November 30, 2006 - We're proud to present Part 2 of our interview with veteran Disney actor Hank Jones. In this installment, Hank recalls working with Elsa Lanchester, Walter Brennan, Buddy Ebsen, Wally Cox, Richard Deacon, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Suzanne Pleshette, Dean Jones, Tim Conway, McLean Stevenson, and more. You won't want to miss Hank's behind-the-scenes tales from the sets of 1960s and '70s live action Disney comedies. Click here for Part 2: UltimateDisney.com's Exclusive Interview with Hank Jones.
Disney's representatives are claiming that the scan advertising a 3-disc ultimate Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest DVD for release next May is bogus. The scan has been circulating around the Internet since last Thursday and was said to arrive from a studio publication for retailers. See yesterday's updates for more on this and a look at the apparent hoax.
According to an industry ad, February 27, 2007 has been set as the release date for "Little Einsteins": The Legend of the Golden Pyramid, the fourth and next DVD tied to Playhouse Disney's popular animated preschooler series.
November 29, 2006 - Disney has issued one-sheet poster artwork for the company's two animated 2007 theatrical releases: Feature Animation's Meet the Robinsons and Pixar Animation Studios' Ratatouille. Check out Upcoming Disney Movies to view both of them.
The top-grossing film of the year, Disney's blockbuster sequel Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest is poised to become one of 2006's best-selling DVDs when it is released next week in single and double-disc flavors. But if you crave all the bonus features you can get and only want to buy this Jerry Bruckheimer-produced adventure on DVD once, you may wish to hold off. A scanned image from what is said to be a Disney-issued publication for video retailers has been making the rounds on various Internet DVD forums since late last week. It depicts a Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - Cursed 3-Disc Edition that appears to hold all of next week's Special Edition features plus additional, never-before-seen bonuses. According to the picture, this re-release (which seems similar in design to November 2004's 3-Disc Gift Set of The Curse of The Black Pearl) will arrive in stores May 2007, when Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the third and (for the time being) final installment of the popular Johnny Depp-headlined series reaches theaters. Click here to view this unconfirmed scan. UPDATE: The studio has claimed that this is not a legitimate ad - see November 30's news.
Our streak continues with Aaron Wallace's two-page review of the recently-released box set "The Golden Girls": The Complete Sixth Season. After a brief weak stretch early on, the new behind-the-camera talent put the enduring sitcom again at its best in its penultimate year.The 1990-91 season found NBC/Touchstone's Saturday night fixture skillfully fusing drama with the usual supply of comedy. The 15-year episodes are spread across three discs and presented with adequate picture and sound. The set includes a 20-minute excerpt of a cast/crew retrospective panel held at the Museum of Television & Radio, which makes for the best bonus the show has yet to receive. Click here for the full review.
November 28, 2006 - Reuben and Albert Gutierrez take a look at the lesser of today's two new Disney DVDs: The Cheetah Girls 2: Cheetah-licious Edition. This 2006 Disney Channel Original Movie takes the four-girl pop group to Spain where they meet conflict and opportunity as they participate in an amateur music competition. In addition to the sequel's broadcast cut, the DVD includes a sing-along version and a mildly extended version, but no widescreen option despite the movie being framed also for 16x9. A music video and 10-minute featurette round out the disc. Read on...
After a brief hiatus, we're back at full force with Disney entering the usual DVD blitz that marks the end of the year. We're currently at work on a number of reviews and interviews, which you'll be seeing soon. For now, check out Albert Gutierrez's critique of Funny Factory: Volume 4 - With Huey, Dewey, and Louie, a recently-released hour-long compilation holding one-third of the entertaining cartoon shorts of Donald's rambunctious triplet nephews.
November 24, 2006 - Today is the busiest shopping day of the year in America, but you needn't fill up the gas tank, hop in the car, and map out your day to enjoy some of the big holiday season savings. Many huge discounts are being offered online. To help out readers who like the convenience of Internet shopping, we've updated our Support The Site page with an alphabetized list of basic text links to all the e-tailers UD is affiliated with. Purchases made through these sites support this site at no cost to you. Check it out.
November 22, 2006 - UD has received word from a reliable source that wishes to remain anonymous that 101 Dalmatians has been penciled in for two-disc Platinum Edition treatment in October of 2008. This contradicts an earlier report from Australia which pegged Pinocchio and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as 2008's two Platinum titles. Meanwhile, this same source has confirmed that The Aristocats is scheduled for a DVD re-release in the spring of 2007, clever edition name to be announced. As always, these plans are subject to change until officially announced.
