UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Release Schedule | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Disney's Direct-to-Video Movies | Search This Site

Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
Special Edition DVD with Bonus Disc Review

Buy Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams with Bonus Disc from Amazon.com Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams
Program & DVD Details

Director: David Block / Writers: Denise Gruska ("Keys to the Kingdom"), Shirley Pierce ("More Than a Peacock Princess"), Tom Rogers (princess intros & narration)

Voice Cast: Susanne Blakeslee (Narrator), Erin Torpey (Aurora), Linda Larkin-Vasquez (Jasmine), Jeff Bennett (The Duke, King Hubert, Farmer, Sultan, Painter), Corey Burton (King Stefan), Barbara Dirikson (The Queen, Flora), Gilbert Gottfried (Iago), Roger Craig Smith (Prince Phillip), Russi Taylor (Fauna), Tress MacNeille (Merryweather), Zack Shada (Hakeem), Tara Strong (Sharma), Frank Welker (Rajah, Abu), Flo Di Re (Aneesa)

Songs: "Keys to the Kingdom", "Peacock Princess", "I've Got My Eyes on You"

Running Time: 56 Minutes / Rating: G / Video Debut: September 4, 2007

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, Spanish, French)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; Bonus Disc: English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date: September 8, 2009 / SRP: $29.99 / Two single-sided discs (DVD-9 & DVD-5)
White Keepcase in Embossed, Holographic Cardboard Slipcover with Affixed Paper Envelope

Buy from Amazon.com


This fall, Disney has a new animated princess movie coming to theaters. When is the last time we could say that?
Well, just two years ago, there was Enchanted, a predominantly live-action fantasy about Giselle, an animated princess turned human in our New York City. She was supposed to join the Disney Princess line-up, but having to pay for the life-long rights to Amy Adams' likeness nixed that plan. Before that, 2001's Atlantis: The Lost Empire featured a princess named Kida but hardly focused on her. The action cartoon's poor performance with audiences ensured she is not part of the Disney Princess line. That understandable oversight renders Mulan, a princess by neither blood nor marriage, the most recent addition to the franchise.

Born at the turn of this century, the Disney Princess line has grown into a $4 billion annual moneymaker for Disney. The price of the company's recent purchase of 70-year-old multimedia titan Marvel Comics and its registry of 5,000 characters (including some of the most iconic superheroes known to man and film) equals the amount of business Disney Princess consumer products is expected to do in 2009 alone.

When you've got a retail behemoth like that, it only makes sense to keep it thriving and growing. To that end, we get The Princess and the Frog. Opening in New York and Los Angeles on Thanksgiving Eve and the rest of the nation sixteen days later, Princess has already been in the news for years for promising to give mankind the first black princess in an animated Disney film (besides Atlantis' Kida, anyway). Many eyes will track the film's performance, because it could have a tremendous effect on the future of motion pictures, especially at Disney. Not because the princess is black as much as that her film is being made in a manner similar to past Disney fairy tales, in traditional 2D animation with singing characters and the direction of The Little Mermaid and Aladdin's helmers, John Musker and Ron Clements.

I guess there is some uncertainty as to how the film will be received. With the exception of The Simpsons Movie, hand-drawn animation has not fared especially well with the public since 1999's Tarzan. For a while now, there has been Internet clamor of perceived racism over everything from the prince's skin color and the New Orleans Jazz Age setting to the heroine's name and the film's title. (Discouragingly, the latter two were reportedly changed in response to voiced concerns.) But, between Disney's marketing genius, 21st century girls' love of princesses, and the holiday season's usual moviegoing activity, the question is more like "Will The Princess and the Frog be a hit or a really big hit?"

Villainous voodooist Dr. Facilier is one of three characters discussed in the exclusive sneak peek of "The Princess and the Frog." Cinderella's "Happiness Was Made to Share" music video uses the small screen montage effect. Mulan sings "Working for a Dream", a short song apparently intended for her unrealized Disney Princess Enchanted Tales volume.

The marketing genius is already in motion more than three months before nationwide release. On September 8th, Disney will reissue Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams. The first volume of what was supposed to be an ongoing series, this 2007 release is revisited solely to support Princess and the Frog. The disc is identical to the one that debuted two years ago. But now, it is joined by a Bonus Disc. A prominent sticker on the DVD's slipcover proclaims this news with pictures of Princess Tiana and her frog prince. The bonus disc vows to serve up an exclusive peek of The Princess and the Frog months before its opening day.

And so it does. The piece features enthusiastic comments from John Lasseter, directors Clements and Musker, and a host of employed animators, including familiar faces like Andreas Deja, Mark Henn, and Eric Goldberg. All express excitement at Disney's return to its cornerstone legacy,
hand-drawn animated fairy tales, and confidence that Princess and the Frog will comfortably join the studio's canon of timeless classics. Finished and unfinished short clips and song excerpts not seen in the movie's full trailer (which, strangely, isn't also included) appear here, as the story, leading characters (Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen, and the villainous voodooist Dr. Facilier), setting, and Randy Newman music are described/hyped. It runs just 4 minutes and 35 seconds long.

