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APRIL 1-15, 2007: NEWS ARCHIVES
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April 15, 2007 - Amazon.com has made Bridge to Terabithia: Widescreen Edition available for preorder at 30% off its list price. Disney/Walden's warmly-received family drama crosses over to DVD on June 19th.
April 13, 2007 - Our latest review looks at The Queen, the highly-decorated Miramax film which comes to DVD later this month. This drama stars Oscar winner Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II and Michael Sheen as Prime Minister Tony Blair, two very different leaders with opposing responses to Princess Diana's death in 1997. Involving human drama, a clever script, and convincing realism all contribute to a film with merits well beyond its excellent cast. The DVD includes an interview-based featurette and separate filmmaker and historian audio commentaries. Click here for the full review.
Disney has formally announced the DVD release of High School Musical: The Concert - Extreme Access Pass, an hour-long presentation of the nationwide tour spawned by the record-shattering 2006 telemovie. The disc launches the Disney Channel's new D*Concert series. See the press release for more information.
Want to attend the world premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End next month at Disneyland? You can... for the price of $1,500 per person. Tickets are now available online; all earnings go directly to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Admission also includes complimentary parking, access to six Disneyland attractions and a private pre-screening buffet/party, reserved seats in the outdoor amphitheatre, popcorn, and a soft drink.
Adhering to the long-established calendar, Disney has announced that Baby Einstein: Discovering Shapes, the 24th volume in the best-selling tot franchise, will come to DVD on July 24th.
Disney has scheduled a June 19th DVD and Blu-ray Disc release for Bridge to Terabithia. The PG-rated, Walden co-produced adaptation of Katherine Paterson's popular novel will be joined by the featurettes "Digital Imagination: Bringing Terabithia to Life" and "Behind the Book: The Themes of Bridge to Terabithia" and star AnnaSophia Robb's "Keep Your Mind Wide Open" music video. The film will be presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and sold in separate widescreen and fullscreen DVD versions. Carrying a list price $5 above the DVD, the Blu-ray disc will hold all the standard DVD features but no exclusive extras. Click here for cover art.
April 12, 2007 - After two days under lockdown, UltimateDisney.com's forum has been reopened and without the sluggishness that has plagued this site in recent days. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Enjoy the new server!
Disney has issued a press release for Hannah Montana: Pop Star Profile. The announcement reveals that the June 26th DVD will hold four Season One episodes which all center on the budding relationship between Miley and famous TV actor Jake Ryan. The disc will also include a concert performance of "Nobody's Perfect" and the featurette "The Real Miley Cyrus." See the full press release for more information.
April 7, 2007 - Our brand new review takes an early look at this month's lone Touchstone DVD release. Deja Vu stars Denzel Washington as a New Orleans ATF agent investigating the explosion of a Navy ferry and the murder of a woman, which might be related. What begins as an involving crime drama proceeds as such, even while assuming a science fiction bent in its second half. This clever, compelling time-travel tale surpasses expectations for a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced, Tony Scott-directed film, delivering more than suspense and spectacle. The PG-13-rated flick co-stars Val Kilmer, Paula Patton, Jim Caviezel, Adam Goldberg, and Bruce Greenwood. The sufficient DVD serves up batches of deleted and extended scenes as well as an audio commentary sprinkled with ten making-of featurettes. Read on...
April 5, 2007 - Today's new DVD review looks at White Fang, Disney's loose but winning 1991 adaptation of Jack London's famous novel. This live-action drama stars Ethan Hawke as a young man who joins the Klondike Gold Rush to explore his late father's mine. Grueling weather conditions, local hoodlums, and a cranky ally pose difficulties, but a hybrid wolf-dog emerges as a kindred spirit. The 2002 DVD release is a bust, with a fullscreen-only presentation, poor picture quality, and no extras, but the movie deserves a look. Read the full review.
