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Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

November 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

phines-starwars

Enjoyable, and a lot of fun… “Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents” features 12 episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” plus a cool spy kit! Recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars

DURATION: 164 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Disney

RATED: TV G

RELEASE DATE: November 7, 2014

Directed by Zac Moncrief, Dan Povenmire, Robert Hughes, Jay Lender, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Written by Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, Martin Olson, John Colton Barry, Bobby Gaylor, Antoine Guilbaud, Aliki Theofilopoulos, Kim Roberson, Sherm Cohen, Chong Lee, Piero Piluso, May Chan, Kaz, Michael Diederich

Executive Producer: Dan Povenmire

Co-Executive Producer/Executive Producer: Jeff “Swampy Marsh

Line Producer: Natasha Kopp

Music by Danny Jacob

Edited by Ted Supa

Art Direction by Alan Bodner, Jill Daniels

Featuring the voices of:

Vincent Martella as Phineas

Thomas Sangster as Ferb

Ashley Tisdale as Candace/Stormtrooper Candace

Dan Povemire as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz/Darthenshmirtz

Jeff “Swampy” Marsh as Major Monogram

Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus

Caroline Rhea as Mom

Alyson Stoner as Isabella

Mitchell Musso as Jeremy

Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet

Richard O’Brien as Dad

Bobby Gaylor as Buford

Tyler Alexander Mann as Karl

Kelly Hu as Stacy

Olivia Olson as Vanessa

A couple of summers ago in a galaxy far, far away, Phineas and Ferb are happily basking in the glow of Tatooine’s twin suns — until plans for the Death Star accidentally fall into their hands, thrusting them (and Agent P) into a galactic rebellion and an epic struggle of good versus evil in PHINEAS AND FERB: STAR WARS(TM). Will Phineas and Ferb be able to resist the Dark Side? Will Stormtrooper Candace finally bust a Rebel? Can Agent P stop Darthenshmirtz from using his Force-powered “Sith-Inator”? Featuring five additional episodes for over two hours of action-packed fun, this mind-blowing, intergalactic adventure is a blast for all ages. May the Ferb be with you… always.

We have seen special collaborations with the popular animated series “Phineas and Ferb”.  From the 2013 release of “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” with Marvel Comics characters, for 2014, Disney is showcasing another collaboration with “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars”.

Set during “Episode IVa: May the Ferb Be With You”, on the desert planet of Tattoine, Phineas and Ferb work as moisture farmers.  Meanwhile, up in space, the Galactic Empire has recently completed the construction of the ultimate weapon known as the Death Star.

But the rebels learned about the Death Star’s plans and they sent out a platypus agent to obtain them, in hopes of trying to find a weakness.  Agent P gives Princess Leia the plans, which are then given to R2D2.

As Stormtrooper Candace discovers the plot of the stolen plans, she and her fellow stormtroopers try to get back the Death Star plans.

Meanwhile, Phineas and Ferb are given a data disc by R2D2 but not knowing how to play the disc, the two head to Mos Eisley and learn about the Death Star.  Knowing that these plans can help the rebel alliance, Phineas and Ferb must do what they can to get the plans to the rebels, before Stormtrooper Candace and her group takes it back.

Will they succeed?  Find out in a special episode of “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars”!

Also, included are five additional episodes: “For Your Ice Only/Happy New Year!”, “Steampunx/”It’s No Picnic”, “Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror (Parts 1 and 2)”, “Doof 101/Father’s Day” and “Tales from the Resistance (Parts 1 and 2)”.

What is “Phineas and Ferb”?

Since 2007, “Phineas and Ferb” has been an animated show that has been entertaining children (and also adults) on the Disney Channel with its running gags, interesting and hilarious characters.

With each episode, Phineas and Ferb are both working on a project and each time, their sister Candace is always scheming to finally bust them. Meanwhile, the evil scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is up to no good and Major Monogram and the secret agent Perry the Platypus (Agent P) are doing all they can to stop Doofenshmirtz.

The main characters of “Phineas and Ferb” are:

  • Phineas Flynn – One of the main protagonist of the show who joins his stepbrother Ferb in various projects.
  • Ferb Fletcher – The intelligent step-brother of Phineas who is from England and although quiet he happens to be an engineering genius. He also has a crush on Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.
  • Candace Flynn - A 15-year-old teen and the older sister of Phineas and step-sister to Ferb. She is always trying to bust her younger brothers. Meanwhile, she is dating Jeremy Johnson.
  • Perry the Platypus - The pet of the Flynn-Fletcher family and is thought of being useless. But the truth is that he is a special agent working for the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) and is constantly battling his nemesis Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
  • Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - A mad scientist and father of Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. his goal is to take control of the Tri-State area.
  • Isabella Garcia-Shapiro – A friend of Phineas and Ferb and has a crush on Phineas. Also, has skills to help the boys courtesy of her involvement with the Fireside Girls.
  • Major Monogram – The head of the O.W.C.A. and responsible for sending Perry out on missions.
  • Linda Flynn-Fletcher – The mother of Phineas and Candace and step-mother of Ferb.
  • Baljeet Rai – The Indian-American neighbor of Phineas and Ferb and is very smart but constantly bullied by Buford.
  • Buford Van Stomm – Because of his size, he is looked at as a bully but the truth is that he’s a nice kid who tries to act tough.
  • Lawrence Fletcher – Father of Ferb and step-father to Phineas and Candace.
  • Jeremy Johnson – The boyfriend of Candace.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) – enhanced for 16×9 televisions and is presented in English 2.0 Dolby Digital.

Each of the episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” sport vibrant colors and for the most part, picture quality should be fine for the children. If anything, the series is known for its unique character design and for the most part, the animation is quite enjoyable to watch because it’s quite different with the characters and their geometric shaped heads.

Dialogue and music are clear and are heard clearly through the front and center channels.

Subtitles are in English SDH

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” comes with five full length episodes.

EXTRAS:

“Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” comes with a slipcover case. Also, included is a Perry in Carbonite keychain.

In the past few years, thanks to my young son, my wife and I have been following the adventures of “Phineas and Ferb”.

With Marvel and the “Star Wars” franchise now becoming owned by Disney, it has been no surprise to see these special collaborations.  And in 2014, the collaboration with LucasFilm Ltd. has been a positive as we get a beautifully animated special feature featuring the “Phineas and Ferb” characters in the “Star Wars” universe.

While the story was a fascinating take on “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope”, seeing the Star Wars universe animated for “Phineas and Ferb” was rather fascinating, especially to see Candace as a Stormtrooper, Darthenshmirtz and seeing Perry encased in carbon was very fun and the attention to detail on the “Star Wars” vehicles and giving their own spin to them was also pretty cool to see as well.

The “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” episode is your standard 20-minute full-length episode, so in order to bulk up this DVD release, Disney added five full-length episodes.  Episodes that are perfect for the winter holiday but also episodes that will no doubt entertain the children during winter break.

Included are the season four episodes such as “For Your Ice Only” as Phineas and Ferb play hockey with the help of NHL legend Luc Robitaille, Phineas and Ferb planning their own New Year’s Eve ball drop for “Happy New Year!”,

In “Steampunx”, Phineas and Ferb go back in time for the 1903 Danville World’s Fair and for “It’s No Picnic”, Buford and Baljeet get into a food fight.

For “Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror”, the two part episode is a three part tale.  Candace turns her Ducky Momo plushie into a living and breathing doll that stalks her, Dr. Doofenshmirtz discovers a giant floating baby head that grants cursed wishes and Phineas and Ferb must stop the evil platypuses.

In “Doof 101″, Dr. Doofenshmirtz gets punished with community service for being evil.  In “Father’s Day”, Perry tries to help Doof retrieve his father’s old lawn gnome.

And in “Tales from the Resistance”, the two part tale features the aftermath of the “Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension” and a new threat emerges from the 2nd Dimension.

Overall, “Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars” is a magnificent release that children and the young at heart will enjoy.  You get a fantastic “Star Wars” episode, five full length episodes and also a Perry-in-Carbonite keychain!  All for a great price and just in time for the winter holiday!

Recommended!


Thor: The Dark World (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

thor-darkworld

 If you were a fan of  the first “Thor”  film and you can’t get enough of Marvel action films, “Thor: The Dark World” is an action-packed Marvel superhero film that looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray!  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Thor: Dark World

FILM RELEASE: 2013

DURATION: 95 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese

COMPANY: Marvel/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Directed by Alan Taylor

Written by Christopher Yost, Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely

Story by Don Payne, Robert Rodat

Based on the Comic Book by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby

Producer: Kevin Feige

Executive Produer: Victoria Alonso, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Nigel Gostelow, Craig Kyle, stan Lee

Line Producer: Leifur B. Dagfinnsson

Music by Brian Tyler

Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau

Edited by Dan Lebental, Wyatt Smith

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by Charles Wood

Set Decoration by Guani Lindal Benediktsson, John Bush

Costume Design by Wendy Partridge

Starring:

Chris Hemsworth as Thor

Natalie Portman as Jane Foster

Tom Hiddleston as Loki

Anthony Hopkins as Odin

Christopher Eccleston as Malekith

Jaimie Alexander as Sif

Zachary Levi as Fandral

Ray Stevenson as Volstagg

Tadanobu Asano as Hogun

Idris Elba as Heimdall

Rene Russo as Frigga

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Algrim/Kurse

Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis

Stellan Skarsgard as Erik Selvig

Alice Krige as Eir

Clive Russell as Tyr

Buried beneath the Arctic ice since the Cold War, genetically modified Soviet soldiers have been rediscovered, reactivated and are ready to unleash devastating destruction. They are cold-blooded killing machines with super-human strength and one man, a scientist who has been searching for them his entire life, will try to stop the carnage before they complete their terrifying, top-secret mission. Dominic Purcell (TV’s “Prison Break”), Michael Ironside (X-Men: First Class) and Adam Beach (Cowboys & Aliens) star in this pulse-pounding, action-packed thriller.

With the success of the 2011 Marvel superhero film “Thor”, which earned over $449 million in the box office worldwide, there was no doubt that a sequel was going to be made.

