December 15, 2006 - The Disney Channel Original Movie Jump In! is still a month away from its debut airing and yet BVHE has already informed stores to expect the boxer-turned-Double-Dutch-jump-roper comedy's arrival on April 3, 2007 in a "Freestyle Edition." The DVD will offer a fullscreen/Dolby 5.1 presentation of the movie plus two music videos (Keke Palmer's "Jumpin'" and T-Squad's "Vertical") and two featurettes ("Learning the Moves" with star Corbin Bleu and "Inside the Ropes: The Making of Jump In!"). The release will be backed by a heavy promotional campaign on par with last spring's High School Musical: Encore Edition, which also starred Bleu.
December 14, 2006 - Ed South brings us nearly up to speed on last week's many Disney DVD releases with his new review of 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. Click here for the full review.
Amazon.com is currently selling the 6-disc theme park soundtrack A Musical History of Disneyland for over 30% off. That puts the collector's dream set under $69, but still qualifies it for free shipping in the US. You can read our detailed review of the CDs here.
We've expanded our Upcoming Disney Movies preview of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End to include the first two official pictures of the hotly-anticipated sequel. The photos depict Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley, Geoffrey Rush, and (new cast addition) Chow Yun Fat in character. Click here to view them.
UD has received review copies of the new Walt Disney Treasures and thusly learned that Wave 6's sets are limited to the uncharacteristically low print run of 65,000 copies each. For more on next week's four tins and a place to sound off, visit our Walt Disney Treasures page and the Wave 6 Press Release & Discussion thread.
December 13, 2006 - Just posted: the press release for Read It and Weep. The 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie, which stars Kay and Danielle Panabaker, will turn up in stores on January 16th in a "Zapped Edition" which offers a Jordan Pruitt music video, an interview with the Panabaker sisters, and a making-of featurette. Read more...
Cover art for the second and final wave of Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun! -- has been posted. Volume 3 and Volume 4 are scheduled to arrive on February 13th holding a variety of cartoon sets set around the globe. Check out Upcoming Cover Art to view the new images.
December 12, 2006 - The biggest DVD set ever afforded a single Disney film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - Four-Disc Extended Edition is the subject of our latest DVD review. The blockbuster fantasy adaptation of C.S. Lewis's best-selling novel is spared drastic changes in a cut extended by just seven minutes. Disc 2 reproduces the second platter of last spring's Collector's Edition, Disc 3 delivers the 75-minute biography C.S. Lewis: Dreamer of Narnia, and Disc 4 serves up yet another way to view the movie (a visual-oriented alternative to a commentary) plus another "Anatomy of a Scene" featurette and an art gallery. Aside from the theatrical cut of the movie, nothing is lost, but not an overwhelming amount is gained either. This Extended Edition, which is also available for about $25 more in a Gift Set with bookends by WETA, Ltd., will only be produced through the end of January and it should disappear from stores not long after. Click here for our complete 2-page review.
Joshua has e-mailed us to note that widescreen versions of George of the Jungle and The Country Bears have been made available on iTunes. The comedies are both among the live action Disney films that have only come to DVD in fullscreen.
December 11, 2006 - With Christmas just two weeks from today, we're opening Snowy Screencap Challenge, our final giveaway of the year. This is also our easiest contest ever, giving you a chance to win the Christmas-themed Disney DVD of your choosing for less than a minute's effort. This contest will close a week from today. Click here for details and to enter.
At last, we've finished our review of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - 2-Disc Special Edition. The highest-grossing Disney film of all-time, this sequel is not without its problems, but it overcomes a rocky start enough to be able to delight most viewers. Fine performances, standout action sequences, a good sense of humor, and fantastic effects make up for a weak first hour, an excess of oddness, and an open ending that's captivating but slightly sour. Though a re-release seems inevitable, the 2-Disc set should satisfy even the most ardent fans, with bonus features that are remarkable in both quantity and quality. These include a writers' audio commentary, a 25-minute pre-production featurette, an hour-long production documentary, 22 vignettes on Captain Jack Sparrow's unique look, two Disneyland-set pieces, and a blooper reel, plus one of the coolest slipcovers around. Click here for the full review, which offers nearly 30 pictures from the DVD and information on four Easter Eggs.
