UltimateDisney.com: The Ultimate Guide to Disney DVD
OCTOBER 16-31, 2005: NEWS ARCHIVES
See Upcoming Schedule for the latest announcements. / Tuesday's New Release Chart
October 31, 2005 - Today is Halloween, which means that tomorrow, stores begin looking ahead towards Christmas if they haven't already. This week, Disney is supplying them with four new holiday-themed DVDs. The one garnering the most amount of attention is Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment, the subject of Renata Joy's latest DVD review. This disc compiles and reformats a number of cartoons new and old (from Silly Symphonies to a Fantasia 2000 segment), one of which actually features a Disney princess. It also delivers a read-along short, three musical numbers performed by the leading ladies, and two versions of a virtual snowglobe maker activity. While this entry differs from past Disney Princess DVDs in format, it does not betray the series' tenet that "the least amount of effort necessary will do just fine as long as it's packaged in a pink keepcase."
October 30, 2005 - In honor of tomorrow being Halloween, we have two brand new DVD reviews of Disney titles that may help put you in the mood. First, Aaron Wallace takes a look at Hocus Pocus. While he deems this 1993 comedy "without question the best family-friendly Halloween movie out there", it is relegated to a barebones, non-anamorphic disc, making it ripe for revisiting or a bargain bin buy to consider. (At just over $10, it's crept into the Top 100 Sellers chart at Amazon this week.) Meanwhile, Lester Medina covers the 2002 direct-to-video feature Mickey's House of Villains, which, in "House of Mouse" fashion, is composed primarily of old shorts, from the 1930s through several late '90s "Mickey Mouse Works" creations. Light on extras and short on the popular Disney villains the cover promises, this one isn't everyone's cup of tea, but may merit a curiousity rent at least.
You'll find much more of the studio's canon of antagonists from fan reflections to sound clips in our Disney Villains Countdown, compiling the 30 most treasured nemeses as determined by UD's readers last Halloween. Looking for even more ways to get in the Halloween spirit the Disney way? Check out these reviews of other relevant discs: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (featuring "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"), Halloweentown I & II Double Feature, Halloweentown High, Pooh's Heffalump Halloween Movie, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Watcher in the Woods, and The Haunted Mansion.
||Tuesday's New Releases
October 29, 2005 - Today's new DVD review covers Aliens of the Deep, James Cameron's second underwater IMAX film for Disney and Walden. This outing holds far less appeal than the previous plunge; its potency comes solely from a handful of compelling images of life at the bottom of the ocean. The jump from large format cinemas to DVD weakens the value of this visuals, while the bland observations and flimsy science fiction-esque speculation that package them are bound to bore most viewers. The DVD's lone supplement is an alternate extended cut which more than doubles the film's running time without too great of an effect.
October 28, 2005 - With the release of Chicken Little just one week away and the studio's CG-based Feature Animation department at stake, Disney has been making near-daily efforts to keep awareness as high as possible for their G-rated comedy. PC users can let Chicken Little and friends take over your desktop with dancing characters, alarm clocks, wallpaper, and more in the Chicken Little ScreenMate. Other demographics might find more appeal in the Beastie Boys-like "Chicken Rap" video (QT, WMV) or the audio play of Chicken Little's World Series home run (QT, WMV). Meanwhile, you can browse more than two dozen tie-in items including books, games, soundtracks, and calendars in a special Chicken Little section of UD's Shop.
October 27, 2005 - Moving this story out of the Internet rumor stage, Video Business is reporting (and Disney confirming) that the television show season sets briefly slated for January 10th ("Boy Meets World" Season 4, "Once and Again" Season 3, and "Beggars and Choosers" Season 1) have been indefinitely delayed.
October 26, 2005 - To mark the DVD release of Herbie: Fully Loaded, the vintage Bug appeared at Hollywood's Sunset Car Wash yesterday. Vehicles received free washings, while their owners got to check out Herbie up close. The car is now being auctioned off to support the Southern California children's charity Variety. UltimateDisney.com's Christian Ziebarth attended the event: click here for his report plus pictures.