And in 2013, the sequel titled “Thor: The Dark World” would go on to have even more amazing success, earning over $638 million in the box office.

Directed by Alan Taylor (“The Emperor’s new Clothes”, “Palookaville”, “Game of Thrones”), “Thor: The Dark World” would feature an all-star cast starring Chris Hemsworth (“The Avengers”, “Thor”, “Rush”, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”), Natalie Portman (“Star Wars” films, “Black Swan”, “Leon the Professional”, “V for Vendetta”), Tom Hiddleston (“The Avengers”, “War Horse”), Anthony Hopkins (“Hannibal”, “Red Dragon”, “The Elephant Man”), Christopher Eccleston (“G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, “Elizabeth”), Jaime Alexander (“Rest Stop”, “The Last Stand”, “Kyle XY”), Zachari Levi (“Chuck”, “Tangled”, “Less Than Perfect”), Ray Stevenson (“Punisher: War Zone”, “The Book of Eli”), Tadanobu Asano (“Battleship”, “Ichi the Killer”), Idris Elba (“Pacific Rim”, “RocknRolla”, “Prometheus”), Rene Russo (“The Thomas Crown Affair”, :Lethal Weapon 3″, “Outbreak”, “Ransom”), Aweale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Lost”, “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”, “The Bourne Identity”), Kat Dennings (“2 Broke Girls”, “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”, “The 40-yeear-old Virgin”) and Stellan Skarsgard (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “Good Will Hunting”).

And now “Thor: The Dark World” will be released as a single Blu-ray and also on Blu-ray 3D and DVD in Feb. 2014.

“Thor: The Dark World” begins with an introduction to a war on Asgard as Odin’s father, Bor, fought against the Dark Elf Malekith, possessor of the weapon known as the Aether, which he can destroy the world with.

The Asgardians won the war, conquering the Dark Elves including their enhanced warriors known as the Kursed. And as for the Aethir, Bor has kept it inside stone, so it can never be used for evil again.

But as Bor and the Asgardians thought they have defeated all Dark Elves, Malektih, Lt. Algrim and a few of their clan have escaped and were in suspended animation.

Fast forward to the present and Loki (portrayed by Tom Hiddleston) is imprisoned for his war crimes on Earth (as featured in “The Avengers”).  And as for Thor (portrayed by Chris Hemsworth), he and his Agardian warriors which include Fandral (portrayed by Zachary Levi), Volstagg (portrayed by Ray Stevenson) and Lady Sif (portrayed by Jaime Alexander) fight their enemies in Vanaheim, as they try to pacify the Nine Realms.

But the group learns that the Convergence, when the alignment of the Nine Realms will link worlds at random.

Back on Earth, astrophysicist Dr. Jane Foster (portrayed by Natalie Portman) and her intern Darcy Lewis (portrayed by Kat Dennings) get a spike on their equipment and making the two wonder if that means Thor is coming back.  And we learn that Jane has not seen Thor for two years and there has not been any communication between the two.

As Jane, Darcy and her intern begin to investigate, they notice a group of kids who found some sort of unusual portal in which objects that are dropped, will return back from the top….sometimes.

As Jane goes to investigate, she ends up traveling to another world and her body becomes infected with Aether.

As Thor is visiting his friend Heimdall (portrayed by Idris Elba), to check if everything is fine with Jane, Heimdall is no longer able to read her and Thor becomes concerned.

Back on Earth, Jane wakes up and is reunited with Darcy. She learns that she has been gone for five hours and they are surrounded by police, meanwhile rain is pouring everywhere, except around her.

As police go to arrest Jane for trespassing, immediately the Aether begins reacting on its own and repels the police officers.   Thor arrives and as both he and Jane reunite, she is upset with him for not communicating with her for the past two years.

But concerned about her well-being, Thor breaks Asgardian law by bringing a human to Asgard for medical help.  As Odin arrives and is upset with his son for bringing Jane to Asgard, the Aether begins to work again and Odin recognizes the Aether and explains to Thor that the Aether will kill Jane and that the fact that it has returned, can only mean that the Dark Elves are back and that a catastrophic prophecy make come true.

As for the Dark Elves in a suspended state, all have awaken due to the Aether’s release and now, he and the Kursed go to Asgard to get back the Aether. Which leads Thor and the Asgardians to fight their enemy.

As chaos takes place in Asgard, Thor’s mother Frigga (portrayed by Rene Russo) uses her holographic technology to protect Jane from being found.  Malekith arrives with the Dark Elves and Frigga tries to fight and defend Jane from being caught by them and in the process, she is killed by Malekith but was able to protect Jane from being found.

Distraught by how powerful the enemy is and the death of his mother, Thor knows that the only way they can beat Malekith is by going to the Dark Elves home of Svartalheim and using Jane to draw Malekith out and getting his revenge on Malekith.  But the only person that has access to enter Svartalheim in Asgard is Loki.

But can Thor trust Loki by freeing him from his imprisonment?

VIDEO:

“Thor: The Dark World” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1). And for those who have owned previous Marvel films from Disney know already that Disney goes all out in picture quality for their Blu-ray releases.

Picture quality is amazing as Asgard is absolutely beautiful!  Skintones are natural, there is no banding, artifact or any crush.  This is a beautiful film that looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray!  Great colors, visual effects are amazing and overall, picture quality will be loved by videophiles!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Thor: The Dark World” not only looks fantastic, the lossless audio is absolutely magnificent.  Presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, the lossless soundtrack is what audiophiles want to hear from a film with a plethora of action scenes.  The surround channel is utilized heavily and also fantastic use of LFE.

This is an active soundtrack and definitely one of the best lossless soundtracks I have heard on a Blu-ray release in 2014.

Subtitles are in English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Thor: The Dark World” comes with the following special features:

  • Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King – (13:51) A fascinating short film which includes Trevor Slattery (who played “The Mandarin” in “Iron Man 3″).  And for any Marvel Comic book fan who criticized “Iron Man 3″ for the way “The Mandarin” was used, will no doubt love this Marvel One Shot!  Prepare to be surprised!
  • A Brother’s Journey: Thor & Loki – (31:39) A two part look at the relationship of Thor and Loki from the first film and the sequel.  Plus interviews with the cast.
  • Exclusive Look: Captain America: The Winter Soldier – (3:35) Behind-the-scenes of the “Captain America” sequel.
  • Scoring Thor: The Dark World with Bryan Tyler – (5:21) A featurette with composer Brian Tyler and discussion of the films’ score.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (7:49) Featuring six deleted and alternate scenes with optional audio commentary.
  • Gag Reel – (3:30) A fun bloopers featurette.
  • The Dark World Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Alan Taylor, cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau, producer and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and actor Tom Hiddleston.

I grew up reading the “Thor” comic books from Marvel.   And he was one of my favorite characters because not only did he have the strength to fight powerful enemies but also hold off the Incredible Hulk, but he was also naive and a hit with the women!

But it was also a storyline unlike other Marvel superhero storylines because it included Norse Mythology and featured a different world as a lot of the action was featured in Asgard than on Earth, so while connected to the Marvel Universe (especially with “The Avengers”), it was different because of its many characters that were featured in Asgard.

And it’s what I wanted to see with the latest film, more Asgard, more of the Asgardian warriors and this is what we get with the sequel “Thor: The Dark World”.

The way the world of Asgard is created and the various lands, its creatures, the Dark Elves, everything about the film featured wonderful visual effects, costume and set design, I was very impressed by the visual aspect of the film.

And we also get a little of the naive, charismatic Thor in this film as he goes back between Asgard and Earth.  And we get more of the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster, rekindled after two years later and suffice to say, the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman was done very well and as usual, Kat Denning’s Darcy manages to steal the scene with her blunt humor and actions.

And also, what I enjoyed about the film is how “Thor: The Dark World” was able to feature a continuance of the storyline post-The Avengers and continue to have the connection, as what “Iron Man 3″ was able to accomplish.

The film delivers in action, visual effects and humor and there is no doubt that the film sets up viewers for a third film with its surprising ending.  While not a perfect storyline, I still enjoyed it over the first film.

As for the Blu-ray release, “Thor: The Dark World” has emerged as one of my favorite Blu-ray releases for early 2014 due to its fantastic picture quality and lossless audio.  This is a title that videophiles and audiophiles want to see in a Blu-ray release, fantastic PQ and AQ and you’re getting it!

There is also a good number of special features included and for any Marvel fan, the “Marvel One Shot: All Hail the King” will no doubt enjoy the return of Trevor Slattery but also the big surprise that this feature delivers.  Suffice to say, I think this can easily segue to another Iron Man storyline or perhaps another Marvel character that has been long discussed for having a feature live-action film, Dr. Strange.

But for the most part, this Blu-ray release of “Thor: The Dark World” is fantastic and when it comes to visual and lossless audio, it’s definitely a heavyweight contender for best lossless soundtrack for a Blu-ray release for 2014.

Overall,  if you were a fan of  the first “Thor”  film and you can’t get enough of Marvel action films, “Thor: The Dark World” is an action-packed Marvel superhero film that looks and sounds wonderful on Blu-ray!  Recommended!

Mickey’s Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 15, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

mickeyschristmascarol

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a wonderful Disney Blu-ray release for parents looking to keep children occupied during the Winter holiday but for videophiles expecting a definitive Blu-ray release for “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, may be disappointed by the excessive use of DNR.

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Mickey’s Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1983

DURATION: 58 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English SDH

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: November 5, 2013

Directed by Burny Mattinson

Based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Story Adaptation by Burny Mattinson, Tony Marino, Ed Gombert, Don Griffith, Alan Young and Alan Dinehart

Produced by Burny Mattinson

Music by Irwin Kostal

Edited by Armetta Jackson-Hamlett, James Melton

Art Direction by Don Griffith

Starring:

Alan Young as Ebenezer Scrooge – Scrooge McDuck

Wayne Allwine as Bob Cratchit, Mickey Mouse, Weasel Gravedigger, Beggar Dog

Hal Smith as Jacob Marley’s Ghost – Goofy, Collector for the Poor #1

Will Ryan as Collector for the Poor #2, The Ghost of Christmas Present – Willie the Giant, Ghost of Christmas Future (Pete)

Eddie Carroll as Ghost of Christmas Past, Jimini Cricket

Patricia Parris as Belle, Daisy Duck

Dick Billingsley as Tiny Tim

Clarence Nash as Nephew Fred, Donald Duck

Ring in the holidays with a new 30th Anniversary Special Edition of Mickey’s Christmas Carol. Disney’s timeless tale sparkles like never before on Blu-ray and Digital Copy, with fully-restored classic holiday shorts, plus all-new bonus features.

