UltimateDisney.com: The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD
SEPTEMBER 16-30, 2005: NEWS ARCHIVES
See Upcoming Schedule for latest announcements / Click here for Tuesday's new DVD chart.
September 30, 2005 - At long last, Cinderella is coming to DVD next week as Disney's sixth Platinum Edition. While UD is still at work on a review of this much-anticipated two-disc set, we have something special for you today: an interview with Cinderella, that is, her original voice, Ilene Woods. Woods and modern Disney producer Don Hahn (Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King) took out an hour this week to reflect on Cinderella from their insiders' perspectives. Woods recalls her experiences with Walt Disney and his "Nine Old Men", while Hahn sounds off on the current state of animation, and both talk about what this DVD debut offers and entails for the unique 1950 animated classic. A Chat with Cinderella and Don Hahn delivers you four pages of rich reflections and insight from two individuals who hold special and definite places in the history of Disney animation. Read on...
Cover art has just been posted for Toy Story 2: 2-Disc Special Edition.
The Greatest Game Ever Played, Disney's latest sports drama, opens in just over 1,000 theaters today. More on the film here.
September 29, 2005 - In a third review of this week's new Sing Along Songs DVDs, Aaron Wallace puts his unique, succinct spin on a critique of Campout at Walt Disney World. This 1994 volume shows off the park's then-new Wilderness Lodge resort with a half-hour of outdoor-themed (mostly non-Disney) tunes and impressively-choreographed dance numbers.
Disney's newly-revealed Valiant cover art confirms a kiddie release for the underperforming British CGI comedy (complete with "Disney's FastPlay") and no end to promoting the Shrek connection. The G-rated bird film will arrive on December 13th (in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and DD 5.1) with only a game and bloopers for extras.
September 28, 2005 - Tonight brings the launch of the biggest giveaway contest UD has ever had. Our Fall 2005 Giveaway gives you the chance to win one of three exciting CD prizes: the newly-released retail version of comprehensive 6-disc anniversary set A Musical History of Disneyland, a copy of Julie Andrews Selects Her Favorite Disney Songs signed by Ms. Andrews herself, and a copy of Walt Disney Takes You to Disneyland, the album that launched the line today known as Walt Disney Records. To qualify, all you'll have to do is correctly answer at least 9 of ten trivia questions pertaining to Disney theme parks and music. All entries are due by October 9, 2005. Click her for the contest, trivia, and the fine print!
Cover art for next January's four Sing Along Songs centered on different Disney films and their characters has been posted here.
According to Variety, Disney will reteam with Walden Media, the co-producers of such literary adaptations as Holes, Around the World in 80 Days, and the forthcoming The Chronicles of Narnia, to bring to the big screen Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson's award-winning 1977 children's novel. The film tells of two 11-year-olds who create "an imaginary kingdom filled with giants, trolls, and other magical beings." Production is scheduled to begin next February in New Zealand, with Disney aiming for a spring 2007 theatrical release.
September 27, 2005 - With seven new Disney DVDs and three new discs from Miramax, Buena Vista Home Entertainment is certainly releasing a lot for families this week, many of which may not be found at your local store. To help you wade through the offerings, there's this site and there's snowhite8's latest Weekly Video Update series (938 kb, WMV) to fill you in.
In our second review of this week's new park-themed Sing Along DVDs, Renata Joy looks at Flik's Musical Adventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom, which prominently features Disney World's most recently-opened park, the protagonist of A Bug's Life (in original animation from Pixar), and some reworkings of classic tunes. Compared to its kin, there's more edutainment thanks to transitional animal fun facts and less to hold viewers over ten (with practically no nostalgia value). Its 34 minutes deliver only enough entertainment to please established fans of the format who are open to something a little different.
Disney has released a first trailer for Glory Road, the PG-rated, Jerry Bruckheimer-produced basketball drama which opens in theaters next January.
|Discounts at Amazon.com (Free U.S. shipping on all orders of $25 or more.)
• Winding down:
20 14 vintage live action Disney DVDs for 50% off ($7.49 & up).
• Save big on October preorders: Cinderella: Platinum Edition, Cinderella: Collector's Gift Set (Oct. 4, includes Mary Blair bonus download); Herbie: Fully Loaded (Oct. 25)
• Temporarily reduced in price: The Incredibles ($19.49, 35% off - Review)
• New price reductions: $10.49 each (30% off lower SRP) - Sing Along Songs: The Lion King - Circle of Life, Sing Along Songs: Sing a Song with Pooh Bear and Piglet Too (Review), Rolie Polie Olie: Baby Bot Chase, Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun, Stanley: Spring Fever, Stanley: Hop To It.
Discounts at BestBuy.com (Free in-store pickup. Starts Tuesday for new releases.)
