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DISNEY'S UPCOMING SPECIAL EDITION DVDS
We've heard about some of these DVDs for years, and now they're finally coming. Alice in Wonderland, Mulan, and Mary Poppins were reissued last year, and two-disc Special Edition DVDs of Lilo & Stitch, and Pocahontas are due in the upcoming months of 2005.
Here's a look at what we can hope and expect from these highly-anticipated re-releases on Disney's upcoming DVD slate.
The two-disc Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition will arrive on May 3, 2005. Preorder Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition from Amazon.com. (30% off) Read our Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary DVD review.
Pocahontas - The original Gold Collection DVD release for this much-maligned but financial succesful feature met with large complaints over picture quality, and rightfully so. Even for a non-anamorphic laserdisc transfer port, Disney's 33rd animated classic disappointed, with video that made it hard to believe the feature was less than a decade old.
This special edition re-release will correct that with a brand new 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. For playback of the movie, this 2-disc set offers two options: the original theatrical cut or a special edition which fully restores the unused song "If I Never Knew You."
Bonus features will include a Filmmakers' Audio Commentary (on the extended cut), "The Making of Pocahontas" documentary, an Early Presentation Reel with Introduction and Commentary, Storyboard-to-Film Comparison with Introduction and Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Production and Design Galleries, Abandonded Concepts, "The Making of 'If I Never Knew You'" featurette, a featurette on the Central Park premiere, Animation Tests, Character Animation Featurettes, a Production Progression Reel, Music Featurette, a Multi-Language Clip Reel, two theatrical trailers, music videos of "Colors of the Wind" (performed by Vanessa Williams) and "If I Never Knew You" (performed by Jon Secada and Shanice), Sing Alongs of "Just Around the Riverbend" and "Colors of the Wind", the set-top game "Follow Your Heart", and 2 Disney's Art Projects "Build a Drum" and "Create a Dreamcatcher."
Click here to preorder Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition from Amazon.com. Click here to read our Pocahontas: 10th Anniversary Edition DVD review with screencaps.
The 10th Anniversary Edition ports over most of the deluxe laserdisc supplements that were left off of the first DVD. On the Pocahontas laserdisc, there was a highly-praised audio commentary, a making-of documentary with location footage, highlights of the film's premiere in Central Park, a multi-language reel of "Colors of the Wind", and interviews from the filmmakers. In addition, there was extensive galleries of character designs, concept art, abandoned concepts. To round out the set, there were trailers and promotional materials, storyboards, storyboard-to-film comparisons, and two semi-completed deleted scenes with the musical number "If I Never Knew You." The laserdisc's box also contained an artist's portfolio and the book "The Art of Pocahontas", are not included in some form.
Lilo & Stitch - Originally intended to have dual DVD releases like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Lilo got the short-thrifted by a new management mandate enforcing a single-disc release. The result was a single-disc release with more supplements than most single-discs, but far short of a 2-disc Collector's Edition. An audio commentary was supposedly recorded, and the terrific but short fly-on-the-wall documentary that appears on the current Lilo & Stitch DVD was surely trimmed down from a more significant running time. (Heck, even the A*Teens music video was trimmed down to 1 minute.)
In America, the double-disc Lilo & Stitch re-release is expected in the fall of 2005 to coincide with the release of the direct-to-video sequel Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch (which arrives right before, August 30, 2005). Overseas, in France, Italy, and Australia, a 2-disc Special Edition was released last fall (2004)! The specs for these international DVDs appear below.
The new, previously unreleased bonus features will include:
Audio commentary Full-length documentary, "The Making of Lilo & Stitch" with scene selections and notes 2 Animator Conversations:
"Andres Deja discusses Lilo" and "Alex Kupershmidt discusses Stitch" Deleted scenes & Early Concepts Chris Sanders' Photo gallery 2 new music videos: "Your Ohana", "Suspicious Minds" by Gareth Gates The Style Book of Chris Sanders The Story of Stitch A Conversation with Joe Grant and Dean DeBlois Ric Sluiter Interviews Maurice Noble Dean DeBlois pitches a New Sequence
Mulan: "Mulan's Decision" Dumbo: "The Train Arrives"
In addition, the Italian Special Edition will include most of the previous DVD's bonus features:
music videos: "Burning Love" with Wynonna, "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" performed by the A*Teens Disneypedia: Hawaii "A Stitch in Time" "Animating the Hula" "How-To-Hula Lesson" Theatrical Teasers and Trailers "Gantu's Challenge" Game
On December 14, 2004, Disney will release the highly-anticipated 2-disc 40th Anniversary Edition of their only live-action film to garner a Best Picture Oscar nomination - 1964's Mary Poppins.