Make the season merry as Mickey, Goofy, Donald and all their pals star in a heartwarming retelling of Dickens’ unforgettable holiday tale. Ebenezer Scrooge (Scrooge McDuck) is far too greedy to understand that Christmas is a time for kindness and generosity. But with the guidance of some wise ghosts (Goofy and Jiminy Cricket) and a bunch of newfound friends, Scrooge learns to embrace the spirit of the season. Share this wonderful holiday treat with the whole family.

For the first time on Blu-ray, Walt Disney’s “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” will be released  as part of its 30th Anniversary.

While “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” has been released as part of “Walt Disney’s Animation Collection” for its “Classic Short Films” line, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (which is a little over 25-minutes long) will be released with five classic holiday shorts and while the short is paused, Mickey and friends will sing Christmas carols such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells”  with all his friends.

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a 1983 adaptation of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” and is an animated retelling of the Charles Dickens masterpiece, Scrooge McDuck plays Ebenezer Scrooge who is tight with money and puts money above everything.

Even on Christmas Eve, his poor employee Bob Cratchit (Mickey Mouse) is docked pay for Christmas vacation after Bob asks for Christmas Day to spend with his family.

But it’s when the “Ghosts of Christmas Past” pays a visit to Ebenezer and show him that he should have compassion for people or else…

Included are the following bonus shorts in HD:

  • “Yodelberg” – (3:33) Yodelberg is a new animated short by Disney in which both Mickey and Minnie are often in a yodeling duet but an avalanche threatens to put an end to their yodeling.
  • “The Hockey Champ” – (7:28) – A 1939 Technicolor animated short featuring Donald Duck as he tries to teach his three nephews on how to play hockey.
  • “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” – (6:46) A 1952 Technicolor animated short.  Mickey cuts down a Christmas tree which is inhabited by two chipmunks: Chip and Dale and with Mickey and Pluto decorating the tree, Pluto is disturbed in finding out that the tree has two inhabitants living there.
  • “The Art of Skiing” – (7:54) A 1941 Technicolor animated short featuring Goofy as he tries to show the art of downhill skiing.
  • “Corn Chips” – (6:57) A 1952 Technicolor animated short featuring Donald trying to trick Chip n Dale to shovel snow off his walk.

VIDEO:

The last time I have reviewed “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” was back in 2009 as part of the “Walt Disney Animation Collection Vol. 7: Classic Short Films – Mickey’s Christmas Carol” DVD review and my comments back in 2009 were:

Walt Disney Animation Collection” is featured with an aspect ratio of 1:33:1.  These classics are available on DVD for the first time but its important to mention that these animated shorts have not been digitally remastered or cleaned up.

As a matter of fact, you will see a lot of the dust and scratches of the film and some of the animation look fine for being nearly 70 years old but others look grainy and a bit aged.  Granted, these are not classic full featured films but I hope one of these days, many of these classics do get cleaned up or even digitally remastered.

Fast forward to 2013 and here we are with a Blu-ray version of the short and Disney mentions that these are “fully restored classic holiday shorts”.

First, let me discuss the positive.  For those who want a more colorful, sharper and not as grainy version of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, then the Blu-ray will surely satisfy you.  Now the negative, if you are a person who is against use of Digital Noise Reduction (DNR), then you will be disappointed to know that the grain that I discussed in my older review is gone.  There appears to be an overuse of it that while colorful, it’s almost as if things look painted in a smudgy kind of way.  So, for those wanting or were expecting an HD upgrade that compliments what people have seen on DVD, the heavy use of DNR is not going to appeal to some people, while those who dislike grain may like this version more.

It’s important to note that the some of the video used during the Christmas intermission (when you pause during “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”) is lower-res, so you are going to see a lot of compression.  I was a bit surprised that this video was used for the intermission instead of other footage that may have been much easier and looks much better to use for the intermission.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0.  These shorts never had great dynamic range to begin with and even on the older Disney shorts collections on DVD, I would switch to stereo on all channels on my receiver.  But because the audio is in lossless stereo, it’s still a slight a step up from the previous DVD releases of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol” comes with the following bonus shorts plus a Christmas Disney Intermission that plays when “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is paused.  You can hear Mickey and friends singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells”.

  • “Yodelberg” – (3:33) Yodelberg is a new animated short by Disney in which both Mickey and Minnie are often in a yodeling duet but an avalanche threatens to put an end to their yodeling.
  • “The Hockey Champ” – (7:28) – A 1939 Technicolor animated short featuring Donald Duck as he tries to teach his three nephews on how to play hockey.
  • “Pluto’s Christmas Tree” – (6:46) A 1952 Technicolor animated short.  Mickey cuts down a Christmas tree which is inhabited by two chipmunks: Chip and Dale and with Mickey and Pluto decorating the tree, Pluto is disturbed in finding out that the tree has two inhabitants living there.
  • “The Art of Skiing” – (7:54) A 1941 Technicolor animated short featuring Goofy as he tries to show the art of downhill skiing.
  • “Corn Chips” – (6:57) A 1952 Technicolor animated short featuring Donald trying to trick Chip n Dale to shovel snow off his walk.

EXTRAS:

“Mickey’s Christmas Carol”comes with a Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy of the short and a slipcover.

As a child, I can easily remember my prized possession was a Walt Disney book that my father purchased for me and it featured the chronology of the early classic Walt Disney animated shorts.  Some of these shorts were shown on the Disney Channel when I was younger but suffice to say, with all the new animation being released by Disney, a lot of these classics have yet to be seen by the newer generation or to be released on video (as many have only been released on VHS).

But with the release of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, one of my favorite Disney Christmas shorts has now been released on Blu-ray and if only “The Small One” was included with this Blu-ray release, I would have been more thrilled.

But with this release alone, I know many Disney fans may wonder if it’s definitely worth picking up, especially if they own the 2005 DVD release of “Walt Disney’s Classic Cartoon Favorites, Vol. 09 – Classic Holiday Stories (1952-1983)”” and the 2009 DVD release of “Walt Disney Animation Collection Vol. 7: Classic Short Films – Mickey’s Christmas Carol” DVD release.

With the 2009 DVD release, I felt Disney did fans a service because both “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “The Small One” were released together.  Both have a very touching storyline and for those like myself who are fans of Disney animated shorts, it would have been great if Disney included both together.

But Disney opted to feature five bonus shorts including the newer “Yodelberg” with this Blu-ray release along with “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and for the most part, people should be stoked.

Unfortunately, as one side of me is thrilled to see “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” on Blu-ray, the overuse of DNR was overlydone.  While parents purchasing this Blu-ray release for their children, will probably not mind.  For those who are Disney fans wanting to see this animated short in its best presentation may be slightly disappointed.

I do prefer grain and I don’t like overuse of DNR but I do know there is another side of casual fans who dislike grain and may prefer the use of DNR and probably not care of how it looked like before on DVD, as long as the grain is gone.  So, I was hoping there would be a happy medium but instead, Disney opted to remove as much grain as possible and in the process, that does affect the look of the short by making things look a bit smudgier.

So, with that being said, if you are anti-DNR and the mere mention of DNR will upset you, then you should be good with the older 2005 and 2009 DVD release of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, but if you are not too picky with picture quality and are excited more by the fact that these shorts are on Blu-ray or just looking for a holiday Disney animation release for the kids, then I can easily recommend this Blu-ray .

By knowing that videophiles will probably be disappointed with the picture quality of “Mickey’s Christmas Carol: 30th Anniversary Edition”, I will then shift my review more for the parents who want a holiday Disney DVD animated release for the children.

Your children will get a total of nearly an hour worth of Disney Christmas animated shorts featuring Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald Duck and Goofy and they can sing along to the Christmas Carols with Mickey and friends when you hit pause during your viewing of a short. While it would have been awesome if Disney would have included their holiday short, “The Small One”, for almost an hour worth of content, it may be slightly pricey for some people, especially as we tend to expect a lot more from Disney.

Overall, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is a wonderful Disney Blu-ray release for parents looking to keep children occupied during the Winter holiday but for videophiles expecting a definitive Blu-ray release for “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”, may be disappointed by the excessive use of DNR.

Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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“Robin Hood” is a family fun film that families can sit down and enjoy together.  With the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray, with the wonderful digital restoration, it’s now the definitive version of the film to own.  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1988

DURATION: 83 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French DTS-HD HR 4.1, Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1,  Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman

Story by Larry Clemmons

Character and Story Conceptions by Ken Anderson

Story Sequences by Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry, Frank Thomas, Eric Cleworth, Julius Svendsen and David Michener

Produced by Wolfgang Reitherman

Music by George Bruns

Edited by Tom Acosta, James Melton

Art Direction by Don Griffith

Featuring the voices of:

Roger Miller as Allan-a-Dale

Peter Ustinov as Prince John/King Richard

Terry Thomas as Sir Hiss

Brian Bedford as Robin Hood

Monica Evans as Maid Marian

Phil Harris as Little John

Andy Devine as Friar Tuck

Carole Shelley as Lady Kluck

Pat Buttram as Sheriff of Nottingham

George Lindsey as Trigger

Ken Curtis as Nutsy

To commemorate its 40th anniversary, Disney proudly presents the unforgettable animated classic Robin Hood on Blu-ray for the first time ever. Experience all the fun, thrills and celebrated music of this legendary adventure with perfect picture and sound! Join Robin Hood, his trusted companion Little John and his hilarious band of Merry Men as they outfox greedy Prince John to save the good people of Nottingham. Dashing from one daring deed to the next, Robin won’t rest until he wins the hand of Maid Marian and restores King Richard to the throne. One of Disney’s most beloved movies is even better on Blu-ray Combo Pack!

