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Count down the best of Disney's villains!

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October 31, 2004 - Happy Halloween! We've just revealed the Top 4 Disney Villains, which concludes our three-month trek through the studio's most effective evil characters. With all the votes from seventy-five participating site visitors tallied, Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent has been deemed the top villain from a Disney film. As with the rest of the Top 30, the top four provide an interesting mix of anatagonists, including the very first villain in an animated feature and two personalities from one talented animator in last decade's Renaissance. Thanks to all who voted, submitted comments, or merely found it worthwhile to check in to the site over the past few weeks as we counted down. Discussion on the Top 30 Disney Villains list is currently going on here; you're encouraged to weigh in with your thoughts on the results.

We apologize for not getting the top villains listed until now. No, we didn't forget about it. It just took a really long time to make graphics and compile write-ups, and both the bandwidth issue and The Incredibles screening sidetracked us. But ultimately it turned out alright. What better night to reveal the Top 4 Disney Villains than Halloween?

The good news on the Bandwidth Issue is that we've reached our goal, so UltimateDisney.com is all set with this upgraded hosting service through October 2005. Thanks so much to all who made contributions and helped keep the website going, and going strong. We'll try not to mention the b-word for a while!

Read our early review of Pixar's "The Incredibles."

October 30, 2004 - To date, Pixar Animation Studios has released five feature films. Each has been acclaimed by critics and embraced by record audiences. Next Friday marks the release of the sixth Pixar film, The Incredibles, one that many have been eagerly awaiting since the teaser showed up before Finding Nemo in May of last year. My long wait to see the film ended today, and I've put together a review of the film with both a "spoiler-free" option and a more detailed analysis which mentions some plot points. Here it is, UltimateDisney.com's early review of The Incredibles. Even with my unreasonably high expectations, the film did not disappoint me in the slightest. I hope you enjoy the film as much as I did.

Twelve new films are scheduled to be released by Walt Disney Pictures in 2005.

Disney has just issued a tentative schedule for their 2005 theatrical releases, which will necessitate some updates to our Coming to Theaters page. While that is in process, here's a list of the 12 films now under the "Walt Disney Pictures" banner which are scheduled to make it to theaters next year:
Aliens of the Deep (January): James Cameron (Ghosts of the Abyss) does another IMAX film for Disney/Walden. Deep-sea expeditions are again involved, but this time, Cameron, joined by marine biologists and NASA scientists, are looking at life forms way beneath the surface which may hint at extraterrestrial life. (More...)
Pooh's Heffalump Movie (February 11): The Hundred Acre Wood gang is worried when it appears that the Heffalumps have arrived, but Pooh and company's conception of the strange creatures may be a bit off. (More...)
The Pacifier (March 4): Action star Vin Diesel plays Shane Wolf, a Navy SEAL who faces his greatest challenge: babysitting. Diesel must protect five children while keeping the bad guys at bay in this action-comedy. (More...)
Ice Princess (March 18): A brainy high school student (Michelle Trachtenberg) pursues her dream of being a championship figure skater. (More...)
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (May 6): Based on Douglas Adams' popular book, this is the story of an ordinary man, whose world is thrown upside down as he journeys across the universe with the fate of his planet in jeopardy. Originally conceived as Touchstone, this Spyglass Entertainment production is now falling under the "Disney" banner. (More...)
The Greatest Game Ever Played (Spring): Bill Paxton directs the story of Francis Ouimet, an amateur golfer who shocks the world with his US Open performance. Shia LaBeouf stars as the lead, and Elias Koteas plays his hardworking father.
Herbie: Fully Loaded (June 3): Lindsay Lohan stars as Maggie Peyton, the latest owner of that beloved Volkswagen with a mind of its own. In this fifth theatrical Herbie film, Maggie and the Beetle enter the NASCAR circuit. (More...)
Chicken Little (July 1): After mistaking an acorn for a falling sky, the pint-sized Chicken Little becomes the laughingstock of his hometown, Oakey Owns. He joins the baseball team to seek redemption, but then the world really does seem in danger. This computer-animated comedy features the voices of Zach Braff and Garry Marshall. (More...)
Sky High (August): With much teenage angst, Will Stronghold starts high school at an elite academy for superheroes. (More...)
Glory Road (Date TBA): This Jerry Bruckheimer production has also switched from Touchstone to Disney. It tells the story of the underdog Texas Western college basketball team, who took the nation by surprise in 1966 with an all-black starting lineup and an unlikely NCAA tournament run.
Cars (November 4): Pixar's seventh feature film and the last under the current agreement with Disney takes us into the world of racecars. (More...)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (December 9): Disney's adaptation of the first in a popular series of fantasy tales written by C.S. Lewis. Four siblings leave behind World War II England and enter a magical world inhabited by talking beasts, dwarfs, fauns, and giants, a world cursed to an eternal winter by the dreaded White Witch. (More...)

