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FEBRUARY 1-15, 2006: NEWS ARCHIVES
See Upcoming Schedule for the latest announcements. / Tuesday's New Release Chart
February 15, 2006 - Thirteen menus from the two discs of Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition have been posted here.
We've gotten in our review copy of Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition (and it is clearly labeled as such, despite different artwork sent to e-tailers). Among the Disney DVD news it bears is that the fall's two-disc The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition will offer "behind the scenes, all-new games, secrets and more" (who'd have guessed?!), the upcoming Chicken Little will contain at least one Easter Egg (access instructions are offered), and June's Dumbo: Special Edition will include (not unlike the 60th Anniversary Edition) "an all-new rendition of 'Baby Mine,' sing along songs, two bonus cartoons, and much more." In addition, 2001 direct-to-video sequel Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure will be revisited as a Special Edition DVD this fall with such hard-hitting bonus features as an "all-new game and a new music video."
"Gargoyles" creator/producer Greg Weisman has passed along the news that lower sales of the '90s cartoon series' Season Two, Volume One DVD release are "putting the release of Season Two, Volume Two at risk." If this news troubles you or if you're simply curious to learn more about last December's 3-disc set, you can check out our review or order through Amazon.com.
Speaking of Amazon, through this Friday only, they are offering an instant $7 savings on the praiseworthy, already heavily-discounted Season 1 DVDs of the newly-released "Grey's Anatomy" (Review) and its ABC Sunday night cousin "Desperate Housewives" (Review) when the pair is purchased together.
Online retail sources are showing two volumes of something called Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun arriving on DVD from Buena Vista Home Entertainment on May 16, 2006. What will be on them? We don't know, but their reported retail price of $14.99 each suggest not too much. We'll let you know when we hear more.
Also, BVHE recently announced for that same day DVD unrated extended re-releases of Con Air, Crimson Tide, and Enemy of the State. What do those three films have in common? Each was a box office hit last decade and was executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. Could Walt Disney Pictures' Bruckheimer-produced Glory Road be headed to DVD the same day? A 4-month theater-to-DVD window has been the norm for Disney's live action films lately. Meanwhile, if you'd prefer the football version to basketball, don't forget that Remember the Titans: Director's Cut is just four weeks away.
Having already undergone two release date changes, golf drama The Greatest Game Ever Played has now endured a cover art change, which moves it away from The Rookie and closer to...Robocop or something like that. See both covers here. The DVD is still scheduled to arrive on April 11th, marking a longer than usual 6½-month theaters-to-DVD release window.
Thanks to LighthouseNews.us, we're happy to bring you a look at the cover artwork planned for this October's 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD, The Little Mermaid. They inform us that the scan stems from the Disney Insider booklet found inside the forthcoming Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition re-release. View The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition DVD cover.
February 14, 2006 - The Swedes call today "All Hearts Day" and to satisfy them, we now have posted a review of Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, Disney's thoroughly engaging 1991 live action drama. Based on a true story, it tells of an adolescent orphan runaway girl who becomes a part of a circus horse diving act during the Great Depression. Though many think highly of the film, its studio would appear not to, bestowing upon it not a commemorative fifteenth anniversary edition, but merely an overdue, barren disc that lacks even the 16x9 transfer offered in other parts of the world where it came to DVD sooner. Read on.
Today brings a new season DVD of "The Golden Girls", and that wouldn't feel right without a detailed review of the 3-disc set from Aaron Wallace. He explains to us that "The Golden Girls": The Complete Fourth Season is the Touchstone sitcom's best to be made available, with a collection of episodes on which he can't muster a complaint. While that can't yet be said for Buena Vista's DVD presentation, again offering decent picture/sound and one lackluster bonus feature (a countdown of Season 4's top ten guest stars), spring's soon-approaching Season 5 release should ring in change as far as supplements go. Read the full review.
Of special relevance today (Valentine's Day) is the fourth installment of Aaron's podcast Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Pod which ponders Disney's ten greatest romances and honors other memorable couples in the studio's canon with one snazzy audio montage. Be sure to download it and if you like what you hear, to subscribe via AaronsPod.com.
||Tuesday's New Releases
February 13, 2006 - Disney has made available a 2¼-minute clip (QT, 24 MB) from forthcoming remake The Shaggy Dog, featuring a parent-teacher conference gone awry.