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In 1973, “Robin Hood”, Disney’s 21st animated feature of the Walt Disney Animated Classics series was released in theaters.

Based on the legend of “Robin Hood”, the Disney animated feature would feature animals as the characters and because the film was made on a small budget, many of the footage for the film was referenced from previous animated features, including dance sequences traced from sequences that were used for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”, “The Jungle Book” and “The Aristocats”.

The film received positive reviews at the time and the film received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Song” for the track “Love” performed by Nancy Adams (and written by Floyd Huddleston and George Bruns).

“Robin Hood” was re-released in 1982 and also was nominated by the American Film Institute as part of their “Top 10 Animated Films” list.

And now 40-years later, “Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” will be released in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack in August 2013.

The film begins with a narration by the rooster Alan-a-Dale who explains the story about Robin Hood and Little John who live in Sherwood Forest.  Both are wanted by the Sheriff of Nottingham for stealing but both have earned their reputation of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

And times are very tough for the poor living in Nottingham.  When Prince John and his assistant, the snake named Sir Hiss arrive in town, Sir Hiss puts King Richard in a hypnotized state and leaves his throne to go on the Crusades.

This allows Prince John to take the throne and become the new king.

But the new King is cruel.  He has the Sheriff become the new tax collector and making sure he takes money from the poor.  But Prince John is also after both Robin Hood and Little John putting a bounty on their heads.

Meanwhile, when the Sheriff tries to take money from Friar Tuck and also a poor family of Rabbits (especially Skippy who was given a coin for his birthday), a disguised Robin Hood comes to visit and he gives Skippy a bow, but also a Robin Hood hat, but also making sure that he gives the rabbits money for their guardian to properly take care of them.

Excited about his new gift, Skippy tests his archery skills by ends up shooting an arrow inside castle grounds.  As Skippy sneaks inside the castle to retrieve the arrow, Skippy meets Maid Marian and her attendant Lady Kluck.  When Maid Marian realizes that Skippy looks up to Robin Hood as a hero, Skippy’s friends who are invited to come into the castle by Maid Marian ask many questions wondering if she and Robin Hood are in a relationship.

Maid Marian tells the children that she and Robin Hood were sweethearts during childhood and when asked if they kissed, Maid Marian blushes but explains that she has not seen Robin in years.

Meanwhile, Friar Tuck finds out that an archery tournament will be taking place.  He tells Robin and Little John and when Robin finds out that the winner gets a kiss from Maid Marian, Robin decides to participate in the tournament and disguises himself as a stork.  But Sir Hiss find out that Robin is in disguise and immediately Prince John tries to have Robin arrested and executed.

Will Robin be able to escape from Prince John?

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VIDEO:

“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition for the very first time. The first thing you will notice how the colors are much more vibrant, details are much more pronounced.  For example, in the previous DVD release, there was darkness when it came to the colors.  With Prince John’s coat, it was dark blue and the backgrounds were dark blue but with the digital restoration, his robe is now light blue and you can see the gradient colors much more clearly with the curtained background.

The colors are much more vibrant, the film does not look like it’s 40-years-old.  In fact, Disney must have done major restoration work because the film is clean!  No aging, no white specks or dust.  The film looks magnificent on Blu-ray and if there is one reason to upgrade, it’s because this film looks much better than it ever has with this Blu-ray release!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD HR and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1.  Dialogue is crystal clear from Allan-a-Dale’s whistles to the spoken dialogue and music.  I didn’t hear any pops, any hiss.  The lossless soundtrack was very good, but it is mostly front channel driven.  I didn’t notice too much use of the surround channels for this film.  But for the most part, fans of the film should be pleased with the crystal clear lossless soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Never-Before-Seen Deleted Story Line “Love Letters” – (7:33) A deleted storyline featuring concept art and voice acting.
  • Alternate Ending – (4:34) Featuring an alternate ending presented in sketch format.
  • Music & More – Disney Song Collection– Play the individual songs for “Oo-de-lally”, “Love”, “The Phony King of England” with optional lyrics on screen.
  • Robin Hood’s Merry Games - Featuring two “Robin Hood” games: “Archery Trivia Challenge” and “Rescue Maid Marian”.
  • Backstage Disney: Robin Hood Art Gallery – View via still gallery (using remote or keyboard to cycle through images) or stills presented via a video gallery.
  • Ye Olden Days – (8:14) A classic black and white animated short from 1933 featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Dippy Dawg.

EXTRAS:

“Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover and a DVD plus a digital copy version of the film.

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“Robin Hood” was a family film that I can remember growing up, going with my mom and my little brother and watching the re-release in the theater.

Before I watched any live action film or played any video game in regards to Robin Hood, my primary knowledge as a child of the hero was through this Walt Disney animated film.

Watching “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray for the first time in possibly three decades later, my impression of the film hasn’t changed all that much.

For a Disney animated film, it has what one expects and that is action, drama but also a storyline that would attract children and adults.  Of course, decades later, there are some critics who feel the animated film doesn’t hold up to other well-known Disney animated classics but for me, I felt that 40-years-later, “Robin Hood” is still a family film that will entertain adults and children.

I suppose it’s a film that is quite subjective to the viewer but I enjoyed how the film has that sketched out look and while I do acknowledge that backgrounds are not as detailed as older Disney animated films, when it comes down to story, the Disney adaptation of “Robin Hood”, the use of animals and also the innocent nature of the younger characters, the film still holds up after all these years as there are action scenes, dramatic elements and plenty of humor.

With this 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood”, while I would have loved to see more special features, you do get the never-before-seen deleted story line “Love Letters”.  All the previous special features from the 2006 DVD are still included but this time around, you get the definitive version of “Robin Hood” thanks to its picture quality via Blu-ray.

The animated film classic looks better than ever and there are obvious differences with the vibrant colors and better contrast in the new digital restoration versus the previous DVD version that fans of the film will most definitely want to upgrade to Blu-ray.  You also get a lossless soundtrack featuring crystal clear dialogue and music.

“Robin Hood” is a family fun film that families can sit down and enjoy together.  With the release of the 40th Anniversary Edition of “Robin Hood” on Blu-ray, with the wonderful digital restoration, it’s now the definitive version of the film to own.

Recommended!

Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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The 1998 classic animated Disney film “Oliver and Company”  would help crossover traditional hand-drawn animation with computer animation and would lead Disney into computer animated films for the 90′s.  “Oliver and Company” is wonderful family film based on Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ and for fans of the film, this 25th Anniversary Blu-ray release is the definitive version of the film to own!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney.  All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1988

DURATION: 74 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH

COMPANY: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

RATED: G (General Audiences)

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Directed by George Scribner

Screenplay by Jim Cox, Tim Disney and James Mangold

Based on the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens

Music by J.A.C. Redford

Edited by Mark A. Hester, James Melton

Casting by Mary V. Buck, Susan Edelman

Art Direction by Dan Hansen

Featuring the voices of:

Joseph Lawrence as Oliver (Voice)

Billy Joel as Dodger (Voice)

Cheech Marin as Tito (Voice)

Richard Mulligan as Einstein (Voice)

Roscoe Lee Browne as Francis (Voice)

Sheryl Lee Ralph as Rita (Voice)

Dom DeLuise as Fagin (Voice)

Taurean Blacque as Roscoe (Voice)

Carl Weintraub as Desoto (Voice)

Robert Loggia as Sykes (Voice)

Natalie Gregory as Jenny (Voice)

William Glover as Winston (Voice)

Bette Midler as Georgette (Voice)

Oliver, a feisty young cat, explores New York in this thrilling animated classic cleverly based on Charles Dickens’ timeless story, Oliver Twist – featuring unforgettable songs performed by musical greats Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and Bette Midler!  Joined by a pack of hilarious characters – dogs Dodger, Tito and their pals – Oliver learns that the strong survive by keeping their dreams alive.  And when he is adopted by Jenny, Oliver knows he’s found a lifelong friend and a real home.

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“Oliver and Company”, the 1988 classic animated family film from Walt Disney was indeed a special film.  I remember watching this as a teenager and being in awe of how Disney would capture the city of New York with it hand-drawn animation, how the film would feature Billy Joel in his first voice acting role and featuring music from Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and Bette Midler.

The film would also feature the voices of a young Joseph Lawrence, Cheech Marin, Richard Mulligan, Roscoe Lee Browne, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Dom De Luise and Bette Midler.

But here we are 25 years later and “Oliver and Company” would now also be remembered as the film that would bring Walt Disney’s animated films from the traditional hand drawn style and eventually leading it to the digital age as the first Disney animated film to incorporate computers.  Also, a new generation of Disney films that would have a slight bit of edginess for a family film and would lead to many other films that would follow the route paved by “Oliver and Company” such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, “Beauty and the Beast” and many more.

And now, “Oliver and Company” will be celebrating its 25th Anniversary and what best than for Disney to give the film the HD treatment and release it on Blu-ray!

The film is loosely based on the Charles Dickens classic “Oliver Twist” but instead of humans, focus on a cat named Oliver (voiced by Joey Lawrence).  As a group of kittens are being sold on the street, unfortunately Oliver, an orange striped kitten is the only one not bought.  He is left alone inside the box during a rainstorm and the rain weakens the box where he has slept and thus leaving him to roam the New York streets by himself.

Oliver tries to be cute and not be trampled during the busy New York streets.  He just wants to be loved but no one is interested in taking care of a stray kitten.

Oliver eventually meets up with Dodger (voiced by Billy Joel), a street talking dog (a terrier) that asks for his help in helping him steal some hot dogs from hot dog vendor.  Eventually, the two succeed but Dodger runs off with the hot dogs.  Oliver goes in pursuit and ends up at the wharf where he meets Dodger’s friends.   Tito (voiced by Cheech Marin), a tough street-smart chihuahua; Einstein (voiced by Richard Mulligan),  a smart Great Dane; Francis (voiced by Roscoe Lee Browne), a bulldog who is often serious and likes elegant things and Rita (voiced by Sheryl Lee Ralph), a Saluki and the female member of the group.