You can discuss these upcoming Disney films on the forum.

Meanwhile, we'll soon have for you an early review of a Disney film which opens in theaters next Friday. Needless to say, expect the incredible!

October 29, 2004 - Our latest review looks at Around the World in 80 Days, a new big budget adaptation of Jules Verne's novel starring Jackie Chan and Steve Coogan and coming to DVD on Tuesday.

Thirteen stills featuring bonus features from the upcoming Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Edition DVD have been posted here.

As you may have noticed, the site was down for about 12 hours last night and this morning. We were able to transfer previous payments to an upgraded service, but we're now $116.50 short on covering the entire 12-month year. If you'd like to make a contribution through Amazon.com, you may do that here.

Meanwhile, those last 4 Villain countdowns and our Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas DVD review should be up by Halloween. Thanks for your patience during this challenging period of growing pains, and your help in keeping us online. We hope to begin November with three big things next week: a contest, the forum Secret Santa, and a unique early review. Make sure you are subscribed to the mailing list to stay on top of UltimateDisney.com's developments. If you're not and would like to be, send a blank e-mail to UltimateDisney-subscribe@topica.com.

Chicken Little, coming to theaters in 2005, represents Disney's own efforts in 3-D computer animation.

October 28, 2004 - The trailer for Chicken Little, Disney's computer animated film which opens July 1, 2005 is now available at MSN.

Thank you to those who have made contributions to help this website stay online and afford the semi-dedicated web hosting service that meets our ever-growing bandwidth needs. The upgrade cost comes out to $324 for a year, and donations from site visitors have us 40% of the way to our goal. Click here if you'd like to make a contribution, through Amazon.com.

Once again, may we remind you that if we exceed our additional bandwidth costs for this month (and cannot make the upgrade), the site will be down until November 1. Within the next week, you'll be seeing Villains Countdown updates, a few DVD reviews, the return of the UD Forum Secret Santa and more.

October 27, 2004 - Later than Ezra, but better late than never: today's Disney Villains Countdown update looks at the 6th and 5th highest-ranked villains of all time, with lots of comments on these two villains who embody wickedness in skinny and fat forms.

New disc art from December DVDs: That's So Raven: Supernaturally Stylish and The Young Black Stallion.

October 26, 2004 - Here is today's Disney Villains Countdown update: #'s 8 and 7 - two male authority figures who have power over the underworld and a pirate ship, respectively.

Ten days until The Incredibles comes to theaters. Check out pictures from last Sunday's premiere in Hollywood and a plethora of very neat high-resolution pictures from the film at OutNow.ch.

Mulan: Special Edition is released on DVD this week!

Mulan: Special Edition
is now available on DVD!
Read our review.

Order this 2-disc set from:
Amazon.com ($20.99)
BestBuy.com ($17.99,
with free in-store pickup)

eBay

October 25, 2004 - It's been nearly four years since this site was first launched, and it continues to grow. The number of daily visitors has nearly tripled in the past year, and we're thrilled to be your source for news and views on Disney films on the DVD format and a place for Disney fans from around the world to discuss their passion. At the same time, our increasing popularity means that we're outgrowing our current web hosting services.

This could mean site downtime at the end of this month, and a leap to a higher level of (semi-dedicated) hosting is looking inevitable. Such an expansion would cost UltimateDisney.com an excess of $300 for the next year. This is the more favorable route for the site to take. Efforts to conserve bandwidth on the forum either stifle or fall on deaf ears. Pop-up advertising may raise funds, but a frustrating browsing experience like that is not desired. I think we'll have to accept the site's growth as a good thing.

That said, your assistance in this matter would be appreciated. The two most obvious ways you can help are by making a contribution (starting at $1) or remembering to use the site's links (or Shop) when buying from Amazon.com. Thanks for helping to keep the site going.

As always, we welcome any ideas for how to make the site better for you. E-mail feedback@ultimatedisney.com with your comments and suggestions.

With that out of the way, We're down to the Top 10 Disney Villains in our countdown. Today, #'s 10 and 9 highlight a nasty judge and a wicked stepmother, with some interesting write-ups.

Just added disc art for Wrinkle in Time (coming November 16).

October 24, 2004 - Today's new DVD review looks at America's Heart & Soul, an underwhelming documentary which profiles dozens of ordinary people throughout the nation. This DVD will be available exclusively at Costco stores on November 2.