UD's fifteenth contest ended over the weekend and a winner has been randomly chosen from valid entries to receive a sold out Fozzie Bear Bust from Sideshow Collectibles. To see the correct trivia question answers and to find out if you're the lucky person, visit Contest #15: Fozzie Bear Bust.
February 12, 2006 - Our newest DVD review looks at "Quack Pack" Volume 1, a random 3-episode compilation bound to disappoint casual and diehard fans alike. The 1996 series lends itself more to the former, with Donald Duck's three nephews unappealingly reworked for adolescence and a slapstick comedy approach lacking the memorable writing that enveloped Huey, Dewey, and Louie in their earlier "DuckTales" adventures. Read the full review.
February 10, 2006 - Our newest DVD review looks at "Grey's Anatomy": Season One, the youngest of four television shows Disney is releasing to DVD next week. Despite offering little variation on "E.R."-type hospital dramas, "Grey's" became yet another hour-long hit for the studio's ABC and Touchstone Television branches when it turned up late last season. Though it certainly doesn't break ground, the series succeeds with involving stories and compelling characters, making it easy to see why an ardent fanbase quickly developed. The two-disc DVD merits praise for its 16x9-enhanced widescreen/5.1-channel Dolby presentation, a modest but satisfying collection of bonus features, and a reasonable list price which makes last spring's nine-episode run available at the price of a much shorter single movie.
February 9, 2006 - Many animation fans know the story of how Walt Disney's first star cartoon character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was taken away from him by a distributor named Charles Mintz. Nearly eighty years after that shrewd act led Walt to Mickey Mouse, Oswald is heading to the studio bearing Walt's name. The Walt Disney Company has opted to let ABC's Monday Night Football announcer Al Michaels join NBC's squad of Sunday Night NFL sportcasters in exchange for expanded highlight footage from the Olympics, coverage of the next four Ryder Cup golf tournaments, and complete rights to the character Walt created in 1927. Oswald appeared in 26 animated shorts during Walt's two years in the helm, and over 165 more in the years after Walt set off on his own, most under the guidance of Walter Lantz (of Woody Woodpecker fame). The San Jose Mercury News reports that an Oswald DVD release by Disney is likely.
We've updated the Chicken Little DVD press release with three images from the March 21st disc's bonus features depicting an original opening called "Chicken Little Storybook" and the interactive set-top trivia game "Where's Fish?" Click here to view them.
While it probably couldn't be more vague, Disney's official announcement of "The Golden Girls": The Complete Fifth Season confirms that the 3-disc set will contain audio commentaries by not just Betty White (as earlier reported), but Rue McClanahan and the legendary Bea Arthur as well. Season 5 also includes a guest appearance by Dick Van Dyke. See the press release here.
Aaron Wallace has a favorable review of Stanley's Dinosaur Round-Up, the Playhouse Disney character's first movie which debuted on DVD last month. A snazzy soundtrack, involving adventure, and a balanced presentation of lessons all help make this outing "something that can be immensely enjoyed by youngsters and more than just tolerable to parents at the same time." Read the full review.
February 8, 2006 - Disney has issued the much-anticipated press release for the April 4th DVDs of the blockbuster fantasy adaptation The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. This announcement confirms much of what was reported over the last few weeks, namely that you'll have your choice between a standard-priced single-disc edition (in widescreen or fullscreen); a two-disc Collector's Edition boasting nearly ten hours of bonus content, collectible art, and special wardrobe packaging; and a UMD containing merely the movie and bloopers. All DVD versions will offer two feature-length audio commentaries, a pop-up fun fact subtitle track, and outtakes. See the full press release for more information on everything pertaining to Narnia's DVD releases.
In a related story, many were intrigued or disenchanted by a column in last Friday's USA Today in which Wardrobe director Andrew Adamson was credited as saying that a DVD with an extended version of the film is also in the works. This, the first news of a potentially longer cut of Wardrobe, will not be among the releases offered this spring. We checked with Buena Vista Home Entertainment and discovered that while Adamson might have these ambitious plans somewhere down the road, no such DVD is currently in the works.