• Fall's Temporary Price Reductions: Disney DVDs for 50% off ($14.99 each) - Alice in Wonderland: ME, Home on the Range, Mickey's Once & Twice Upon a Christmas
• Select Disney Channel DVDs on sale for $9.99 each (50% off SRP).
• Online-only: Buena Vista Season Sets up to 48% off - Top Sellers, High School Series: Alias, Home Improvement, Golden Girls, Boy Meets World & more (Reviews)
September 26, 2005 - As the number of unreleased titles in Disney's catalogue continues to wane, older and more obscure stuff once issued on VHS is beginning to find its way to DVD. This explains a handful of Sing Along Songs installments newly slated to come to DVD on January 3, 2006: Peter Pan - You Can Fly! (first released in 1988), The Jungle Book - Bare Necessities (1988), Mary Poppins - Supercalifragilisticexpialidocous (1993), and 101 Dalmatians - Pongo and Perdita (1996). Each entry (running 31-34 minutes a piece) will carry a $14.99 SRP, much like the four park-themed volumes being released to disc this week. Arriving the same day is The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories, a 1995 compilation of five animated shorts adapted from the children's books of Eric Carle.
Newly-added for preorder at Amazon.com: Sky High (November 29) and a Disney Princess 7-Pack (November 1) exclusive to the e-tailer.
Millions tuned in last night for the second season premiere of ABC's hit hour-long dramedy "Desperate Housewives", just days after Season 1 made its way to DVD. Whether you're completely unfamiliar with Touchstone's top-rated series or already won over, Tricia Mayes eases you in for a comprehensive critique of the scattered but exhaustive six-disc Complete First Season DVD. The show garners a recommendation for managing to successfully engage a wide audience with its versatile blend of mystery, comedy, drama, and romance, while the five hours of bonus features should satisfy even diehard fans. Check out the review for all the ins and outs of this recent box set.
New disc art has been added for Muppet Treasure Island and The Proud Family Movie.
If visual effects interest you, you'll want to check out Chapter 5, the latest installment of the "Behind the Magic" series of featurettes on the making of Disney/Walden's forthcoming fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
September 25, 2005 - Last week, Buena Vista Home Entertainment released to DVD Dimension's family fantasy The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D. In conjunction with the release, UD got to interview Taylor Lautner, the 13-year-old actor who portrayed title superhero Sharkboy, a youth raised by sharks whose Planet Drool faces danger from impending darkness. Lautner reflects on working with director Robert Rodriguez, recalls the unique process of filming for 3-D and almost entirely on green screen, and reveals a number of his personal favorites. Read the entire interview: A Bite With Sharkboy.
Our latest review looks at the best of the four '90s Sing Along Songs volumes making their way to DVD this week. Sing Along Songs: Disneyland Fun - It's a Small World offers just under a half-hour of memorable songs and relevant images from the 50-year-old Anaheim park. Ported directly from the 1990 VHS release, fashions, character design, and attractions have changed, but that only adds 15-year-old nostalgia to the disc's plentiful appeal. The DVD arrives in ho-hum fashion, which makes one wish that even at bargain pricing, Disney had opted to double or quadruple up on the park-themed Sing Alongs.
Early information from Disney to retailers reveals that CGI bird comedy Valiant will come to DVD on December 13th presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, and Spanish languages). The only bonus features planned at this time are bloopers and the 3-level set-top game "Valiant Training Challenge."
September 24, 2005 - Disney's modest summer box office hit Sky High will come to DVD and UMD (for PlayStationPortable) on November 29, 2005 with a large holiday season marketing campaign. On DVD, the film will be offered in separate widescreen (2.35:1 anamorphic) and full screen versions. Bonus materials will include an alternate opening, "super" bloopers, the behind-the-scenes making-of "Welcome to Sky High", "Breaking Down the Walls: The Stunts of Sky High" featurette, and Bowling for Soup's "I Melt With You" music video.
UltimateDisney.com has a number of exciting things coming your way in the next two weeks, including our biggest contest to date, several noteworthy interviews, and more than a dozen detailed reviews of Buena Vista's massive fall DVD slate. Be sure to check back regularly!
September 23, 2005 - Disney has released to the Internet a couple of new video previews: Kronk's New Groove (press release), Lady and the Tramp: Platinum Edition (preorder).
The MPAA has just classified Studio Ghibli's 1995 animated fantasy Whisper of the Heart with a "G" rating under distribution by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. This move suggests that the film, directed by Yoshifumi Kondo and written by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, will make its Region 1 DVD debut alongside Miyazaki's My Neighbor Totoro and Howl's Moving Castle in Disney's next wave of discs from the Japanese animation studio. Those two releases have been announced in a video trailer for "Spring 2006" and are tentatively expected next February, though no firm date has been set.