On a related note, later this week, UD will proudly present an interview with Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, the writers of all three Pirates of the Caribbean movies as well as Aladdin and Shrek. You won't want to miss it!
December 10, 2006 - Thanks largely to user submissions, we've just updated our Disney DVD Easter Eggs page with new unannounced bonus features found on Bambi II, Beauty and the Beast, Dinosaur: Collector's Edition, Freaky Friday (2003), Lilo & Stitch, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition, the two available Pirates of the Caribbean films, Return From Witch Mountain, Schoolhouse Rock, Sky High, Spirited Away, Tron: 20th Anniversary Edition, several Walt Disney Treasures tins, Hidalgo, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Vista Series. Click here for the complete, updated list.
December 8, 2006 - Amidst this eventful week for Disney DVD, we have a look ahead to next week with both a review of and a report on Air Buddies. The sixth film in the athletic dog series, this one turns the focus to Air Bud's five puppies who must prove heroic when their parents are kidnapped. The movie, which premieres Tuesday only on DVD, is the first which lets its canines communicate ΰ la Homeward Bound with a distinguished voice cast and convincing computer generated imagery. Albert Gutierrez reviews Air Buddies, pointing out the numerous positive messages to be found among the cute, compact, and childish comedy. The disc includes three short featurettes and a music video for a cover of "We Are Family." Meanwhile, Pluto Region1 turns in a photo-filled report from an Air Buddies Press Day held last Saturday on the Walt Disney Studios Lot in Burbank. The day found director Robert Vince and a host of cast members (including "Home Improvement" star Richard Karn) fielding questions on the movie's production during a discussion panel, while costumed golden retrievers made appearances on the red carpet. Don't miss our coverage on "The New Generation" of Air Bud, Air Buddies: Review, Press Day Report.
December 6, 2006 - This Saturday marks the 75th anniversary of the day that Mickey's Orphans was released to theaters. The 1931 black and white cartoon short is significant because it represents the first time Walt Disney's animators depicted Christmas on screen. In the years since, there have been countless unions of Disney and Christmas. With the holiday just two and a half weeks away, we're bringing you an updated version of our seasonal favorite, A Very Disney Christmas: Disney's Christmas Features. This article and accompanying checklist cover three-quarters of a century of Disney's Christmas-themed fare, from live action films (like The Santa Clause and The Muppet Christmas Carol) and television movies (The Christmas Star, Eloise at Christmastime) to animated featurettes (such as Mickey's Christmas Carol and The Small One) and video compilations (including A Walt Disney Christmas and last year's Classic Cartoon Favorites volumes). These and more are all discussed here, helping you to ring in the yuletide the Disney way, discover some lesser-known gems, and perfect your holiday season viewing list: Disney's Christmas Features.
Our latest review looks at Walt Disney's Legacy Collection: True-Life Adventures, Volume 3: Creatures of the Wild, which offers dazzlingly-restored presentations of two fine feature films -- The African Lion (1955) and Jungle Cat (1960) -- and a pair of two-reel shorts -- Oscar-winning Bear Country (1953) and The Olympic Elk (1952), in addition to solid couple of "Disneyland" anthology installments and a bevy of worthwhile bonus features. Lions and jaguars and bears, oh my... click here for our complete, detailed DVD review.
December 5, 2006 - Aaron Wallace recently spoke with Moira Kelly, the actress who voiced the grown-up version of female lead Nala in Disney's 1994 blockbuster The Lion King and its two best-selling sequels. Kelly, whose other big screen credits include The Cutting Edge, Chaplin and With Honors, is best known today for her starring role on the CW's hour-long drama "One Tree Hill", now in its fourth season. Kelly recalled being part of Disney's biggest animated hit of all-time as well as what it's like being far from Hollywood and steadily working on a teen-oriented, fan-saved program. Don't miss UltimateDisney.com's Interview with Moira Kelly, The Lion Queen.