November 21, 2006 - "ichabod" has bumped our closely-watched thread on the long-delayed behind-the-scenes Disneyland DVD Secrets, Stories & Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth with some very exciting news. Disney's newly-launched website for the soon-to-debut Walt Disney Legacy Collection previews the forthcoming wave of True-Life Adventures, but it also reveals three new titles that are bound for release under this new two-disc line. Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic is one of them, with a newly-abbreviated title. The other two: Destino, the Oscar-nominated, long-unfinished collaboration between Walt Disney and artist Salvador Dali which finally came to fruition in 2003 via Roy Disney, and The Adventures of Oswald, which presumably will boast the surviving shorts of the lucky rabbit who was Walt Disney's first animated star and returned to the Disney family last February after more than 75 years away. While no date has been announced for the next three sets nor any contents clarified, the website contains conceptual cover art and the first wave's press release points to a release sometime in the first half of 2007.
November 20, 2006 - Aaron Wallace's new DVD review covers "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers": Volume 2, which comes close to putting Disney's late-'80s animated chipmunk detective series on DVD in its entirety. The 3-disc box set arrives, like Volume 1 did last November, with unspectacular picture and sound and nary a bonus feature. It does, however, deliver the standout 5-part pilot "Rescue Rangers to the Rescue" and 19 additional episodes. Though the show was created with a young audience in mind, it is "as well-rendered as any animated adventure show and can still out-entertain its successors 17 years later." Read the full 2-page review.
November 19, 2006 - Revised cover art for next January's new Disney Channel DVDs has come in. That's So Suite Life of Hannah Montana gets a major overhaul, while Read It and Weep's changes are more minimal, but both retain the goofy edition names. Click here to compare the old and new covers.
November 17, 2006 - A second and final wave of Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun! has been scheduled for February 13th. Volumes 3 and 4 will each clock in at around 55 minutes and carry a $14.99 SRP. Among the globally-set cartoons to be included are The Little House, Goofy's For Whom the Bulls Toil and Tiger Trouble, The Reluctant Dragon, Polar Trappers, Alpine Climbers, and the Johnny Appleseed segment of Melody Time.
Better late than never... Disney has just issued a detailed press release for the four two-disc Volumes of True-Life Adventures that form the debut wave of the brand new Walt Disney Legacy Collection. The announcement promises that each DVD set will be filled to the brim with extras from original trailers to relevant episodes of Walt's anthology series to newly-filmed featurettes of Roy Disney amidst the wildlife at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Scattered among the four sets are the 13 films in Walt Disney's influential and highly decorated True-Life Adventure series, as well as Perri, the lone True-Life Fantasy. Furthermore, the press release proclaims that subsequent titles in the Walt Disney Legacy Collection "will be announced in the coming months...for release throughout 2007 and beyond." Click here for the full press release with complete contents lists.
November 16, 2006 - Amazon.com has several Disney DVDs on sale for just $6.99 each (up to 65% off list price): Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 9 - Classic Holiday Stories (Review), Classic Cartoon Favorites: Volume 8 - Holiday Celebration with Mickey & Pals (Review), The Sword in the Stone (Review), and The Santa Clause 2 (Widescreen Edition) (Review). The etailer has also dropped prices on many other best-selling Disney titles. For more savings, see Top 100 Disney Bestsellers.
November 15, 2006 - Our latest DVD review looks at "Home Improvement": The Complete Fifth Season, which finds the highly-rated Tim Allen sitcom at its best, in the middle of its eight-season run. In 1995-96, the series takes some chances, while staying true to past years, and ends up delivering a number of its all-time finest episodes. Buena Vista's three-disc box is once again standard, providing only a worthwhile 7½-minute blooper reel for bonuses. The set does deserve praise for a fine presentation of the season's 26 episodes, with exemplary picture/sound and chapter stops and none of the all-too-frequent TV-on-DVD shortcomings. Click here for the full, 2-page, 34-image review.
November 14, 2006 - Ever try to find out if the DVDs you already own could have some hidden features locked away? You end up having to click a bunch of pages, only to be treated to short, poorly-written and often suspect user-submitted lists of Easter Eggs. We at UD don't like that, so we're bringing you a new site section today: Disney DVD Easter Eggs. In just one straightforward page, we lay out simple directions to accessing unannounced features on over 20 Disney DVDs. We've hit many of the big targets: every Pixar DVD, a number of Walt Disney Treasures, recent bestsellers like Narnia and Chicken Little, titles known for their unmarked goodies, even some Touchstone-branded discs. But surely there are many more out there, so we're asking for your help in expanding the page into a few all-inclusive pages. Every Disney DVD Easter egg uncovered will be verified and written about in a clear, direct fashion. Check out the page and be sure to e-mail any finds to email@example.com.
November 13, 2006 - As promised, we have a pre-release review of "Disney's Adventures of The Gummi Bears": Volume 1. One of the studio's two first animated television series, "Gummi Bears" played a significant part in laying the groundwork for the Disney Afternoon and other '80s cartoons. Twenty-one years after debuting, the series holds up fairly well. The 3-disc set holds the first half of the enduring series, delivering 11 half-hour and 36 quarter-hour episodes with spotty picture/sound and nary a bonus feature. Click here for the full review.