Disney has also issued a fact sheet for the May 9th DVD release, "Scrubs": The Complete Third Season.
Inspired by the poster art for Disney's upcoming Tim Allen remake The Shaggy Dog, Photoshoppers around the globe have submitted artwork depicting celebrities as canines. If you ever wondered what kind of dalmatian Elijah Wood would make, how Mr. T would look as a chihuahua, or what happens when you cross Sean Connery with a Scottish Terrier, check out Worth1000.com for these and countless other creations in the website's "Shaggified Celebrities" contest.
February 7, 2006 - Though there's been an oh-so-brief lull, our reviewers are truly hard at work to bring you thorough coverage of all Disney's new and upcoming DVD releases. Today's critique looks at Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Volume 3 - Perfectly Princess, which employs the same formula of movie excerpts and girl-oriented design but lacks stature in its songlist, relying on tunes from six direct-to-video sequels, a cartoon TV series, and Miramax's Ella Enchanted to complement four classic numbers. That fact and a diminishing menu of bonuses introduce reservations to the one Disney Princess subseries that has garnered recommendations in the past. Read the full review.
Like it has increasingly been doing for other high profile theatrical-to-DVD releases, e-tailer Amazon.com has treated Chicken Little to a 47% off preorder discount, making the G-rated CGI comedy just $15.98.
Disney has released "Broken Ice", a 4-minute, 40-second clip from upcoming arctic adventure Eight Below, which illustrates the resourcefulness of Paul Walker and snow dogs in widescreen. Click here to view or save the clip (QuickTime, 96 MB). Click here to read more on the film, which opens in theaters on February 17th.
February 6, 2006 - With the newly-announced volume Disney Princess Fairy Tales, the studio is taking its profitable Disney Princess DVD line and moving it in a new direction, one involving originality. Princess Fairy Tales will contain two all-new animated stories featuring Beauty and the Beast's Belle and Sleeping Beauty's Aurora. Each story on the disc, due early September, will offer new songs. Via a preview on Disney Princess Sing Along Songs: Volume 3, we have six screencaps of "Promises, Promises", a new installment in which Aurora plans a surprise birthday party for Prince Phillip. You can view those via our Upcoming Schedule entry.
Last Thursday, Disney hosted special festivities at the studio's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for the opening night of a two-week engagement of a digitally-restored print of Lady and the Tramp that preludes the Platinum Edition DVD being released at the end of the month. Before the screening, there was a discussion panel hosted by animation historian John Canemaker and a live appearance by Minnie and Mickey Mouse. UD's "Pluto Region1" was there and she has put together a report on the evening's activities complete with four photographs. This has been added to the forthcoming DVD's Press Release page and can be viewed here.
February 4, 2006 - High-res poster art has just been added to our theatrical preview of The Wild.
February 3, 2006 - As many look forward to the April 4th DVD release of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Disney and Walden have officially announced the commencement of pre-production on its sequel, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Adapted from C.S. Lewis's 1951 book, Caspian will chart the Pevensie siblings' return to the magical world of Narnia, where a thousand years have passed since they left. The press release, which makes note of Wardrobe's phenomenal box office success, also makes clear that director Andrew Adamson and "most of the principal cast" will reunite for this follow-up, which is aiming for a Christmas 2007 theatrical release.
Amazon.com has just made The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe available for preorder in both its Special Two-Disc Collector's Edition and single-disc Widescreen Edition. We've got an exclusive look at the inside packaging and contents of the Two-Disc Collector's Edition, which reveals the booklet, the disc art, concept art, and the wardrobe itself. Check it out here and prepare to drool.
February 2, 2006 - This upcoming weekend brings Super Bowl Sunday, a perfect opportunity for Disney to promote their March theatrical release The Shaggy Dog to millions of people. They have capitalized on that, but you don't have to wait until Sunday to see the Chris Berman-hosted, 30-second TV spot. Simply click here to view or save (QuickTime, 5.7 MB). The odds of that appearing on the film's inevitable summer DVD release are slim. Meanwhile, Disney is choosing a longer but less expensive way to get the word out on February release Eight Below. On Friday, February 16th, the arctic drama's star Paul Walker will appear on the cable movie channel Starz Kids & Family to introduce exclusive footage and trailers, beginning with the 20-minute program "On the Set: Eight Below" and continuing throughout the night of "cold-climate flicks" Into Thin Air: Death on Everest, Alaska, and The Snow Walker (no relation to Paul).
