Toy Story: 10th Anniversary, a brand new 2-disc set which marks a return to stores today for Pixar's debut film after more than two years in the vaults. Those lacking Toy Story altogether or owning only its 2-Pack or individual release should be highly pleased by this set, which offers a fantastic feature presentation and a solid assortment of supplements new and old. Those who already own the out-of-print 3-disc Ultimate Toy Box set have less reason to jump for a joy; a higher bitrate allows for minor improvements in picture and sound (including a DTS track, Pixar's first for Region 1) and there are several compelling new the bonus features (including two fine retrospectives, three new deleted scenes, a Cars sneak peek and a game), but several earlier extras have not been ported over. Read our in-depth review for full details on all this commemorative new set has to offer.
|Discounts at Amazon.com
Twenty vintage live action Disney films on DVD for 50% off ($7.49 - $9.99 each).
New Price Drops on Disney's Christmas DVDs: Eloise at Christmastime ($13.99); $10.98 each: Sing Along Songs: Very Merry Christmas, Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street, Rolie Polie Olie: Olie's Winter Wonderland
Discounted Preorders (43% off, $16.98 each): Cinderella: Platinum Edition (Oct. 4), Herbie: Fully Loaded (Oct. 25); Touchstone: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Sept. 13); Dimension: The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D (Sept. 20)
New to UMD for PSP: Toy Story: 10th Anniv. Ed., Lost: 2-Part Pilot Episode
Free U.S. shipping on all orders of $25 or more. (Lost alone or any 2 new DVDs.)
Discounts at BestBuy.com
Buy "Lost" Season One and get a free Best Buy-exclusive bonus DVD with new minidocumentary, 43-minute episode, and two behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Online-only: Season sets of school-set Buena Vista shows up to 48% off - Boy Meets World, Sweet Valley High ($25.99 each), Popular ($40.99 each). (Reviews)
Online-only offer: Additional Buena Vista TV Show sets on sale - including animated "Fantastic Four" (48% off, Review).
Free in-store pickup. (Starts Tuesday for new releases.)
CircuitCity.com: Get Toy Story plus any other $14.99 DVD for just $20.
Free in-store pickup or shipping on orders over $25.
September 5, 2005 - A pair of new DVD reviews come from opposite ends of the spectrum. In a look at tomorrow's Disney Princess Stories: Volume 3 - Beauty Shines From Within, Renata Joy laments the line's "precedence of profit over orignality" and concludes this entry would be better subtitled "Two Poorly-Animated Episodes And a Shameless Promotion." Even the disc's sparse extras offerings show a decline in effort. Meanwhile, Lindsay Mayer is more upbeat about the bleak but attractive Prozac Nation, an R-rated Miramax drama starring Christina Ricci that was supposed to wind up in theaters years ago, but ultimately settled for a cable TV airing last March. She explains the delay, clarifying it is not the content which has held the film back.
With all four leading characters (and a squirrel) appearing, the newly-issued disc artwork for The Emperor's New Groove: New Groove Edition would seem to quiet any doubts that this October 18th re-release will surprisingly be a single-disc affair with the primary purpose of promoting forthcoming sequel Kronk's New Groove.
September 4, 2005 - Our newest DVD review looks at Disney Princess Sing-Along Songs: Volume Two - Enchanted Tea Party, a simple but fun collection of twelve musical numbers excerpted primarily from Disney's animated classics and adorned with graphic lyrics. Though the program is brief (running just 34 minutes), karaoke and random modes increase its replay value, while a Dance Along and a Tea Time game will amuse its young female target audience.
September 3, 2005 - In his latest review, Aaron Wallace looks at Miramax's Dear Frankie, a PG-13-rated Scottish drama about a deaf boy, his single mother, and a stranger who supposedly is the boy's father. Though not likely to amaze, the film is able to resonate with viewers and on DVD, it is accompanied by a host of bonus features including some intriguing deleted scenes.
|August's Top Sellers on UltimateDisney.com
September 2, 2005 - According to their retail database, Disney has quietly discontinued the 60th Anniversary Edition DVD of Dumbo. Usually, when an animated classic goes out of print with little commotion, it means an enhanced edition is in the works. There have been rumblings in the past about a 2-disc Special Edition re-release of the circus cartoon, but no firm date or specs have ever been established. Still, one wonders if the film, the only of the studio's first five animated features that is not part of the prestigious "Platinum Collection", is due to be revisited sometime soon. For now, its 2001 DVD release remains readily available at many stores and at Amazon.com. Also deleted is 2003's Treasure Planet, which has not been rumored to be receiving an upgrade in the near-future.
Apparently answering complaints about overly cartoony cover art, Disney has mildly retooled the look of the characters and background on next month's Tarzan Special Edition DVD re-release. Though the spine has been suspiciously updated to remove a "2-Disc" reference, this set is still expected to hold dual platters.