December 4, 2006 - Tomorrow sees the much-anticipated DVD release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Those in the Los Angeles area who are daring needn't go to their local store to buy the movie; they can get 2-Disc Special Edition for free from Disney, so long as they agree to dress up like a pirate and walk the plank. Said plank will be found connected to a faηade of Captain Jack Sparrows Black Pearl (pictured here) that leads to a 10,000-gallon tank of cold water. This event will run from 3 PM to 11 PM in the parking lot of Grauman's Chinese Theatres in Hollywood; at night, the ship will be lit with colorful LEDs. And, in case there was any doubt, the 2-Disc Special Edition is one of about a dozen reviews we're currently working on - look for our complete critique (including Easter egg locations) soon.
Another one of tomorrow's many DVD releases gets covered with Albert Gutierrez's review of High School Musical: Remix. This two-disc Special Edition wastes no time in revisiting one of the Walt Disney Company's biggest 2006 hits, a movie whose popularity is unparalleled among Disney Channel originals. The critic does not find the movie worthy of its phenomenon status, pointing out the faults (a spotty cast working from a basic, unrealistic script) among the strong points (impressive choreography and skillful villains). Rather scant for a double-disc outing, Remix still surpasses last spring's Encore Edition by retaining all bonuses and both movie versions while adding another 35 minutes of extras via a cast reunion, dance-along and premiere featurettes, and new and remixed music videos. Read on...
In our latest DVD review, Aaron Wallace examines Funny Factory: Volume 3 - With Goofy. The 7-short collection offers nothing that hasn't already been on DVD, which means that all boast fantastic restorations but also that the disc is superflous for those who bought Goofy's 2002 Treasure. Those who didn't and don't feel like paying upwards of $75 should be pleased with this compilation. Even if it needlessly falls on cartoon short of an hour and lacks bonuses, it provides a tasty sampling of the Goof's work, including the first and last entries to Goofy's short series. Click for the full review.
December 3, 2006 - We have a lot of exciting content coming your way in the days ahead. Right now, you can check out our brand new review of Disney DVD Game World: Disney Dogs Edition. Though it may seem kid-oriented, this digital board game proves challenging even for hardcore Disney aficionados, with trivia covering dozens of the studio's dog-featuring animated and live action films. Though it is marked by some shortcomings, the game serves up a reasonable amount of fun in roughly 50 minute doses and comes backed by a 100% Fun Guarantee. Click here for our full review, with over a dozen pictures from gameplay.
December 2, 2006 - Our coverage of the exciting new line Walt Disney's Legacy Collection kicks off tonight with Albert Gutierrez's review of True-Life Adventures, Volume 1: Wonders of the World. This two-disc set holds four designated TLAs, including the Academy Award-winning 1958 feature White Wilderness, which infamously propagated the myth that lemmings are suicidal. Other programs include two-reel Oscar winners Water Birds and Beaver Valley, Prowlers of the Everglades, Mysteries of the Deep, and two relevant anthology episodes. Other bonus materials include a fine newly-produced "Filmmakers' Journal" featurette, Roy Disney amidst Animal Kingdom birds, original trailers, and a pair of nifty shorts. Click here for the full review.
December 1, 2006 - Later than you hoped for but sooner than you feared, we've just posted out review of Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition. The new single-disc release provides a matted 16x9-enhanced widescreen version of the 1973 film which may or may not represent the filmmakers' intended vision. While the jump from Mono to 5.1 is unremarkable, there are minor gains in picture quality, which may be the only reason to upgrade. The bonus features are lightweight: an art gallery which nearly qualifies as a featurette, a brief storyboard-spawned alternate ending, two games, a black & white Mickey Mouse short, and a barely-worth-mentioning "song selection" feature are all you'll find here. Though not without some charms, the movie -- an all animal retelling of the well-known tale of Sherwood Forest's injustice-fighting thief -- is disjointed, lazy, and in the lower echelon of the studio's animated output. Read the full review.