It's Groundhog Day and for the fourth day in a row, we have a new DVD review for you to read. Aaron Wallace looks at "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" - The Most Inspiring & Unforgettable Makeovers from Season 1, a 2-disc set that Buena Vista released last fall. That long-winded title is the studio's way of saying that only nine of the premiere season's fourteen episodes have been included. Other than that curious decision, the DVD presentation is excellent, with several satisfactory bonus features and great audio/video quality. In its earliest days, however, the show itself is nasty or combative as often as it is inspiring. Read the full review.
|January's Top Sellers on UltimateDisney.com
February 1, 2006 - The subject of today's new DVD review is "Goof Troop" Volume 1. This thorough critique should answer every question and address every concern that you may have about this forthcoming 3-episode compilation and the 1992 cartoon series it features. What more could you want? Oh yeah, screencaps. Read on...
Continuing a string of special Disney broadcasts, the cable movie channel Starz Kids & Family will air an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the making of Bambi II this afternoon at 3:50 PM (Eastern/Pacific). The G-rated midquel will be released to DVD in six days, as Disney's most-previewed direct-to-video film to date.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• Bambi II - Takes great strides to stay true to its predecessor, but winds up mostly feeling like an unnecessary and inferior retread. The DVD delivers excellent picture and sound, an interesting trivia subtitle track, two how-to-draw Thumper features, an unexciting game, and a brief making-of featurette.
• Once Upon a Mattress - With interesting characters, an apt irreverent tone, and plenty of average music, the Wonderful World of Disney's adaptation of the widely-performed musical is certainly diverting but not especially memorable. While the movie may disappoint or surprise you based on expectations, the modestly-priced disc satisfies with a handful of bonuses and a top-notch feature presentation.
• Funny Factory with Donald (Volume 2) - A cheap alternative to the Treasures, though at a greater cost per short, this disc holds seven vintage cartoons starring the irascible duck. The hour of great entertainment should satisfy casual fans, but five of the shorts are easily obtainable via the Treasures.
• My Dog, The Thief - 1969 made-for-TV movie is not treated to the most commendable DVD presentation, but it's worth checking out for fans of the time-tested Disney live action comedy mold and worth celebrating as one of the studio's few telemovies to land on disc.
Recent Touchstone DVD Reviews:
• Dead Poets Society: Special Edition - Inspiring and uplifting 1989 drama errs only in spots and more than redeems itself. It is worth seeing and even worth owning in this upgrade which provides a good transfer, two great extras, and three fairly decent ones.
• "Lost": The Complete First Season - Touchstone's popular and distinguished hourlong drama is treated to a 7-disc set which leaves little room for complaint with an excellent layout, a wealth of extras, and a universally appealing show which keeps its audience guessing but rewards observant viewers at the same time.
• Dark Water - This thriller understandably bears striking similarities to The Ring - they both spawned from the same Japanese author. Though its ending is weak, the rest holds you in near-constant suspense thanks to a solid story and acting. The widescreen DVD requires settling for an "unrated version" running 2 minutes shorter than the theatrical cut, but at least boasts top-notch picture/sound plus nearly an hour's worth of featurettes.
• Flightplan - An airborne whodunit in which the answer may well be nobody, this suspense film gets decent mileage out of its unique concept, but ultimately delivers less than promised. The disc, with exemplary picture and sound, a fine commentary, and two production featurettes, merits a single viewing.
• Good Morning, Vietnam: Special Edition - One of Touchstone's first blockbusters, this dramedy certified Robin Williams as a viable leading man. Though not as fresh and funny on subsequent viewings, it holds up as a unique, entertaining an atypical Vietnam story. The disc touts a 35-minute retrospective, a raw look at Williams' improv rants, 2 trailers, and a superior 16x9-enhanced transfer, making it worth an upgrade.
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