The second wave of Miyazaki titles have now disappeared from Disney's retail schedule. Originally slated to come last August, this trio of 2-disc Special Editions (Porco Rosso, Nausicca of the Valley of the Wind, and My Neighbor Totoro) were expected February 22, 2005. For now, we'll have to put this back in the "release date TBA" column on our Complete Upcoming Release Schedule, and hope that a formal press announcement comes soon.

October 23, 2004 - It may be a bit premature to say that last year's blockbuster adventure Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl has already etched its place among the most beloved Disney films. But this energetic realization of Walt's Disneyland attraction has developed a following like no other of the studio's recent live action works. Earlier this year, UltimateDisney site visitors voted it as the second best of all the live action Disney films. Ten days from now, the widely-owned two-disc Pirates Collector's Edition will become part of a 3-disc Gift Set with an hour of new bonus features. Today, we bring you the first DVD review of this gift set re-release.

Just added Gargoyles: Season One disc art to the Upcoming DVD Art page.

October 22, 2004 - Villains from two of Disney's most popular animated films are profiled as #'s 12 and 11 in the latest update to our continuing Disney Villains Countdown.

Now Disney is in agreement with Costco's website: America's Heart & Soul will be in Costco stores on November 2, not October 26.

October 21, 2004 - Two more villains are profiled in our Disney Villains Countdown: one has trouble keeping her mouth shut, the other doesn't say a word. Check out #'s 14 and 13.

Today we get our first look at disc art from Home Improvement: The Complete First Season, which will be released on November 23. From the artwork, one might gather they're going for the adult male theme. We also get our first look at Eloise at Christmastime disc art, which continues to feature Eloise in both illustrated and live action form.

Home Improvement: Season One - Disc 1 -- click for larger view Home Improvement: Season One - Disc 2 -- click for larger view Home Improvement: Season One - Disc 3 -- click for larger view Eloise at Christmastime -- click for larger view

October 20, 2004 - Two strong-willed women are featured in today's installment (#'s 16 and 15) of the Disney Villains Countdown.

The official website for The Incredibles has been relaunched with new video clips and an entertaining multi-level game called "Picture Yourself as a Super Hero."

Sky High, a different upcoming Disney film about superheroes, is currently filming. This live-action production (starring Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston) has transformed parts of the campus of California State University Northridge into the location for the titular academy for budding superheroes. Some photos of the production and set (and links to more) have been added to our Sky High preview section of Coming to Theaters.

More of a confirmation and reminder than anything new, but according to information Disney has sent to retailers, The Lion King, The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, and The Lion King 1 are now slated to be discontinued at the end of the year, rather than late January as Disney's deletions have been made in past years. The date is subject to change, but each of these three two-disc sets, as well as the upcoming The Lion King Movie Collection (which houses the trilogy of special editions in a big colorful box), will definitely be going out of print soon, where they're scheduled to stay on moratorium for several years.

The Lion King Movie Collection will be released on December 7th and discontinued soon after. Returned to the 'Disney' label, the PG-rated action film National Treasure makes it way into theaters on November 19. Click for details.

October 19, 2004 - Our Disney Villains Countdown gets an update today, as the 18th and 17th top ranked villains are profiled.

America Online and Moviefone.com have just added an extended 12-minute preview of National Treasure, the new Disney film from producer Jerry Bruckheimer. This PG-rated action film starring Nicolas Cage opens in theaters a month from today. For more details, visit Coming to Theaters. Meanwhile, the New York Times (free registration required) has a new article on how, with unconventional releases like National Treasure, Disney is expanding the "family film" definition to include edgier fare, and setting the tone for other studios to follow suit.

October 18, 2004 - Of the five films from Pixar that Disney has released, one often gets overlooked. That film is A Bug's Life, the animation studio's second feature production and very much a masterpiece in its own right. Jack Seiley's detailed new review makes sense out of the numerous DVD releases this "epic of miniature proportions" has received, primarily focusing on the currently available double-disc A Bug's Life: Collector's Edition.

BestBuy.com is not only taking orders but filling them for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Platinum Edition and Tarzan: Collector's Edition. Each of these two-disc sets has been out of print since 2002 and is selling for $34.99.

Amazon.com now has next February's two new Pooh DVDs (with "New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" episodes) up for preorder at 30% off ($13.99), with free shipping when you buy both: Growing Up with Pooh: Volume 1 - A Day of Great Discovery and Growing Up with Pooh: Volume 2 - Friends Forever.

It's now Monday, which means we're kicking off the second week of our Disney Villains Countdown. Today's update profiles #'s 20 and 19, two animals who are calling the shots, at least until the protagonists have their way.

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