With stop-motion, 2-D, and computer animation, A Very Playhouse Disney Holiday celebrates Christmas (and being a ballerina) with 55 minutes of episodes from the Disney Channel's daytime programming for preschoolers. Our review covers this upcoming disc in greater detail than you could imagine, with some laughs and lots of pictures from featured series "JoJo's Circus", "Shanna's Show", and "Higglytown Heroes." Check it out now.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment has a couple of cool opportunities for site readers today. Help them pick out the best TV spots for the just-released "Alias" Season 4 and forthcoming "Scrubs" Season 2 DVD sets from Touchstone Television and you could win either set completely free. Check them out: Scrubs, Alias.
Did you know that UltimateDisney.com relies on purchases made through the site's links to Amazon to survive? Why not use any page from our title listings (located at the top of the left column) or our Worldwide Shop to buy online and support the site at no extra cost to you? You'll save money that would have gone to sales tax and gas, save time not having wait in line and find what you're looking for, get free shipping on all orders of $25 or more, and help keep afloat this site which goes the extra distance to keep you informed, entertained, and not bombarded by lame-o advertising like pop-ups/unders/overs or noisy Flash banners. Other easy ways to support this site include signing up for the Disney Movie Club through the banner at the very top right of this page and clicking text or image ads by Google that interest you (which appear throughout). There's something for you to consider as the site makes the jump this week to its own server to ensure that it continues to serve you well.
October 25, 2005 - In the spotlight for the last of today's three exciting DVD reviews is Disney Channel Holiday, which prepares you for the holiday season with five Christmas episodes (and one Hanukkah) of the cable channel's most popular comedy series. Fans of the Disney Channel's current output in general should enjoy this disc, which is far more satisfying than most compilations. It marks the DVD debuts of "Even Stevens" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and includes two unaired episodes.
If you give snowhite8 58 seconds, then snowhite8 will give you the world (of UD). Watch her latest installment of Weekly Video Update (1.7 Mb, WMV) for today's big news around the site.
On Sunday, the 2005 Hollywood Film Festival closed with the world premiere screening of Disney's English language dub of Hayao Miyazaki's beloved 1988 animated drama My Neighbor Totoro. This new version features actor siblings Dakota and Elle Fanning as the voices of the two sisters who discover magical spirits inhabiting the forest by their new country home. Buena Vista Home Entertainment is expected to release Totoro to DVD (with both this new dub and the original Japanese audio) late next February alongside Miyazaki's critically-acclaimed latest Howl's Moving Castle and Whisper of the Heart, which was directed by Yoshifumi Kondo.
The latest issue of UD's free e-mail newsletter was sent out this morning. To receive this weekly mailing and gain access to the archives, e-mail UltimateDisneyemail@example.com.
Aaron Wallace critiques the parks-exclusive disc Magic Kingdom. One of just a handful of Disney-released DVDs on the theme parks, this title highlights the centerpiece of Walt Disney World and, unlike free promotional videos, appears to be "designed for the departing park guest intent on reminiscence." Between its limited availability, brief 28-minute feature runtime, and non-negotiable $19.95 retail price, this is clearly not a DVD for everyone. But those from any part of the world who admire Disney World (or its kin) may appreciate its great, nostalgia-conjuring images and wealth of bonus material from pop-up tracks to ride-throughs.
Renata Joy looks at the brand new disc Baby Einstein: On the Go - Riding, Sailing, and Soaring, which illustrates for those ages 1 and up the concepts of transportation with sock puppets, simple animation, scenes from daily life, and, of course, babies playing toys, all set to tinkling takes on classical music. She notes that the disc makes for an addition to the Baby Einstein empire that's a "little bland" and while it's a reasonable choice for those with a young child or more, they may be better off with edutainment kids won't grow out of so quickly.