The dogs are more or less thieves that help their owner, Fagin (voiced by Dom Deluise) out by bringing things they have stole and he tries to get the money from these items to payoff a loan shark named Sykes (Robert Loggia) who sends his two doberman pinschers Roscoe and Desoto in to threaten Fagin and remind him that he needs to pay back his loan in three days or else…

Meanwhile Roscoe starts to flirt with Rita and Desoto threatens Oliver.  But Oliver fights back and scratches Desoto’s nose and before the Doberman’s can hurt Oliver, Fagin’s dogs band together to protect Oliver.  Dodger was impressed with Oliver defending himself, that he makes Oliver a member of the gang.

For Oliver, all he wanted was to be loved by someone and have a family.  And now, these dogs are his new family.

As the story progresses, the gang of dogs decided to find their next person to steal from.  It happens to be the very rich Foxworthy family and while the dogs try to steal from the butler/limo driver Winston, Oliver ends up getting tangled and rescued by Jenny, the daughter of the Winston family who then takes Oliver into their family, cares for him and eventually the two bond.

Meanwhile, Dodger and friends feel they need to rescue Oliver and try to find a way to help their owner Fagin.

 

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VIDEO:

“Oliver and Company” is presented in 1080p High Definition for the very first time.  The animation does feature new digital mastering but compared to the remastering of “Sleeping Beauty” for example which looks incredible for a film of its age, for “Oliver and Company”, because the setting is in the late 80′s and the animation is hand drawn for a large part of the film, it does have that feeling of an older film.  Computer animation was used for the vehicles and action sequences but the picture quality is very good for its age but it does show it’s age.  The film has been cleaned up and definitely looks good for a 25-year-old animated film.

 

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Oliver and Company” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and this is the best that I have heard of this film!  The film is more or less dialogue and music driven and the music does come alive in the digital soundtrack.  Dialogue and msuic is crystal clear and is primarily a front channel driven soundtrack.

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition” comes with the following special features:

  • Games & Activities – Oliver’s Big City Challenge Game – I played this game with my son and it’s not your usual, easy remote control type of game.  This one does involve some skill and memorization.
  • Music & More – Sing-Along Songs – Features two songs (“Why Should I Worry” and “Streets of Gold”) from the film and includes subtitles for people to sing-along.
  • Backstage Disney – The Making of Oliver and Company - (5:31) This featurette takes you back to when the film was created with interviews with Billy Joel, Bette Midler and other talent in the film.  Especially how the film would be the first for Disney as it utilized computers.  It’s fun to see these older, bulky desktop computers used for the work back then.  But this was the first film for Disney to utilize computer animation. So, it was nice to see this featurette.
  • Disney’s Animated Animals – (1:29) A short featurette featuring the history of animals on Disney films.
  • Oliver & Company Scrapbook – Look at various images and concept art from the film using your remote (or via keyboard).
  • Original Theatrical Trailer (1998)
  • TV Spot (1989)
  • Rerelease Trailer (1996)
  • Return of a Classic – (1:59) This was a short feature on the 1996 theatrical re-release of the film.
  • Fun Film Facts – Text base film facts about “Oliver and Company”.
  • “Lend a Paw” – (8:08) An Academy Award winning 1941 animated short about Pluto having to get along with a cat that Mickey has taking a liking to.
  • “Puss Cafe” – (7:10) An animated short featuring two scheming cats trying to steal milk form a home while Pluto keeps guard.

EXTRAS:

“Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition” comes with a slipcover and DVD version of the film.

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“Oliver and Company” is a fun, family film.  The film features quite a bit of songs sung by Billy Joel, Huey Lewis and Bette Midler and the animation, taking place in New York has this urban appeal.   But the film does have it’s charming moments and without spoiling the film, for parents who have not seen the film, the film does have it’s dark moments with the main bad guy Sykes and his dobermans trying to cause problems for the dogs but at the end, there is a death (nothing to scare the young children but guaranteed for a toddler to probably ask their parents “what happened”.  In essence, this film is a family film but it does have it’s moments that may scare younger children.

Watching “Oliver and Company” 20 years later when I first watched it in the theaters is a bit surprising, especially to see how far Disney has gone with their animated films.  Especially, knowing that this was the first film to utilize computers for its animation.  So, you see the merging of traditional hand-drawn style and computer animation.

 

I never realized it until now about how much product placement was used in this film but after doing research on this online, I realize that to make New York feel realistic in animation, you need to have those forms of advertisements in the film and the product placement was not paid product placement.

 

But for nostalgic reasons, it was really great to watch this film again and especially to watch it with my son.  All in all, twenty years later and Disney has done a great service by releasing this on DVD and giving it special treatment with wide variety of special features.

For those who own the 2009 version on DVD, the Blu-ray release has the same special features.  The primary difference is the fact that the film is now presented in High Definition, so picture quality and lossless audio is much better.  Colors are much more vibrant than its previous DVD counterpart.

While the 1980’s was not always kind, nor was it a decade that received a lot of love from Disney fans, it’s an animated film that will still appeal to families and also children.  If you grew up with this film or a parent looking for an animated Disney film from yesteryear and wanting to share with your family, “Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition” on Blu-ray is recommended!

Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

February 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Enjoyable, and a lot of fun… “Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents” features 12 episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” plus a cool spy kit!  Recommended!

Images courtesy of © Disney. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents

DURATION: 12 Episodes (168 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: Widescreen (1:78:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions, Dolby Digital Surround Sound, French and Spanish Language Tracks and Subtitles

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: TV G

RELEASE DATE: February 26, 2013

Directed by Zac Moncrief, Dan Povenmire, Robert Hughes, Jay Lender, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh

Written by Dan Povenmire, Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, Martin Olson, John Colton Barry, Bobby Gaylor, Antoine Guilbaud, Aliki Theofilopoulos, Kim Roberson, Sherm Cohen, Chong Lee, Piero Piluso, May Chan, Kaz, Michael Diederich

Executive Producer: Dan Povenmire

Co-Executive Producer/Executive Producer: Jeff “Swampy Marsh

Line Producer: Natasha Kopp

Music by Danny Jacob

Edited by Ted Supa

Art Direction by Alan Bodner, Jill Daniels

Featuring the voices of:

Vincent Martella as Phineas

Thomas Sangster as Ferb

Ashley Tisdale as Candace

Dan Povemire as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz

Jeff “Swampy” Marsh as Major Monogram

Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus

Caroline Rhea as Mom

Alyson Stoner as Isabella

Mitchell Musso as Jeremy

Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet

Richard O’Brien as Dad

Bobby Gaylor as Buford

Tyler Alexander Mann as Karl

Kelly Hu as Stacy

Olivia Olson as Vanessa

Join Perry the Platypus – a.k.a. Agent P – and his fellow operatives as they team up to thwart Dr. Doofenshmirtz and his dastardly “Inators.” Be they furry or feathered, scaly or slimy, these fearless agents roll over for nobody when it comes to crushing evil in the Tri-State Area and beyond. Fully loaded with over two hours of animated animal-themed adventures, including the exciting, two-part “Phineas And Ferb” cliffhanger “Where’s Perry?”, “Phineas and Ferb: Animal Agents” is a fun-filled, action-packed laughfest that will drive audiences wild!

Perry is back and now your kids can be part of the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) with the latest “Phineas and Ferb” DVD release, “The Perry Files – Animal Agents”!

Since 2007, “Phineas and Ferb” has been an animated show that has been entertaining children (and also adults) on the Disney Channel with its running gags, interesting and hilarious characters.

With each episode, Phineas and Ferb are both working on a project and each time, their sister Candace is always scheming to finally bust them. Meanwhile, the evil scientist Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is up to no good and Major Monogram and the secret agent Perry the Platypus (Agent P) are doing all they can to stop Doofenshmirtz.

The main characters of “Phineas and Ferb” are:

  • Phineas Flynn – One of the main protagonist of the show who joins his stepbrother Ferb in various projects.
  • Ferb Fletcher – The intelligent step-brother of Phineas who is from England and although quiet he happens to be an engineering genius. He also has a crush on Vanessa Doofenshmirtz.
  • Candace Flynn - A 15-year-old teen and the older sister of Phineas and step-sister to Ferb. She is always trying to bust her younger brothers. Meanwhile, she is dating Jeremy Johnson.
  • Perry the Platypus - The pet of the Flynn-Fletcher family and is thought of being useless. But the truth is that he is a special agent working for the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym) and is constantly battling his nemesis Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz.
  • Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - A mad scientist and father of Vanessa Doofenshmirtz. his goal is to take control of the Tri-State area.
  • Isabella Garcia-Shapiro – A friend of Phineas and Ferb and has a crush on Phineas. Also, has skills to help the boys courtesy of her involvement with the Fireside Girls.
  • Major Monogram – The head of the O.W.C.A. and responsible for sending Perry out on missions.
  • Linda Flynn-Fletcher – The mother of Phineas and Candace and step-mother of Ferb.
  • Baljeet Rai – The Indian-American neighbor of Phineas and Ferb and is very smart but constantly bullied by Buford.
  • Buford Van Stomm – Because of his size, he is looked at as a bully but the truth is that he’s a nice kid who tries to act tough.
  • Lawrence Fletcher – Father of Ferb and step-father to Phineas and Candace.
  • Jeremy Johnson – The boyfriend of Candace.

“Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files” comes with the following episodes. Included are:

  • Journey to the Center of Candace (Season 1, Episode 20) – When Isabella’s dog Pinky eats her sash, Phineas and Ferb build a mini-submarine to retrieve it with their shrinking ray but end up going inside of Candace.
  • Traffic Cam Caper (Season 1, Episode 32) - Candace tries to catch her brothers using a camera to record their activities.
  • Bowl-R-Drama (Season 1, Episode 33) – Phineas and Ferb create the world’s largest bowling ball and pinball table.
  • Vanessasary Roughness (Season 2, Episode 69) – Vanessa tries to convince her father Dr. Doofensmirtz that she is responsible to have her own car.
  • Isabella and the Temple of Sap (Season 2, Episode 75) –  The gang head out too the Old Abandoned Old Abandoned Amusement Park.
  • Cheer Up Candace (Season 2, Episode 76) – Candace is depressed when Jeremy cancels their date and thinks he is going to break up with her.  Meanwhile, Perry is accused of committing bad deeds.
  • Robot Rodeo (Season 2, Episode 96) – Phineas and Ferb build a robotic rodeo.
  • Lotsa Latkes (Season 3, Episode 138) –  When all the potatoes in Danville are missing, Phines and Ferb try to clone a potato chip.
  • Agent Doof (Season 3, Episode 159) –  What happens when Dr. Dooffenshmirtz’s “Babe-inator” turns Phineas and Ferb into babies?
  • Where’s Perry? Part 1 (Season 3, Episode 168) – What happens when Carl takes over the O.W.C.A. and imprisons Doof and Monogram?
  • Where’s Perry? Part 2 (Season 3, Episode 169) – Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram take on the evil Carl.
  • What’d I Miss? (Season 3, Episode 172) – Phineas and Ferb try to train domesticated squirrels to live in the wild.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“Phineas and Ferb” is presented in widescreen (1:78:1) – enhanced for 16×9 televisions and is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and French and Spanish Language Tracks and subtitles.

“Phineas and Ferb” sports vibrant colors and for the most part, picture quality should be fine for the children. If anything, the series is known for its unique character design and for the most part, the animation is quite enjoyable to watch because it’s quite different with the characters and their geometric shaped heads.

Dialogue and music are clear and are heard clearly through the front and center channels. Subtitles are in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents” features the following special features:

  • Cedric the Entertainer – (2:27) Phineas and Ferb interviews Cedric the Entertainer.
  • David Beckham - (2:36) Phineas and Ferb interviews David Beckham.
  • Jason Segel - (2:48) Phineas and Ferb interviews Jason Segel.
  • Shaun White - (2:33) Phineas and Ferb interviews Shaun White.
  • Miss Piggy – (2:32) Phineas and Ferb interviews Miss Piggy.
  • Ben Stiller - (2:32) Phineas and Ferb interviews Ben Stiller.

EXTRAS:

“Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents” comes with a slipcover case. But also a spy kit with binoculars (folding cardboard binoculars with plastic lenses), cards, ID Badge and notebook.

At our home, “Phineas and Ferb” is the top animated series that is constantly watched by my 10-year-old son. He loves the animated series and watches it over and over, and he hasn’t even gotten bored by it in the several years of watching it.

And he has been waiting for a “Phineas and Ferb” DVD since the last “The Perry Files” release and with “Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents”, I’m sure many children will be thrilled that not only are their 12 episodes featured, but also a cool spy kit is included.

With this latest DVD release, 12 episodes from the first three seasons are featured, episodes that showcase Perry and members of the O.W.C.A. (Organization Without a Cool Acronym).

From many episodes of Vanessa trying to catch her brothers in the act, boyfriend problems or in some sort of crisis, Phineas & Ferb continue to make more inventions and also their friends take part in the adventures.  But of course, because these are episodes showcasing the “Perry Files”, these episodes feature Perry ala “Agent P” in action.

For the most part, children and the young at heart, will enjoy this series!  At our home, every day he watches the show, I can hear both he and my wife singing the show’s theme song and even my wife has talked about how she enjoys watching “Phineas and Ferb” alongside with him. In fact, I have sat with him many times as he schools me on the characters of the animated series and as a father, just watching his face and seeing him rewinding back to his favorite moments of the series.

So, I’m sure that what is happening in our household, happens in other households as well.  So, for parents looking for a fun DVD for their children, “Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files – Animal Agents”
is another fantastic DVD release!  And my son gives this DVD, five stars and a very big “AWESOME!”.


Peter Pan: Diamond Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Review)

January 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

For fans of this Walt Disney Animated Classic, “Peter Pan” will continue to entertain children and people today and tomorrow, as the film has done for the last 60-years.  And in the case of “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” on Blu-ray, it’s the definitive version of the film to own!  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Peter Pan: Diamond Edition

FILM RELEASE: 1953

DURATION: 77 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:33:1, English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish Subtitles

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

Release Date: February 5, 2013

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Jack Kinney

Play by J.M. Barrie

Story by Ted Sears, Erdman Penner, Bill Peet, Winston Hibler, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, William Cottrell

Produced by Walt Disney

Music by Oliver Wallace

Edited by Donald Halliday

Featuring the Voices of:

Bobby Driscoll as Peter Pan

Kathryn Beaumont as Wendy Darling

Hans Conried as Captain Hook/Mr. Darling

Bill Thompson as Mr. Smee/Other Pirates

Heather Angel as Mrs. Darling

Paul Collins as John Darling

Tommy Luske as Michael Darling

Candy Candido as Indian Chief

Tom Conway as Narrator

The classic tale that taught us all “to believe” and first introduced us to the Darling children – Wendy, John and Michael – as they flew with Peter Pan and Tinker Bell past the second star to the right and straight on ‘till morning to the enchanted world of Never Land. Rediscover the magical adventure and relive childhood memories of this great bedtime story. 

In the early 1900’s, Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie would go on to create the character Peter Pan.

First appearing in the 1902 novel “The Little White Bird”, “Peter Pan” (a.k.a. “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up”) would be featured in a stage play in 1904, to be followed by a novel titled “Peter and Wendy” in 1911.

For a  young Walt Disney, “Peter Pan” was one of Disney’s favorite stories growing up and back in 1935, he originally intended for “Peter Pan” to be the second Disney animated film after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”.  Problem was that it took a number of years for hi to get the rights from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which J.M. Barrie gave the rights to.

And from the 1930’s and 1940’s, the film was being developed and many ideas for the storyline came into play, World War II would then delay “Peter Pan” into becoming an animated film as the U.S. military took control of the studio and had Disney working on propaganda films.

But eventually after 30-years of planning and delays, in 1953, “Peter Pan” would become the 14th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series line and the $4 million dollar film would go to earn $87 million in the box office.  With several video releases, a 2002 sequel titled “Return to Never Land” and CG animated films featuring Tinker Bell having been released on Blu-ray, “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” will be released in HD on Blu-ray for the very first time in February 2013.

“Peter Pan” is set in Edwardian London where George and Mary Darling have three children, the eldest is Wendy, followed by John and Michael.

As the couple are preparing to attend a party, the two boys get in trouble by trying to act out a story of “Peter Pan” as told to them by Wendy.

George Darling is not so thrilled about the stories as he feels the children are getting out of hand and tells Wendy that she is getting too old to stay in the nursery with them and it’s time for her to grow up and have her own bedroom.

One night, as everyone has fallen asleep, Peter Pan and his little pixie, Tinker Bell, are trying to catch Pan’s shadow.  The shadow leads them to the home of the Darling’s and is hiding inside Wendy’s dresser. When Peter Pan goes to get back his shadow, he awakens Wendy and the children.

Excited to find out that Peter Pan is actually real, Peter Pan explains that he enjoys listening to her tell stories about him.  But not so happy is Tinker Bell, who is getting a bit jealous that Peter is talking to Wendy.

Meanwhile, a pirate ship that is near Never Land, with pirates commanded by Captain Hook are in discussion of plans for revenge against Peter Pan. Often directing his anger towards his sidekick, Mr. Smee, Hook wants revenge on Peter Pan for cutting of his hand (which was eaten by a crocodile).

And now Captain Hook wants to know the location of Peter’s hideout and the best person that may lead him there is Tiger Lily, the princess of the Indian tribe on the island of Neverland.

VIDEO:

“Peter Pan” is one of the most wonderful looking animated films that still looks magnificent 60-years-later.  The artwork is highly regarded by artists and although not realistic, you get a feel of a painted style, a brilliant artistic use of paint in animation brought to Disney’s attention. The film was in development for over two decades and the overall look of the film is even more impressive on Blu-ray.

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:33:1).  The colors are vibrant, the blacks are nice and deep and the character designs and animation look absolutely cute but also its lines are absolute clean.  But it’s how the artistic backgrounds and foregrounds compliments the animation is quite amazing!

“Peter Pan” has never looked this magnificent and I am impressed by how much of an upgrade this film looks compared to its previously awesome Platinum DVD release only four years ago.  There is no compression artifacts, no banding, no scratches or dust, it looks perfect!

If you love this film, you definitely need to upgrade to Blu-ray because “Peter Pan” looks fantastic in HD!

Because the film is presented in 1:33:1, once again, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment brings back the “DisneyView” featuring the art of Cristy Maltese, so instead of the black bars on the side, you can opt for colorful artwork that matches the scenes of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and also French and Spanish Dolby Digital  Language Tracks.  It’s important to note that Disney chose to go with High Resolution audio over lossless DTS-HD Master Audio.  But the audio is still fantastic as the music sounds so much crisper than it has ever sound before.

The soundtrack is not totally immersive, but there is good use of the surround channels during the action portions of the film.  Needless to say, this is a wonderful lossless high resolution soundtrack and the best I have heard of “Peter Pan”.

As for subtitles, subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” come with the following special features:

  • Storybook App – An app for your children to access coloring pages, puzzles, music, memory games and more.
  • Disney Intermission – Anytime you watch the film and press pause, you get a random interactive moment during the menu pause.
  • Introduction – (1:09) Featuring an introduction by Diane Disney Miller.
  • Disney View – While watching the film, you can add Disney View on the sides of the film featuring the artwork of painter Cristy Maltese.
  • Growing Up with Nine Old Men – (41:08) Walt’s original nine artists for Disney is well-known.  But what about their personal lives?  Ted Thomas, a son of one of the original artists, visits other children of the “Nine Old Men” to discuss how was life growing up with their father.
  • Deleted Scenes and Songs – Featuring two deleted scenes: The Journey Home and Alternate Arrival and two deleted songs: “Never Smile at a Crocodile” and “The Boatswain Song”
  • Disney Song Selection – Featuring the songs “The Second Star to the Right”, “You Can Fly”, “A Pirate’s Life”, “Following the Leader” and “Your Mother and Mine”.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring the original audio commentary by Roy Disney.
  • Deleted Song – (2:22) The Pirate Song
  • Never Land: The Lost Song – (2:39) Richard M. Sherman talks about this lost song.
  • Music Video –  “Never Land” – (3:16) Performed by Paige O’Hara
  • Music Video –  “The Second Star” – (1:03) Performed by T-Squad.
  • You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan – (15:59) The behind-the-scenes story of how the story of Peter Pan would become an animated film.
  • In Walt’s Words – “Why I Made Peter Pan” – (7:46) Introduced by Ron Clements and John Musker, an audio of Walt Disney’s article of why he created “Peter Pan”.
  • Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale – (8:27) The history of Tinker Bell.
  • The Peter Pan That Almost Was – (21:01) Ron Clements and John Musker introduce viewers to the various ideas that went into creating Peter Pan over its many years of being developed.
  • That Peter Pan Story – (12:04) A classic black and white documentary or newsreel of “Peter Pan”.