The bonus disc also includes music videos for two songs presumably crafted for Honest and True, the unrealized Cinderella/Mulan Disney Princess Enchanted Tales DVD. With backup from mice Gus and Jaq, Cinderella sings "Happiness Was Made to Share" (1:52) over clips pulled from Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time. Shorter but better, Mulan's Asian-flavored "Working for a Dream" (1:27) plays over Mulan II scenes.

And this concludes the bonus disc, a lightweight platter that aims at older viewers with a sneak peek emphasizing Disney tradition and technique before throwing a couple of puff piece songs at young'uns.

Because I'm feeling generous, I decided I'd provide a second take on the original/primary attraction here rather than just reprinting or condensing Renata Joy's insightful 2007 review.

omg aurora used teh magic wand and it turned her outfit gold lolz Princess Jasmine decides she's "More Than a Peacock Princess", an epiphany that upsets her portrait painter's work.

Follow Your Dreams changed the modus operandi of the Disney Princess DVD line. Prior to it, whether "Sing-Along Songs", "Stories", "Party", or "Christmas" followed "Disney Princess" in the title, you could expect the contents of a pink keepcase to offer an economic recycling of something, such as unextraordinary episodes of 1990s television series, segmented direct-to-video tripe, random old cartoon shorts, or, most benignly, musical numbers from classic films covered with colorful song lyrics.
Get 4 Disney Movies for $1.99 Each, Free Shipping!
Get 7 FREE gifts from Disney Princess! Disney Checks, Labels, Covers
After two and a half years of such practices, a glimmer of hope emerged with the much-trumpeted Enchanted Tales line and its promise to deliver all-new musical animated stories featuring those famous leading ladies of Disney.

This debut installment consists of two 25-minute stories, each returning to one of the eight nine official Disney princesses' film universe.

"Keys to the Kingdom" takes us back to the world of Sleeping Beauty. With her parents, her prince and his family away at a royal conference, Aurora finds herself entirely in charge of the castle. Burdened with reading/signing papers and hearing her subjects' concerns, the princess vows to persevere with hard work. But, there is the wand that Merryweather secretly lent her. Need it be said that Aurora grows so reliant upon magic shortcuts as to make a royal mess?

Next up is "More Than a Peacock Princess", adapted from Disney's Aladdin. With Aladdin out of town, Princess Jasmine has lots to do, but cutting ribbons and posing for portraits doesn't provide fulfillment. The Sultan assigns her to take over teaching her cousin's unruly young school class. But Jasmine's chances to shine comes when she is determined to solve the mystery of how the horse Sahara escaped on the watch of her young friend Hakeem (the closest we get to seeing Aladdin). With help from Abu and Iago and her chambermaid distracting her father back home, Jasmine searches high and low for the missing stallion and even dares to ride the wild beast as only her mother could.

Princess Aurora learns that royal subjects' concerns can be kind of a bummer. In search of a missing horse, Jasmine and Abu take a magic carpet ride with Iago flying nearby.

As has come to be expected of the Disney Princess brand, these shorts do not play to as wide an audience as the esteemed films that introduced these characters. They skew young, they skew female, and they skew undiscerning. The cartoons seem designed to morally educate as much as to entertain.

Production values are higher than what they were on the studio's swiftly-produced '90s TV series and earliest, most scolded direct-to-video sequels. The smooth animation actually looks pretty good and compares to Disney's last few sequels in visual polish. One notices at least some aspirations to match the look of the original films.
Unsurprisingly, such efforts are better realized on Jasmine's story, which only 15 years separate from Aladdin. Aurora's short doesn't get very close to her 1959 classic's uniquely wide and artistic stylings, instead feeding them through the company's sterile 21st century DTV filter.

While any given frame pulled from this program will look okay, the aural equivalent is not guaranteed to be true of any soundtrack excerpt. The latter proves to be a greater offense than the former is an asset. The biggest problem lies in the character of Aurora, whose treatment here is the least faithful to prior appearance. Stately and operatic (if thinly drawn) on film, she has been updated in voice and personality to modern ditz. Maybe that's more identifiable for today's girls, but it sours the pleasure to be gained from seeing her fully animated again for the first time in nearly fifty years. Strangely, the other characters from her universe -- squabbling fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, noble Prince Phillip, goofy kings Hubert and Stefan -- stay fairly true to their past selves. I hope the star's original demeanor wasn't too much of a killjoy for young people discovering her film on last year's widely-promoted Platinum Edition.

Jasmine hasn't gotten as extreme a makeover, but anyone looking can also find evidence of dumbing down both her and her kingdom. From just the introductions and conclusions, in which the princesses giggly and directly address the viewer, it is clear that Disney is not simply returning to these rich, beloved worlds to tell exciting new stories. No, they're talking down to kids and parents, whose money they've taken outweighs the product they've got in exchange.

VIDEO and AUDIO

Enchanted Tales meets every expectation in terms of DVD picture and sound quality. The 1.78:1 widescreen transfer is as spotless, sharp, and vibrant as it should be. The Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is surprisingly active and directional, as effects and dialogue are regularly spread across the rear channels in a sensible fashion. Viewers watching this on a home theater system are sure to appreciate the effort, as I did.