In the first of two DVD reviews set to appear today, Jake Lipson and Aaron Wallace collaborate on Monsters, Inc. in one of UD's most-requested critiques. Pixar's fantastic two-disc Collector's Edition treats the wonderful 2001 movie to flawless picture and sound plus a vast, satisfying slate of bonus features. Click here for the complete review.
November 10, 2006 - We've created a new page -- Disney Blu-ray -- which, you guessed it, provides details on all of Disney's earliest Blu-ray discs. Disney Blu-ray covers currently-available titles (Dinosaur, The Haunted Mansion, Eight Below, Glory Road) and upcoming releases that have been announced (The Wild, Sky High, Invincible). Each disc's technical specs are listed, along with its bonus features (distinguishing between Blu-ray exclusive and those ported-from-DVD). Click here to view our new Disney on Blu-ray page.
The Complete Seventh (and Final) Season of "The Golden Girls" has been scheduled for a February 13, 2007 DVD release. While there is not yet any word on bonus features, the 3-disc set will hold the sitcom's final 26 episodes and carry a $39.99 list price. Click here for cover art.
Disney continues to supply Apple's iTunes with new and exciting downloadable content. Yesterday was the DVD release of Pixar's Cars and the movie was concurrently made available for download at $12.99. On our forum, "That1GuyPictures" reports that iTunes' download of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey presents Disney's 1993 live action film in widescreen, unlike the DVD releases it has received worldwide. Finally, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, Walt Disney Records is opening its vaults to iTunes as well. Yesterday, the company's music branch made nineteen of its albums from over the years available for the first time to download, starting at $4.95 an album. Among the treasures unleashed are Burl Ives: Chim Chim Cheree and other Children's Choices, Mickey Mouse Disco, Walt Disney Presents Songs from the Mickey Mouse Club Serials, Annette, Rhythym of the Pridelands, and two low-priced 25-track Walt Disney Records Archive Collections (Vol. 1, Vol. 2). According to an Internet post made by Walt Disney Records producer Randy Thornton, the plan is to release every master whose rights are still owned by Disney, with the next wave slated for January 2007.
Recent Disney DVD Reviews:
• "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse": Mickey Saves Santa and Other Mouseketales - This year's lone new Christmas-themed Disney DVD, the holiday features in only one of the three episodes presented. Playhouse Disney's computer-animated series aims at a young demographic, but those of all ages should find something to like about this faithful extension to the careers of Mickey Mouse and his nearly 80-year-old cartoon companions.
• Baby Einstein: Baby's First Moves - The 22nd and latest entry to Disney's ongoing preschool franchise attempts to encourage physical movement in the extremely young. The program is a bit short on variety, presenting all the usual Baby Einstein ingredients in a calculated manner which may excite the tiniest of viewers, but bore those slightly older.
• The Santa Clause: Widescreen Special Edition - The blockbuster 1994 Christmas comedy is one of the most popular live action Disney films in recent years and with good reason: it offers a successful blend of heart, humor, and holiday fun. Its 2002 DVD re-release, however, is less delightful, losing the film's trailer and lacking any bonus of substance. Still, it provides stellar picture/sound, a handful of new extras, and a special Easter egg.
• Cars - Pixar's seventh feature may not be quite as perfect as its predecessors, but it is a great movie all the same, delighting with colorful characters, a likable story, and cutting-edge visuals. Its debut disc boasts flawless digital picture and sound, but falls well short of expectations in the bonus features department. What's here -- the newly-created short Mater and the Ghostlight, Oscar nominee One Man Band, the end credits epilogue, a featurette, four deleted scenes, and an Easter Egg -- is quite good, but it's what's not here that suggests that this may only be the first lap for John Lasseter's blockbuster 'toon.
• Tuck Everlasting - Likable adaptation of Natalie Babbitt's fantasy novel boasts an exceptional cast and tackles the compelling idea of immortality in a thoughtful, intelligent way. The now bargain-priced disc includes two commentaries, a "Lesson of Tuck" viewing mode, and an author featurette.
Recent Touchstone, Miramax, and Buena Vista DVD Reviews:
• "Ellen" The Complete Fourth Season - The year that the Touchstone sitcom broke ground by having its protagonist come out of the closet as network TV's first gay lead. The late-season twist earned the show its highest ratings, but came at a creative cost. A&E's 3-disc box set offers cast bios and writers' audio commentary on the historic two-parter.
To subscribe to UltimateDisney.com's free weekly newsletter and gain access to past issues, send an e-mail to UltimateDisneyfirstname.lastname@example.org or visit here.
E-mail UltimateDisney.com: tsdvd at yahoo.com
PAST NEWS UPDATES
November 1-15 Archives
October 16-31 Archives
October 1-15 Archives
Archives Index (goes back to July 2003)