November 30, 2006 - We're proud to present Part 2 of our interview with veteran Disney actor Hank Jones. In this installment, Hank recalls working with Elsa Lanchester, Walter Brennan, Buddy Ebsen, Wally Cox, Richard Deacon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Suzanne Pleshette, Dean Jones, Tim Conway, McLean Stevenson, and more. You won't want to miss Hank's behind-the-scenes tales from the sets of 1960s and '70s live action Disney comedies. Click here for Part 2: UltimateDisney.com's Exclusive Interview with Hank Jones.
November 29, 2006 - Disney has issued one-sheet poster artwork for the company's two animated 2007 theatrical releases: Feature Animation's Meet the Robinsons and Pixar Animation Studios' Ratatouille. Check out Upcoming Disney Movies to view both of them.
November 21, 2006 - "ichabod" has bumped our closely-watched thread on the long-delayed behind-the-scenes Disneyland DVD Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth with some very exciting news. Disney's newly-launched website for the soon-to-debut Walt Disney Legacy Collection previews the forthcoming wave of True-Life Adventures, but it also reveals three new titles that are bound for release under this new two-disc line. Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic is one of them, with a newly-abbreviated title. The other two: Destino, the Oscar-nominated, long-unfinished collaboration between Walt Disney and artist Salvador Dali which finally came to fruition in 2003 via Roy Disney, and The Adventures of Oswald, which presumably will boast the surviving shorts of the lucky rabbit who was Walt Disney's first animated star and returned to the Disney family last February after more than 75 years away. While no date has been announced for the next three sets nor any contents clarified, the website contains conceptual cover art and the first wave's press release points to a release sometime in the first half of 2007.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
The Cheetah Girls 2: Cheetah-licious Edition - This Disney Channel Original Movie takes the four-girl pop group to Spain, where they meet conflict and opportunity as they participate in an amateur music competition. The DVD includes the broadcast cut, a mildly extended version, and a sing-along version, but no widescreen option. A music video and 10-minute featurette round out the disc.
Funny Factory: Volume 4 - With Huey, Dewey, and Louie - Hour-long compilation holds one-third of the entertaining cartoon shorts featuring Donald's rambunctious triplet nephews.
"Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers": Volume 2 - This 3-disc box set arrives, like Volume 1 did last November, with unspectacular picture/sound and not a single bonus. It does, however, deliver the standout 5-part pilot and 19 additional episodes, coming close to putting Disney's late-'80s animated chipmunk detective series on DVD in its entirety.
"Disney's Adventures of The Gummi Bears": Volume 1 - As of the studio's two first animated TV series, this one layed the groundwork for the Disney Afternoon and other popular '80s cartoons. Twenty-one years after debuting, the series holds up fairly well and its first half is presented. The 3-disc set delivers 11 half-hour and 36 quarter-hour episodes with spotty picture/sound and nary a bonus.
Monsters, Inc. - Pixar's fantastic two-disc Collector's Edition treats the wonderful 2001 movie to flawless picture and sound plus a vast, satisfying slate of bonus features.
Recent Touchstone DVD Reviews:
"The Golden Girls": The Complete Sixth Season - After a brief weak stretch early on, new behind-the-camera talent put the enduring NBC/Touchstone sitcom back at its best in its penultimate year. The 1990-91 season found the Saturday night fixture skillfully fusing drama with the usual comedy. The set includes a 20-minute excerpt of a cast/crew retrospective panel held at the Museum of Television & Radio, the best bonus the show has yet to receive.
"Home Improvement": The Complete Fifth Season - The highly-rated Tim Allen sitcom was at its best in the middle of its eight-season run. Taking chances while staying true to past years, the show delivers a number of its all-time best episodes here. Buena Vista's set is once again standard, providing only a worthwhile blooper reel for bonus material, but treating the 26 episodes to an otherwise fine presentation.
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