The story of “Peter Pan” is classic.  A boy who never wanted to grow up, Neverland and the battle between Peter and Captain Hook is known to Disney fans.  But during the time that “Peter Pan” was being developed by Walt Disney, suffice to say that “Peter Pan” was a story that captivated many readers and those who watched the play during the first half of the 20th century.

The film captures the innocence of children and the wanting of staying young, so you don’t have to grow up and worry about the things that teenagers or adults do.   But “Peter Pan” is also a film that showcases the classic Disney era that showcases amazing use of color, art background with tremendous detail.  Audiences were entertained by this animated film as it continued the visual artistry of the crew who worked on Disney films at that time.

While the animated film differs from its counterpart featured in the novels and the storyline was not as deep, it was an animated film that people needed to see.  Especially several years after World War II, people wanted to be entertained and not necessarily needing something deep or emotional.  The story was kept simple but yet, you are captivated by the film because whether you are a child or a child at heart, it’s that adventure of being a child and experiencing a magical world is quite fun. A lot of us have felt that moment where you know your child years are ending and not wanting to grow up.  So, one can easily understand the characters of this film, but also enjoy the adventures of Peter Pan, Wendy, her brothers and the Lost Boys.

For those of us who grew up with the film, the film is nostalgic.  Sure, not everyone will be pleased.  As there are some who are very critical of how the Native Americans were portrayed in the film and then there are those who see characters to be sexist.  Tinker Bell as the vindictive, jealous female who will go as far to have Wendy killed because she doesn’t like women around Peter Pan.

But this where good parenting comes in, to help children understand how times have changed and explain to them about it.  Some can cry foul and how these classic film can be pushed off as entertainment for children, but once again, these classic animated films were a product of its time.  Because there will be many films, from silent films, classic animated film to top films from the ’50s and ’60s and even films made today that people will find a problem with certain content.  It’s about knowing what is right or wrong and teaching your children and having them learn from it.

As for the Blu-ray release, the Walt Disney stamp of approval of releasing these classic films in the best quality as possible continues with “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition”, the film looks absolutely pristine in HD.  There is nothing about the film that makes you think it was created before 1953.  The colors are vibrant, there are no blemishes that can be seen.

I know that with the “Platinum Edition”, there were some who felt the picture quality was changed slightly but from my own personal viewing, the film looked colorful, detail of the backgrounds and environments looked amazing and I saw no problems with artifacts or banding.  The film looked fantastic!   And that goes with the audio as well.  And for a Diamond Edition release, you would expect a plethora of special features and you do get a good number.  Some that are new and many from the past release.

Growing up, “Peter Pan” and “Captain Hook” were classic characters that showcased good vs. evil.   While I enjoyed the film as a child, I must admit that it is not the most memorable Disney film nor is it a film that I watch often.  I know that my wife enjoyed the film and can remember lyrics to the songs to this day, but for me it was more about nostalgia and watching it again with our child, who enjoyed the film.

The animation for “Peter Pan” still holds up to this day and with this Blu-ray release, I’m quite pleased with the Diamond Edition as it continues to carry the quality that Disney has done previously with their Walt Disney Animated Classics series on Blu-ray and really giving fans what they want in terms of pristine picture quality, crisp lossless audio and a plethora of special features.

For fans of this Walt Disney Animated Classic, “Peter Pan” will continue to entertain children and people today and tomorrow, as the film has done for the last 60-years.  And in the case of “Peter Pan: Diamond Edition” on Blu-ray, it’s the definitive version of the film to own!  Highly recommended!

Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection (a J!-ENT Children’s Blu-ray Disc Review)

November 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection” is an enjoyable holiday Blu-ray release that is fun, well-animated and full of Christmas spirit!  For those looking for an enjoyable holiday special for the children, that is safe, fun and very entertaining… I definitely recommend “Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection”!

Images courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection

THEATRICAL RELEASE: Prep & Landing (2009), Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice (2011)

DURATION: Prep & Landing (23 Minutes), Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice (23 Minutes)

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 Aspect Ratio), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, 2.0 Dolby Digital Spanish Language Track, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED:  TV G

Release Date: November 6, 2012

Prep & Landing

Written and Directed by Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers

Story by Chris Williams

Additional Story Material by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson and Reid Harrison

Executive Producer: John Lasseter and Chris Williams

Produced by Dorothy Kim

Associate Producer: Jenni Magee-Cook

Music by Michael Giacchino

Edited by William J. Caparella

Casting by Jamie Sparer Roberts

Production by Billy George

Art Direction by Andrew Edward Harkness

Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice

Directed by Kevin Deters, Steve Wermers

Additional Story by Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson

Produced by Dorothy McKim

Executive Producer: John Lasseter

Associate Producer: Craig Sost

Music by Michael Giacchino

Edited by Jeff Draheim

Casting by Jamie Sparer Roberts

Featuring the voices of:

Prep & Landing

Betty White as Mrs. Claus

Dave Foley as Wayne

Sarah Chalke as Magee

Mason Vale Cotton as Timmy Terwelp

David DeLuise as Dancer

Peter Jacobsen as Waterkotte

Lino DiSalvo as Gristletoe Joe

Derek Richardson as Lanny

William Morgan Sheppard as The Big Guy

Nathan Greno as Dasher

Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice

Dave Foley as Wayne

Sarah Chalke as Magee

Emily Alyn Lind as Grace Goodwin

Chris Parnell as Mr. Thistleton

Derek Richardson as Lanny

Rob Riggle as Noel

William Morgan Sheooard as the Big Guy

Prep & Landing is an adorable holiday story about a high-tech team of elves who ensure homes around the world are properly prepared for their visit from Santa. After working for a tireless 227 years, an elf named Wayne (voiced by Dave Foley) is upset when he doesn’t receive an expected promotion. Instead he is partnered with an idealistic rookie elf named Lanny (voiced by Derek Richardson) to execute a special Christmas Eve mission. While on their journey, Wayne and Lanny encounter unexpected challenges that push them to their limits and ultimately threaten Christmas for children around the world. But in the end, these two elves work together to guide Santa through a raging snowstorm in order to save Christmas.

Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – The outrageous yuletide adventures of Christmas elves Lanny and Wayne continue in this totally tinsel adventure that reminds us there’s room for everyone on the ‘nice’ list. Santa’s stealthiest little elves must race to recover classified North Pole technology, which has fallen into the hands of a computer-hacking naughty kid, in an effort to stop Christmas from descending into chaos. Bring the family together for a comical adventure that puts the Ho, Ho, Ho in your Holidays!

When “Glago’s Guest” writer Chris Williams had an idea of an elf Christmas story and pitched to Walt Disney Animation studios shorts program, Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter felt the idea would make a great half-hour TV special for ABC.

As the idea which would later become “Prep & Landing” was greenlighted by the network, Chris Williams was then working and co-directing the animated film “Bolt” and so “Brother Bear” writer Kevin Deters and “Brother Bear”, “Tarzan” writer Stevie Wermers were brought in to co-write and direct the 22-minute Christmas special which aired in Dec. 2009.

The special which was budgeted for $14 million would go on to to be nominated for five Emmy Awards (winning four for “Outstanding Animated Program”, “Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation” for Art Director, Storyboard Artist and Background Key design) and nine Annie Awards (winning “Best Animated Television Production”, “Character Design in a Television Production and “Production Design in a Television Production”).

In 2011, Walt Disney Animation Studios followed up with the sequel “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” directed by Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton and aired on ABC in Dec. 2011.  Similar to the first animated feature, “Naughty vs. Nice” would be nominated for eleven Annie Awards by the International Animated Film Association and would win four awards including an award for “Character Animation in a Television Production” by Tony Smeed,  “Character Design in a Television Production”, “Music in a Television Production” and “Storyboarding in Television Production for Brian Kesinger.

Now both “Prep & Landing” Christmas specials will be presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment in November 2012.

“Prep & Landing” revolves around a Christmas elf named Wayne.  Wayne is a member of “Prep & Landing”, a job in which these specially trained elves prepare homes for Santa Claus’ visit on Christmas day.

But having worked for 227 years as a Christmas elf, Wayne believes that he will be promoted for a major job and can’t wait to leave his current job.  So, as Wayne says is confident that he has gotten the job, unfortunately he is told that the job has went to his partner that he trained.

Wayne is then introduced to his new partner, a rookie named Lanny who has looked up to Wayne’s work when he was younger and is excited to be teamed up with his idol.  But Wayne is quite bitter for not getting the promotion and he’s not so interested in giving 100% to his job this year.

So, while visiting a home, Wayne makes Lanny do all the work but unfortunately, it ends up in disaster and the boy Timmy living at the house is awaken and finds the two elves.  And because Wayne has broke protocol and did not prepare the home for Santa, Wayne has to cancel Santa’s visit.  Lanny is upset that Wayne has become so bitter but now he may have prevented the innocent Timmy from receiving a present from Santa.

When Wayne hears Timmy talking in his sleep and thanking him for his Christmas present, Wayne is now determined to make sure Santa is re-routed and that he gets his toy delivery in time for Christmas.