September 22, 2005 - In his review of the recently-released Halloweentown High, the third and latest in the Disney Channel movie series, Aaron Wallace finds the story "a little too forced" and the bonus features a "disappointment." Nonetheless, there's enough festive fun for him to urge any fan of the first two movies or the late October holiday to check out this disc and complete the trilogy.
September 21, 2005 - Our new DVD review covers The Parent Trap: 2-Movie Collection which pairs up Walt Disney's 1961 comedy classic and its 1986 Disney Channel sequel The Parent Trap II (making its US home video debut). This low-priced 2-disc set retains all but two extras from the original film's fantastic Vault Disney DVD release (now discontinued) and adds the slightly cheesy but entertaining low-budget follow-up. All things considered, the set is highly recommended for those who do not already own the original or who have been long waiting a release of the made-for-TV sequel; the former boasts a stellar transfer and loads of great extras, while the latter has an excellent special edition of its predecessor attached at no additional cost.
Revised, high-res cover art for Kronk's New Groove drops Kronk's new co-stars in favor of Kuzco and Yzma. The updated design also confirms cardboard slipcover packaging and Disney's FastPlay mode, two staples of the studio's most recent direct-to-video movie DVDs.
September 20, 2005 - Disney has released airy cover artwork and information on next March's Region 1 DVD debut of Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin. The single disc "Special Edition" (March 14, $29.99 SRP) will present the film in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound and will include the Oscar-winning 1968 featurette Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day in its original format, the set-top game "Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood", and something called "Pooh's Symphony." The previously announced "Pooh Skies" short (actually a 12-minute episode of "The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh") appears to have been dropped. The widescreen exhibition will be a first for this movie, though it remains to be seen what aspect ratio it was animated in. The studio is mounting a surprisingly large marketing campaign for this 1997 direct-to-video sequel's release, linking it to a "global 80th anniversary celebration" of A.A. Milne's creation. Cover art here.
It may be an off week as far as Disney DVDs go, but snowhite8 fills you in on two noteworthy new DVDs from the Walt Disney Company's other branches in the latest installment of her Weekly Video Update series (952 kB, WMV), as well as some of the many things this site will bring you in the days and weeks ahead.
We've just posted ten photographs from last Thursday's premiere of the fully-remastered Cinderella at Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Among those who attended were original voice cast members Ilene Woods-Shaughnessy (Cinderella), June Foray (Lucifer the cat), and Lucille Bliss (stepsister Anastasia), animators Ollie Johnston and Andreas Deja, plus Cinderella herself. Cinderella will become the last of Disney's animated classics to make its DVD debut when its long-awaited, two-disc Platinum Edition streets two weeks from today. It is one of several DVDs keeping UD's reviewers busy right now. More can be found on our grand Cinderella DVD preview page.
|Discounts at Amazon.com (Free U.S. shipping on all orders of $25 or more.)
• 17 vintage live action Disney films on DVD for 50% off ($7.49 - $9.99 each).
• Discounted Preorders (43% off, $16.98 each): Cinderella: Platinum Edition (Oct. 4, includes free "Art of Mary Blair" preview download), Herbie: Fully Loaded (Oct. 25)
Discounts at BestBuy.com (Free in-store pickup. Starts Tuesday for new releases.)
• Select Disney Channel DVDs on sale for $9.99 each (50% off SRP) - Kim Possible, Lizzie McGuire, Winnie the Pooh, JoJo's Circus, and The Cheetah Girls.
• Buy Desperate Housewives: Season 1 and get a free Desperate Housewives calendar and $10 off Lost: Season 1!
• Online-only: Buena Vista's top-selling season sets up to 45% off - Home Improvement, The Golden Girls, Alias, Scrubs, Sports Night and more. (Reviews)
• Online-only: Season sets of school-set Buena Vista shows up to 48% off - Boy Meets World, Sweet Valley High ($25.99 each), Popular ($40.99 each). (Reviews)
September 19, 2005 - Disney has just issued artwork of the first one-sheet movie poster for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, the hotly-anticipated July 2006 sequel now in post-production.
Disney has released a new TV spot for their upcoming CGI comedy Chicken Little entitled "Aliens vs. Chickens": QuickTime, Windows Media.
September 17, 2005 - In his latest review, Aaron Wallace shines the spotlight on the recently-released Halloweentown & Halloweentown II Double Feature, which contains the first two entries into the Disney Channel's popular family movie series. Though many readers have reported this DVD as being absent from store shelves, this critique suggests it is worth tracking down, noting that the movies successfully invoke the same mood of mystery and excitement that the forthcoming holiday itself does. Though the bonus features are skimpy, doubling up the movies has not resulted in any noticeable sacrifice in presentation quality, and the low price is appealing, making this two-film disc perfect for seasonal viewing and worth your consideration. Read on...