October 23, 2005 - Rev your engines! Herbie is back in Herbie: Fully Loaded and tonight, we bring you a DVD review and an interview with director Angela Robinson. Neither a masterpiece nor a disaster, Fully Loaded offers a silly but generally good time in the spirit of the old Herbie movies. Its DVD also delivers a bit more than most of the studio's recent live action output, with the expected but splendid feature presentation accompanied by worthwhile deleted scenes, an engaging commentary, and much more. Meanwhile, Robinson, the young filmmaker at the film's helm, spoke with UD on Friday, revealing her take on the past Herbie productions, clearing up mysteries about reported digital reductions and Dean Jones' missing cameo, and reflecting on her unlikely jump from independent cinema to making a big budget Disney flick. Catch UD's Herbiemania: DVD Review / Interview.
October 22, 2005 - Cover art for next February's two Disney Princess DVDs, which promise recycle-conscious musical and educational value are now here.
October 21, 2005 - AOL's Moviefone is the exclusive home to a new and exciting theatrical trailer for Disney and Walden's upcoming film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The site also has an interactive map to Narnia's worlds and a 4-minute behind-the-scenes look at Chicken Little with actor Zach Braff, director Mark Dindal, and the new CG-embracing Disney Feature Animation.
October 20, 2005 - Disney has finally issued a press release for next February's two-disc Lady and the Tramp DVD reissue, which they're here referring to as a "Special Edition" marking the film's "50th Anniversary." Disney aficionados will know that this beloved canine cartoon actually celebrates its golden anniversary this year, not next. UD readers like yourself will also recognize that despite the generic moniker used, Lady will really be the seventh entry into Disney's widely-collected Platinum Edition line. Check out this announcement for an overview of the bonus features (which promise "something for everyone"), a synopsis of the film, and a table charting the Platinum series. The Little Mermaid will become Platinum #8 when it receives the two-disc treatment on October 3rd.
The winners and winning captions from our just-ended Bionicle 3 "Caption This" Contest can now be seen here.
October 19, 2005 - A second page has been added to our Cinderella: Platinum Edition DVD review to cover Cinderella: Collector's Gift Set. With 15 photographs and an in-depth critique, two first-time UD reviewers seek to answer the Disney fan's annual question, "Is it worth the money?" Find out.
Our Coming to Theaters section has received more updates on Disney films expected this year and next. Four high-res pictures have been posted from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the much-anticipated fantasy which opens in theaters in just seven weeks. Write-ups have been revised on Eight Below (with two new pictures), Stick It!, The Wild, Meet the Robinsons (formerly titled A Day with Wilbur Robinson) and the (unrelated) Swiss Family Robinson remake.
October 18, 2005 - A new issue of UD's free e-mail newsletter was just sent out. Send a blank e-mail to UltimateDisneyfirstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe and read.
|This Week's Disney DVD Deals at Amazon.com (Free US shipping on orders > $25)
• The Hot List (Amazon's most popular Disney and non-Disney DVD deals)
• On Sale (40% off or more): Herbie: Fully Loaded, Cool Runnings, The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Three Musketeers. (Reviews)
BestBuy.com Bargains (Support Ultimate Disney: buy online, free in-store pickup.)
• Save $6 when you buy any 2 of the following: Tarzan: Special Edition, The Emperor's New Groove: The New Groove Edition, Toy Story 10th Anniversary Ed.
• Final Week / Online-Only: 17 hit Disney movies up to 50% off.
• Final Week: Select Disney Channel DVDs on sale for $9.99 each (50% off).
• 4 animated DVDs for $13.49 each (55% off) - Alice, Home, Mickey's Christmas
• High School Series Season Sets (up to 48% off) - Boy, Sweet Valley, Popular
New cover art added: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Stories.
October 17, 2005 - Disney's announcement of the upcoming sequel Kronk's New Groove has been updated with four stills of menus and a bonus feature from this December DVD.
The press release for Disney Princess: A Christmas of Enchantment has been updated with nine new images featuring menus and stills from this forthcoming presentation. This November 1st disc will be the eighth Disney Princess DVD and the first with a holiday theme.
Just posted: a press release and three menus for Valiant, Vanguard's G-rated CGI-animated comedy, which flies home for the holidays, landing on a lightweight DVD December 13th.