April 4, 2007 - Reuters is reporting that funnyman Adam Sandler will make his Walt Disney Pictures debut in Bedtime Stories, a family comedy to be released to theaters for Christmas 2008. Sandler will play "a harried real estate developer whose life is turned upside down when the lavish bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew begin to come true." The starring role gives Sandler a chance to portray both "a regular guy and a knight in shining armor in the fantasy world." Adam Shankman (The Pacifier) will direct from a script by Matt Lopez, while Sandler's Happy Madison company will produce.
A BVHE representative has posted an update on The Aristocats: Special Edition. The DVD, originally scheduled for March 2007 release, is being "delayed until Spring 2008...so Disney can add new, never-before-seen bonus features." Read the post and discuss it here.
April 3, 2007 - A new press release from Buena Vista Home Entertainment announces an exciting addition to the Disney Movie Rewards program that was launched last fall. Beginning with the currently-playing Meet the Robinsons, ticket stubs from theatrical screenings of Disney movies will net viewers an additional Movie Rewards 50 points. The program, which has been extended to run through the end of the year, offers regular Disney DVD customers to rack up points inside their purchases. The points can then be exchanged for Disney merchandise, movie and event tickets, magazine subscriptions, Disney Movie Club-exclusive DVDs, and much more. See the announcement for more information.
April 2, 2007 - Final box office numbers are in for the weekend and Disney's Meet the Robinsons placed second behind the ice skating comedy Blades of Glory with a gross of $25.1 million. The computer-animated film posted a solid opening for a medium that has become more populous and less dominant in the past year. Robinson's earnings nevertheless paled next to the first weekend intakes of Chicken Little, Dinosaur, and every Pixar-animated film, despite the news that premium-priced Disney Digital 3-D screenings accounted for two-thirds of the movie's earnings. Thanks to warm reviews, anticipated word-of-mouth, and the upcoming Easter weekend-vacation, the G-rated film could still make it to the $100 million mark domestically, something that only four (Ice Age: The Meltdown, Over the Hedge, Cars, and Happy Feet) of last year's thirteen all-CGI theatrical releases were able to do.
A press release has been issued for Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams. Arriving September 4th, the hour-long DVD will serve up two new animated stories featuring Aladdin's Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty's Aurora. The disc will also provide two bonus games, "Aurora Dress Up" and "Find Sahara." Click here for the complete press release.
Members of the UD Forum have noticed that Disney has quietly removed "2-Disc" references on the official site for the indefinitely-delayed The Aristocats: Special Edition. The changes suggest a repeat of what occurred with the October 2005 re-release of Tarzan, which ended up a sparse single disc after months of being promoted as a dual-platter set.
March 30, 2007 - Feared to have ended, the highly-praised Walt Disney Treasures line will continue on December 11, 2007 with three new volumes. Disneyland: Secrets, Stories and Magic and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, both touted as upcoming sets in the recently-launched Walt Disney's Legacy Collection, will actually be branded Treasures. Joining them will be The Chronological Donald, Volume 3, housing the irascible duck's cartoon shorts from 1947 to 1950. While this news is subject to change, a draft press release being circulated online claims that Leonard Maltin will once again be involved with this seventh and latest wave. (In an e-mail to UD, Mr. Maltin has confirmed this.) There is no news regarding the Walt Disney/Salvador Dali collaboration Destino, completed in 2003, which was another title being promoted as an upcoming Legacy Collection DVD release. More Wave 7 information can be found here.
Disney has formally announced October's new Platinum DVD with The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition DVD press release. The detailed announcement confirms what we've already reported and sheds light on bonus features, which include a featurette on lost character Rocky the Rhino, a comprehensive making-of documentary, Disney's discarded 1963 film treatment, "The Lure of The Jungle Book" on the animators the film inspired, an audio commentary, a piece on director's son/Mowgli voice Bruce Reitherman, a set-top/DVD-ROM game, an art gallery, and an English-learning feature. Click here for full information.
March 27, 2007 - When it comes to Disney music, we've again got you covered with our Spring 2007 CD Roundup. Ten albums recently or soon-to-be released through Disney's music branches get treated to detailed reviews: Disneymania 5, Meet the Robinsons Soundtrack, Jump In! Soundtrack, Radio Disney Jams 9 (CD+DVD combo), Hannah Montana: 2-Disc Special Edition Soundtrack (CD+DVD), Disney/Pixar's Buddy Songs, Mickey's Party Songs, Pirates of the Caribbean: Swashbuckling Sea Songs, plus self-titled albums by Everlife and T-Squad. Serving up insight, information, and wit, this article is one you won't want to miss. Click here to read it.