Got milk? Disney does, beginning October 15th when ads for Herbie: Fully Loaded's DVD release start turning up on millions of milk cartons in schools nationwide. The unorthodox campaign seeks to reach 85% of the 9-to-11-year-old demographic and will also include Herbie-themed cafeteria posters. More on October 25th's Herbie: Fully Loaded DVD.
Disc art has been added for A Very Playhouse Disney Holiday, Once Upon a Mattress, and Miramax's Chicago: Razzle-Dazzle Edition, which has been rescheduled for December 20th. Small Kronk's New Groove cover art has also been posted.
September 16, 2005 - Disney has officially declared October 3, 2006 as the release date for The Little Mermaid: Platinum Edition. The first preview for this much anticipated two-disc DVD reissue appears on the forthcoming Cinderella: Platinum Edition. The following four screencaps stem from this 80-second promo: 1, 2, 3, 4.
The MPAA has given Disney's upcoming remake The Shaggy Dog a PG rating for "some mild rude humor." This Tim Allen-headlined live action comedy opens in theaters on March 10th, 2006. Click here for pictures and more information.
Several new images from Kronk's New Groove have been added to its press release.
While official announcements have yet to come, Disney has begun informing retailers about the Fourth Quarter DVDs of the studio's last two theatrical releases of summer. Sky High, the action/comedy set in an academy for budding superheroes, will reportedly arrive on November 29th in separate 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 pan & scan editions. Bonus features will include "super bloopers, sensational stunts", and an alternate opening. Cover art has been posted here. Meanwhile, Vanguard Animation's Valiant, has been slated for December 13th alongside Kronk's New Groove. Bonus features have yet to be determined for the G-rated Valiant, the United Kingdom's first CGI-animated film which is now well on its way to grossing less in American theaters than any other widely-released computer-animated feature to date. Both dates are still subject to change.
September 15, 2005 - The Bambi II press release has been updated with eight new stills from this direct-to-video midquel, which will be released to Disney DVD on February 7, 2006.
September 14, 2005 - Disney has just released the understated cover artwork from November 8th's Volume 1 box sets of "DuckTales" and "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers". The box fronts reveal that each 3-disc set will contain the first 27 episodes of the late '80s/early '90s television cartoons. There is still no word on any special features, but each animated set will carry an SRP of just $34.99.
Twenty years ago today, two different shows made their debuts as Disney's first animated television series: "The Wuzzles" (airing on CBS) and "The Adventures of The Gummi Bears" (on NBC). See a list of all those that followed in our Disney TV Shows section.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie - Though the middle twenty minutes are taken straight from 1996 TV special "Boo To You Too! Winnie the Pooh", the feature is consistently entertaining and delivers more excitement than the most recent theatrical release. The disc includes a handful of games and activities designed to throw a Pooh-themed Halloween party for young fans.
• Toy Story: 10th Anniversary - Fantastic feature presentation and a solid assortment of supplements new and old make this a must for those lacking a nice DVD of Pixar's first film. Ultimate Toy Box owners may or may not be won over by this commemorative 2-disc set, which boasts minor improvements in picture and sound (including Pixar's first Region 1 DTS track) and several compelling new extras, but loses some from the previous Collector's release. In any event, the film remains Pixar's finest masterpiece.
• Disney Princess Stories: Volume 3 - Beauty Shines From Within - The success of Disney's princess line has resulted in an unfortunate "precedence of profit over originality", evident in this latest entry, which would be better subtitled "Two Poorly-Animated Episodes And a Shameless Promotion." Even the sparse bonus features illustrate a continuous decline in effort.
• Disney Princess Sing-Along Songs: Volume Two - Enchanted Tea Party - Simple but fun collection of 12 musical numbers excerpted primarily from Disney's animated classics and adorned with lyrics. Though the program is brief, karaoke and random modes increase its replay value, while a Dance Along and a Tea Time game will amuse its young female target audience.
Recent Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension DVD Reviews:
• The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Long-in-development, once "Disney", PG-rated adaptation of Douglas Adams's cult creation succeeds with a mix of "satire, scientific curiosity, impressive visuals, vast imagination, and doses of British humor." The disc offers splended film presentation, two commentaries, and a few fun little bonuses, but lacks the 70-minute documentary the UK's 2-disc set holds.
• Prozac Nation - Bleak, but attractive R-rated drama was intended to reach theaters years ago; it ultimately settled for a cable TV debut and nonchalant DVD.
• Dear Frankie - Scottish drama about a deaf boy, his single mother, and his supposed father won't amaze, but it does resonate. Miramax's DVD extras include some intriguing deleted scenes.
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