Now fully up-to-date: the Recent Live Action Disney Films page. By our counting methods, this December's highly anticipated adaptation of C.S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe will be the 100th live action feature film from Walt Disney Pictures since 1980. While Narnia is one of only five in this class that will not be on DVD by year's end, many of the studio's modern live action works have received dubious treatment on DVD, particularly those from the late-1980s through mid-'90s. Check out the full list for a thorough overview of the diverse group of pictures and their DVD status, from fantasies and Paramount co-productions of the early '80s to '90s remakes and contemporary blockbusters.
As Walt Disney Pictures' 2006 theatrical slate continues to develop, our Upcoming Disney Movies page continues to be updated. Check it out for some casting news for The Santa Clause 3, a title change and trailer for Antarctica: The Journey Home, and much more.
This week's other release, The Emperor's New Groove: The New Groove Edition, is the subject of our latest DVD review. This baffling reissue of the 2000 film differs very slightly from its standard 2001 disc. There are two additional deleted scenes from the now-discontinued "Ultimate Groove" Collector's Edition, a cardboard slipcover, and a new set of sneak peeks. Otherwise, you get the same disc released 4½ years ago at the same price making this not an upgrade but a pointless repackaging that does not even serve to promote the upcoming sequel or Disney Channel series. The only group who should check this out are those who have not yet caught this fresh, spirited buddy comedy and who do not care at all for bonus features.
October 16, 2005 - For months, Disney fans who adopted DVD after Tarzan's Collector's Edition went out of print in 2001, have been anticipating its forthcoming reissue. Unfortunately, Aaron Wallace has a review today of this new Tarzan: Special Edition and extras enthusiasts will be disappointed by the disc. That's no typo -- despite widespread promotion of a 2-disc set (and a presumed repackaging of the acclaimed double platter), this week's re-release contains just one disc and lacks most of the discontinued set's bonuses. There are some new features (a game, a "DisneyPedia", a music video, and a hardly-different 5.1 track), but those wanting the whole ball of wax are left wading the uncertain waters of Internet resellers. However, those without Tarzan in their collection and those not savvy on supplements should be satisfied by the flawless feature presentation and the riveting film at its core.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 8 - Holiday Celebration with Mickey & Pals - Low-priced shorts compilation failts to live up to its title (only two of seven cartoons feature a holiday), but suceeds in providing 54 minutes of vintage animation fun. As expected, the disc is barren of bonuses and four debuting shorts need remastering. What would have been quite a pleasing collection with minimal effort requires lowered standards for full approval.
• Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 9 - Classic Holiday Stories - Delivers an excellent 58 minutes of Christmas entertainment via two featurettes (including The Small One, making its Region 1 debut) and a standard-length short. While the presentation leaves plenty to be desired, the cartoons themselves are some of the studio's finest animation work ever.
• Cinderella: Platinum Edition - Beloved 1950 fairy tale seems slight in a number of ways, which lands it at "good", but among Disney's weaker animated films. The two-disc set boasts a dazzling restoration and plenty of bonus features, though not as many directly related as fans would like. The least Platinum set yet released, but still recommended.
• Sing Along Songs: Beach Party at Walt Disney World - 1995 production set at Orlando's Typhoon Lagoon and then-new Blizarrd Beach delivers eleven musical sequences, offering mostly pop covers plus a couple of Disney tunes, surprising restraint in terms of promotional photography, and well-manuevered dance numbers, all adding up to "modest dose of nostalgic fun."
Recent Touchstone, Miramax and Dimension DVD Reviews:
• The Phoenix & The Carpet - Miramax oddly but skillfully converts a six-episode 1997 BBC series into a feature film. The adventures of four British children who uncover a vain phoenix and a magical carpet are faithfully adapted from the middle text of E. Nesbit's fantasy trilogy. The author's literature was ahead of its time, which keeps this tale fresh and highly accessible, while the curiously unnoticeable editing fails to lessen the potency of this much-recommended filming.
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