March 25, 2007 - Amazon.com has put up nearly the entire wave of recently-announced Disney DVDs for preorder at 30% discounts: The Jungle Book: Platinum Edition (October 2), The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Friendship Edition (June 19), The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (November 20), Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams (September 4), "Hannah Montana": Pop Star Profile (June 26), High School Musical: The Concert (June 26), Little Einsteins: Rocket's Firebird Rescue (August 21), and "Handy Manny": Tooling Around (August 21).
March 22, 2007 - June 19th has been set as the release date for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: The Friendship Edition. Joining its new bonus feature (an episode of "My Friends Tigger & Pooh") are the supplements of the 1977 film's 25th Anniversary Edition DVD: the 1983 short A Day for Eeyore, making-of featurette "The Story Behind the Masterpiece", an art gallery, interactive storybook "Pooh's Shadow", Pooh's Pop-Up Fun Facts, the 100 Acre Wood Challenge game, a sing-along for "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers", and Carly Simon's rendition of "The Winnie the Pooh Theme Song." Cover art has been posted here.
Recent Disney DVD and Movie Reviews:
• Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins - This 2000 direct-to-video movie launched Disney's outer space comedy cartoon with a single-narrative pilot. An uninspired spin-off to Pixar's blockbusters, it drops most Toy Story characters to focus on the intergalactic space ranger that spawned the action figure. Not an utter mess, but occasionally on-target humor can't trump formulaic storytelling and subpar animation. The DVD serves up an erroneously matted, non-enhanced widescreen transfer and three largely disposable bonuses.
• Jump In! - This recent TV movie is one of the Disney Channel's better productions, grounding its formulas and familiar message in a realistic, relatable world. The Freestyle Edition DVD includes two brief but informative featurettes and two music videos.
• Meet the Robinsons - The 46th entry to Disney's long line of Feature Animation, this G-rated comedy-adventure impresses both visually and as a story, overcoming a confusing structure and a weak, wacky center to be both enjoyable and refreshingly different.
• Inspector Gadget 2 - French Stewart takes the reins from Matthew Broderick and squints his way through a script that's big on spills, splatters, and other sight gags. Gadget is forced to step back so that all-robotic crime fighter G2 (The Parent Trap's Elaine Hendrix) can thwart prison-breaking Dr. Claw and his new world domination plan. This direct-to-video action-comedy sequel isn't very good, but its low-priced disc is shockingly loaded with two audio commentaries, 32 minutes of behind-the-scenes shorts, deleted scenes, a music-only track, outtakes, a music video, and more.
• A Goofy Movie - This theatrically-released 1995 feature finds Goofy and Max on a cross-country road trip which doesn't go as planned. Fresh, funny, and with good music to spare, the film delivers a highly entertaining time. The Gold Collection DVD is surprisingly full, serving up episodes of Walt's "Disneyland" anthology and "Goof Troop", a trivia game, a read-along, the trailer, and the Lou Bega music video for "Disney's Mambo No. 5."
• "Little Einsteins: The Legend of the Golden Pyramid - Three episodes (including an unaired one) take the kids of this animated Playhouse Disney hit (and their young viewers) on adventures while enhancing their appreciation for art, classical music, history, and various cultures. The disc also provides an interactive storybook.
• Castle in the Sky - The third film directed by Hayao Miyazaki and first released by Studio Ghibli, this fantasy tells of a girl with a powerful crystal, the various groups in pursuit of her, and the fabled airborne island they're all drawn to. Though the two-hour runtime tests viewer patience, Miyazaki provides compelling characters and an imaginative universe like only he can. Disney's 2003 DVD provides the film in its original form with subtitles as well as a considerably altered but apt English dub. The two-disc set only provides three brief bonuses and a complete storyboard version of the film.
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