I thought Aurora would look nice in this blue dress, but apparently that's not appropriate princess attire. Where's my Sahara? That water spill could hold a clue. That look in Belle's eyes is genuine compassion for Chip the teacup. Or maybe it's just her wishing Haley Joel Osment still did his voice.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS and PACKAGING

Two of Enchanted Tales' three extras earn Game Time classification.
Aurora Prestige Child Costume Aladdin Jasmine Deluxe Adult Costume
Cinderella Infant Costume The Incredibles - Violet Child Costume
Storybook Snow White Prestige Child/Toddler Costume Disney Pocahontas Deluxe Child Costume
More Disney character costumes
First is "Aurora Dress Up", which asks you to put together an outfit (dress, necklace, shoes, headwear) for the princess' banquet. Creativity is supposedly welcomed, but then stifled if you want Aurora to have a sense of humor and look a little silly.

The second game, "Find Sahara", lets players try to locate Jasmine's horse by following tracks and finding clues in different environments. Moderately stimulating and unique enough for set-top fare, the activity varies on return visits based on where you opt to start.

Under the Music Time heading, we get a music video for "You'll Never Lose This Love" (2:04), a song and fully-animated sequence intended to be part of the apparently-scrapped Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Kingdom of Kindness DVD. Belle sings the forgettable ballad to Chip, who apparently had run away. Mrs. Potts takes over, then the two ladies duet to mark this joyous reunion.

Although the DVD is equipped with FastPlay, you're automatically taken to the main menu following an elaborate computer-animated castle entrance. The menus maintain the look of an ornate classic storybook. After the obligatory copyright messages, the bonus disc simply loads its plain main menu, which matches the feature disc in style and music, but lacks animation or any noticeable flourishes.

The disc's dated sneak peeks promote The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition, Enchanted, My Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Sleuth Christmas Movie, and Little Einsteins: Race for Space. Menu promos advertise Meet the Robinsons, Tinker Bell, High School Musical 2, the finished-looking but thus-unrealized Mulan/Cinderella Disney Princess Enchanted Tales DVD, and Disney Parks.

Inside the slipcovered keepcase is a chapter insert/contents index, a booklet for a long-expired Enchanted Tales sweepstakes, and another booklet primarily advertising Disney Princess merchandise. If you already own this DVD and planned on buying it again to keep the bonus disc and then sell the sealed copy, your plans will need to be slightly altered. Because the thin paper sleeve holding the bonus disc is shrinkwrapped alongside the DVD, with one of those mucousy adhesive circles holding them together.

The kings, the fairies, the duke, and Aurora all share a laugh at a Prince Phillip comment in the happy end to "Keys to the Kingdom." Jasmine waves goodbye at the end of her story. And the end of the Enchanted Tales line?

CLOSING THOUGHTS

In retrospect, perhaps it was unreasonable to expect genuine effort and originality from a brand that had steered clear of such things at every prior opportunity.
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams does provide a modicum in fun in that it lets us see these winning characters again and more of their lives. But in contrast to the excitement and entertainment of their big screen outings, their lives here are a bit boring and didactic. Girls who love these royals could do worse than watch this, but everyone else would be better to just revisit the films that made these characters famous.

If you've given thought to buying a second copy of Disney Princess Enchanted Tales for the 8-minute bonus disc, that is one thought too many. Even re-selling your copy in anticipation requires more effort than the featherweight add-on deserves. The Princess and the Frog preview is a nice little bonus but barely worth putting the disc in for. And it even comes at a cost; the DVD's list price is now $3 higher than what it was two years and the old disc has been completely discontinued (you know Disney means business when the original release's record has altogether vanished from Amazon).

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

Buy from Amazon.com

Related Reviews:
The Princess and the Frog (Blu-ray & DVD)
New: Pooh's Heffalump Halloween: Gift Set Earth (Disneynature) Thomas & Friends: Hero of the Rails Pete's Dragon (High-Flying Edition)
2007 Disney Films: Enchanted Meet the Robinsons Ratatouille National Treasure: Book of Secrets Underdog
Sleeping Beauty (Platinum Edition) Aladdin (Platinum Edition) The Return of Jafar & Aladdin and the King of Thieves
Tinker Bell The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning Space Buddies Cinderella III: A Twist in Time
Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams (Original Review)
Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment Disney DVD Game World: Disney Princess Edition
Disney Princess Stories: Volume 1 - A Gift from the Heart Disney Princess Stories: Volume 2 - Tales of Friendship
Disney Princess Stories: Volume 3 - Beauty Shines from Within Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Volume 1 - Once Upon a Dream
Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Volume 2 - Enchanted Tea Party Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Volume 3 - Perfectly Princess

Back to School - 468x60

UltimateDisney.com | DVD and Blu-ray Reviews | Release Schedule | Upcoming Disney DVDs | Disney's Direct-to-Video Movies | Search This Site

Search This Site:

UltimateDisney.com/DVDizzy.com Top Stories:

Reviewed September 2, 2009.