Click here to read our review of Mary Poppins 40th Anniversary Edition.
The film has been given a digital remastering, and will be presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen and an Enhanced Home Theater Mix in Dolby Digital 5.1. Highlights of this 2-disc set include an audio commentary with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, and co-composer Richard Sherman, a 50-minute making-of documentary, a deleted song called "Chimpanzoo", and a new animated short based on another tale by P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins.
The Film: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1 (Disney's Enhanced Home Theater Mix), Dolby Digital 2.0 (Original Theatrical and Enhanced Mixes), Spanish and French 5.1 tracks
Disc 1: Audio commentary with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Richard Sherman, and Karen Dotrice, Poppins Pop-Up Fun Facts, Disney's song selection
Disc 2: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins", new animated short "The Cat That Looked at a King" (based on P.L. Travers story, done chalk-drawing style), "A Magical Musical Reunion", "A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman", "I Love to Laugh" game, "Movie Magic" featurette, Gala World Premiere featurette, deleted song "Chimpanzoo", 2 scene deconstructions, galleries, trailers & TV spots, Dick Van Dyke make-up test
For the full list of bonus features and specifications for Mary Poppins: 40th Anniversary Edition, check out the press release.
Original expectations paragraphs: Julie Andrews, in her film debut, won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in the title role, and the film remains captivating even with its 140-minute runtime. August marked the 40th anniversary of this musical comedy, and the Special Edition may be in line with the double-disc Vault Disney line, which in all fairness includes last May's "Special Edition" sets of The Love Bug and 20,000 Leagues. The people who performed digital restorations for Snow White and Pinocchio have also worked on this, so expect a new and improved (THX-certified) 16x9 transfer. (There's less room for improvement on the already-potent 5.1 Dolby Digital track, which makes more use of surround speakers than the 5.1 remixes of other '60s live-action films have.)
The Gold Collection DVD's release did have a few nice bonus features, including the 16-minute "Making of Mary Poppins" and 10-minute "Hollywood Goes to a Premiere" featurettes. (Unfortunately, these were not carried over.) The deluxe Archive Edition laserdisc apparently had even more supplements which were not carried over. There is no word yet as to whether Glynis Johns and Karen Dotrice (who played young Jane Banks and attended a 30th anniversary reunion special in 1994) were consulted for the comprehensive extras.
Click here to read our review of Mulan Special Edition.
The Film: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, Dolby Digital 5.1, THX-Certified, New Digital Transfer; Spanish, French, and Mandarin Audio
Disc 1: Deleted Scenes including Alternate Openings, Audio Commentary, "Keep 'Em Guessing" never-before-heard deleted song, DisneyPedia: "Mulan's World", Music Videos: all-new Ill Make A Man Out Of You by Jackie Chan, "Reflection" by Christina Aguilera, "True to Your Heart" by 98º and Stevie Wonder, Mulan Fun Facts trivia track
Disc 2: The Journey Begins: Discovering Mulan, The Ballad of Hua Mulan, Early Presentation & Progression Reels; Story Artists Journey: Finding Mulan, Storyboard to Film Comparisons; Design: Art, character, and color designs, Still Art Galleries, character design galleries; Production: production demonstrations, Digital Dim Sum, Digital production; Music: "Reflection" music video in Spanish, Songs of Mulan; International Mulan: Mulan's International Journey, Multi-Language Reel, Publicity Art Gallery
Mulan Special Edition DVD Review
Mulan Special Edition DVD Press Release
Preview of Mulan Special Edition DVD Bonus Features
Preview of Mulan Special Edition DVD Menus
Alice in Wonderland: The Masterpiece Edition - Already released. Review / Preview / deleted song "I'm Odd" bonus feature / Menus / Order from Amazon.com
Original expectation paragraph: The collector's laserdisc set contained storyboards, demos of over 20 deleted songs, the TV special "One Hour in Wonderland" hosted by Walt featuring clips from Snow White and Song of the South, trailers and character designs. The only thing that made the Gold Collection DVD from the laserdisc was the 11-minute featurette "Operation Wonderland." In addition, the laserdisc had an isolated music-and-effects soundtrack option.
(The insert in Sleeping Beauty (September 2003) that confirmed three of these were coming.)
As always, you can count on UltimateDisney.com to be first in bringing you the announcements, disc contents, and artwork. After all, this isn't the Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD for nothing, is it?