September 1, 2005 - Disney has just released high-resolution cover artwork for Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition (or "Special Edition" as this preliminary art predictably calls it). As previously stated, this 2-disc set will arrive on February 28th, 2006. Early information from the studio reveals that the film will be presented in both 1.33:1 pan and scan and 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, which would imply that the Academy Ratio filming will not be offered. Audio options will include both a restoration of the original theatrical soundtrack and an all-new Dolby Digital 5.1 Disney Enhanced Home Theater mix, plus French and Spanish dubs. Bonus features for this 1955 animated classic will include two never-before-seen deleted sequences ("Turning the Tables" and "La La Loo"), a newly-discovered storyboard version of the film from 1943, the featurette "Finding Lady: The Art of the Storyboard", and the documentary "Lady's Pedigree: The Making of Lady and the Tramp." Additional bonus features geared towards younger viewers will include a new music video (to be announced), "PuppyPedia" (on the real-life breeds that inspired the movie), the virtual board game "Disney Dog Trivia", and a Disney Virtual Puppy DVD-ROM feature. An official press release is expected any day now, but Disney has already opened up a website.
As usual, the release of Disney's seventh Platinum Edition DVD will entail a wide and diverse marketing campaign from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. For Lady and the Tramp promotions, BVHE is teaming up with Del Monte dog food products and Francesco Rinaldi pasta sauce. The U.S. Postal Service will be issuing an exclusive Lady and the Tramp stamp for Valentine's Day. Brach's Easter Candy will offer savings when their treats are bought alongside the Lady DVD. Like all previous Platinum Editions, Lady will be available for a limited time only, though just how "limited" has not been specified.
Amazon.com is running another sale on Disney DVDs. This time, twenty classic (and not-so-classic) live action films from the 1950s through '80s are selling for just $7.49 to $9.99 each (50% off list price). The discounted titles are: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Review), Darby O'Gill and the Little People (Review), Davy Crockett: Two-Movie Set (Review), Treasure Island (Review), The Three Lives of Thomasina (Review), Third Man on the Mountain (Review), The Moon-Spinners (Review), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (Review), Now You See Him, Now You Don't (Review), The Island at the Top of the World (Review), The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (Review), Blackbeard's Ghost (Review), Snowball Express (Review), Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar (Review), The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit, Freaky Friday (Review), Return From Witch Mountain (Review), The Black Hole (Review), Something Wicked This Way Comes (Review), and Never Cry Wolf (Review).
Drastic discounts on five Buena Vista TV season sets are now in effect at BestBuy.com through the end of next January. You can purchase Boy Meets World: Season 1, Boy Meets World: Season 2, and Sweet Valley High: Season 1 for just $25.99 each (48% off list price). Fans of Touchstone's dramedy "Popular" can get The Complete 1st Season and The Complete 2nd Season for $40.99 each. Save on shipping by selecting the free in-store pickup option and your order still supports UD. Four of these reduced sets have been reviewed here.
For a look back at all of last month's DVD releases, check out our August Disney DVDs Thread.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch - Proper sequel picks up where the offbeat 2002 comedy left off, as psychotic fits hinder Stitch's efforts to help Lilo prepare for her hula competition. Delivers an interesting story while staying true to original's tone and characters, making for one of Disney's most enjoyable direct-to-video follow-ups. The presentation's impressive cinematic pizzazz is marred only by minor edge enhancement, but light supplements only include two worthwhile picks.
Little Einsteins: Our
Big Huge Adventure - Feature-length launch of a series aimed at Baby Einstein graduates delivers "a kid's meal of art and culture that parents will no doubt appreciate for their children and maybe even for themselves."
My Neighbors the Yamadas - Adapted from a popular comic strip, Isao Takahata's consistently entertaining and often poignant comedy breaks from Ghibli tradition with an alluring minimalist visual style and vignette format. Though the disc is light on extras, it delivers quality in the new English dub and top-notch presentation.
Pom Poko - Engaging tale of shape-shifting "Raccoons" reclaiming the natural world from mankind, delivered in both Western-friendly English dub and original culture-heavy Japanese. Though light on extras and not Ghibli's best, the film is in line with the studio's other animated classics and deserves a look.
That's So Raven: Disguise the Limit - Four-episode compilation of the Disney Channel's puzzlingly popular series that "isn't nearly as bad as its detractors will have you believe." Still, the random episode route taken is a letdown.
Recent Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension DVD Reviews:
My Scene Goes Hollywood: The Movie - In Miramax's new direct-to-video animated feature, adapted from a stylish modern line of Barbie dolls, five trendy teen girls become extras in a Lindsay Lohan film with fun and a feud ensuing. Despite the simple animation and a naοve conception of Hollywood, My Scene proves to be a zippy, entertaining ride, especially for the target audience. Fine 16x9 transfer, 5.1 sound, five interactive extras, and a low SRP sweeten the deal.
"Boy Meets World": The Complete Third Season - This winning family sitcom gets a bit edgier and funnier, while still delivering entertaining storylines and developing its likable characters. Excellent lot of episodes is marked by abundant laughs and impressive guest star roster. Solid audio/video and the lower price tag is welcome, but the 3-disc set disappoints with just one fun but brief trivia game for extras.
Sin City - Unique adaptation of graphic novel series earns an enthusiastic recommendation for those not averse to stylized violence. Though the nearly-barren disc is a tease for supplement fans, the film is an unexpected surprise which deserves attention for its unusual and stellar methods of storytelling.
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