For “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice”,  the special involves the Coal Elf Brigade, the special unit of Christmas elves that are responsible for delivering lumps of coal to children who are bad, but at the same time leaving notes of encouragement to try to be good for the following year.

Meanwhile, Wayne and Lanny are trying to recover classified North Pole technology which has fallen into the hands of a hacker known as “jinglesmell1337″. Worried that the hacker can cause problems on Christmas, Wayne needs the help of a naughty kid expert, but that expert is his estranged brother Noel of the Coal Elf Brigade.  But because Wayne doesn’t wan tto be around Noel, Wayne knows he needs the expertise of his brother to solve this case.

So, Wayne and Noel  must work together on a mission in figuring out who is responsible for stealing the classified technology.  But because of Wayne’s bitter attitude towards his brother, will he be able to work with him before the hacker causes any more problems?

VIDEO:

“Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio). Before I do my review, it’s important to remember that this is not a film, it’s a Christmas half-hour TV special.  So, in some way, I was expecting CG quality that was somewhat good, but not as detailed.  But I was definitely wrong.  Both specials are quite detailed and look great!

The CG animation for this “Prep & Landing” is fantastic!  In fact, the overall look of the film is what makes me enjoy this TV special so much is because there was a lot of production value put into it.  I’m not just talking about characters but also objects, scenery.  The CG for this special is absolutely wonderful, especially when compared to the previous 2011 DVD release of the first special.

But as the first “Prep & Landing” looks impressive on Blu-ray, the second special “Naughty vs. Nice” features much more detail when it comes to objects, especially wooden objects and hair.  The amount of detail that can be seen on Blu-ray is quite impressive.  And definitely an improvement from the previous special.

There is a little banding but nothing that sticks out unless you really look for it.  For the most part, parents looking for a Christmas release to keep the children occupied during the holidays, will definitely want to check out this Blu-ray release!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0.  I have to admit that I wasn’t really expect so much from its lossless soundtrack because these are TV specials.  But with the amount of action featured, there is good use of the surround channels and also LFE.  Dialogue is crystal clear and overall, lossless soundtrack for both specials were much better than I expected.

Subtitles are in in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection” comes with the following special features:

  • Operation Secret Santa – (6:53) Mrs. Claus hires Wayne and Lanny to find a mystery box in Santa’s office.
  • Tiny’s Big Adventure – (1:09) Tiny needs to make coffee but the coffee can is too high.
  • Kringle Academy Training Videos: – Featuring three animated training videos: Welcome to Kringle Academy (1:27) , Equipment Training (1:50), Do’s and Dont’s (1:33).
  • North Pole News – (1:28) Newsreel with big stories for the tiniest elf!
  • North Pole Commercials – (1:40) 3 Hilarious Ads Straight from the North Pole
  • Behind the Jingle with Grace Potter - (2:09) Grace Potter talks about her dream of writing a song for a Disney film and voicing a character for a Disney film.
  • Promotional Pieces – (20:08) Featuring several featurettes that can be played separately or via play all: The recording process (4:16) – The cast talk about recording their voices for the animated TV episodes, the animation process (5:46) – A featurette on creating the animation for “Prep & Landing”, the characters (3:10) – The cast talk about their character, Christmas Unwrapped (3:38) – Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton talking about the voice talent they had in mind plus interviews with the voice talent, Prep and Landing: Behind the Scenes (3:03) – John Lasseter and directors talk about the behind-the-scenes of making an ABC Christmas special.

EXTRAS:

“Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” comes with the Blu-ray plus a DVD containing both animated episodes and special features plus the Blu-ray release comes with a cardboard cover case.

Wonderful CG animation, enjoyable holiday story…The award-winning Disney/ABC TV special “Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection” finally gets released on Blu-ray!

In Dec. 2009, “Prep & Landing” aired on television and I was blown away by the CG animation but also how entertaining the TV special and literally, me and my young son wanted more!  And while I was waiting hoping for a home video release in 2010, it never was released.  But with the characters of “Prep & Landing” returning for a new TV special in 2011 titled “Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice” for Dec. 2011, I thought there would be a double-feature release.  That also didn’t happen, but a DVD release of the first special “Prep & Landing” was released.

So, here we are in 2012, and now, both specials are being released on Blu-ray.  And while these two Christmas episodes are around 22-minutes each, there is definitely an improvement when it comes to seeing the details of this series in HD, especially with the hair, the background details, everything looks much better, especially if you compare the first special on Blu-ray vs. last year’s DVD release.  Images are crisper and well-detailed and with the newer “Naughty and Nice”, definitely a step up in detail from the first special.

For the most part, both stories are very easy to follow and both Christmas episodes will attract viewers of all ages.  In fact, for adults, there are a lot of in-jokes in this holiday special.  Magee has a Christmas Tree ala “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” is shown on Timmy’s TV set at their house and also little Disney additions that fans may pick up on!

And while the Blu-ray featuring both episodes look and sound great on Blu-ray, fortunately the Blu-ray release also includes the “Prep & Landing” shorts, “Operation Santa Claus” (which features Betty White as the voice of Mrs. Claus) and “Tiny’s Big Adventure”.   In addition, there are other animated special features included on the Blu-ray such as cast and crew interviews and more.

And last, thank goodness that the Blu-ray release also includes a DVD in addition to the Blu-ray, so if you are a parent planning to travel by car during the holidays, for those who own a DVD player in their vehicle, can definitely keep the children entertained with the included DVD (featuring both specials and also includes the special features).

Overall, “Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection” is an enjoyable holiday Blu-ray release that is fun, well-animated and full of Christmas spirit!

For those looking for an enjoyable holiday special for the children, that is safe, fun and very entertaining… I definitely recommend “Prep & Landing/Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice – Totally Tinsel Collection”!

The Tigger Movie (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 16, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

If you are a parent looking for a safe, fun and touching family film, you can’t go wrong with “The Tigger Movie”.  Recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: The Tigger Movie

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2000

DURATION: 77 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish Language Tracks, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

DVD RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2012

Directed by Jun Falkenstein

Based on the characters by A.A. Mulne

Based on the Story by Eddie Guzelian

Screenplay by Jun Falkenstein

Produced by Cheryl Abood

Associate Producer: Jennifer Blohm, Richmond Horine

Music by Harry Gregson-Williams

Edited by Makoto Arai, Robert Fisher Jr.

Art Direction by Toby Bluth

Featuring the Voices of:

Jim Cummings as Tigger/Winnie the Pooh

Nikita Hopkins as Roo

Ken Sansom as Rabbit

John Fiedler as Piglet

Peter Cullen as Eeyore

Andre Stojka as Owl

Kath Soucie as Kanga

Tom Attenborough as Christopher Robin

John Hurt as Narrator

“The Tigger Movie” Bounce-A-Riffic Special Edition Blu-ray is a tiggerific treat for the whole family and for added fun, comes packaged with a family tree activity poster and stickers.  In this charming musical tale of friendship and adventure, “The Tigger Movie” Bounce-A-Riffic Special Edition follows Tigger as he sets off on an epic journey to find other Tiggers in his family tree. Through a series of exciting adventures he discovers that families come in all shapes and sizes. This fun and playful animated tale delights a whole new generation of fans with its timeless characters and storytelling, rich animation and delightful songs by legendary Disney songwriting team of brothers, Richard and Robert Sherman. The film features the Hundred Acre Wood’s most lovable characters, Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet and the rest of the gang.

Be prepared to do some bouncing as “The Tigger Movie” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD!

Since 1926, “Winnie-the-Pooh” has been a staple in American pop culture as a family friendly character and stories that many children for generations have grown up with.  And adults who have continued to share that with their own children.

In 2000, “The Tigger movie” became the first animated feature film to not feature Winnie-the-Pooh but focus on Pooh’s friend Tigger.  Written and directed by Jun Falkenstein (who worked on “9”, “The Smurfs”, “Despicable Me” and directed “Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving” and “A Winnie the Pooh Thanksgiving”) and would feature songs written by Robert and Richard Sherman  (“Mary Poppins”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Jungle Book”, “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Aristocats”) creating the music for the film.  Their first feature film score since 1971 for “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”.  The film would also feature a collaboration between the Sherman Brothers and singer Kenny Loggins.

The film was originally planned to be a direct-to-video release but when Disney CEO Michael Eisner heard the Sherman Brothers score, Eisner wanted to release the film in theaters.

And it was a great choice for Disney as the film would earn over $96 million in the box office and also win “Annie Awards” for “Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production” and “Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production” and “Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production”.

And now “The Tigger Movie” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in August 2012.

“The Tigger Movie” is set in Hundred Acre Wood and as everyone is cold and preparing for the long winter, we see how Tigger disrupts their preparation as he wants to bounce and have fun.

We see Tigger and crashing into Pooh’s honey jars; seeing a freezing Piglet, Tigger throws his chair into the fireplace and as for Eeyore, he has a huge rock fall and drop on his house.  And also disrupting Rabbit’s pulley system to help Eeyore build his house.

The group tells Tigger that as much as they enjoy playing with him, they are not Tiggers and they can’t bounce like him, meanwhile Rabbit gets mad at him for destroying the pulley system.

Feeling alone, Roo sees Tigger and tries to cheer him up.  Roo asks Tigger if there are other Tiggers and fascinated by the concept, when Tigger goes to ask Owl about other Tiggers, Owl tells him about family trees.

Meanwhile, Roo and Tigger develop a family-like bond and he looks up to Tigger as his older brother.  For Roo, he wants to be taught how to bounce and so Tigger tries to teach his new “younger brother” how to do the Tigger bounce.  And during their training session, he talks about how he has a locket which should have a picture of him and his family, but there is no picture.

One day, as Tigger goes to look for his family tree but is not able to. So, Tigger writes a letter to his family but no one responds.  This leaves Tigger feeling alone and that there are no Tiggers out there.

And as Roo notices how Tigger has become so sad, he hatches a plan with everyone in Hundred Acre Wood to help lift his spirits by pretending to be a Tigger and each writing a letter to him.

And when Tigger receives the letter he is happy and tells everyone that his family will be visiting him the next evening.  This shocks his friends as they never wrote such a thing, but Tigger tells everyone that he reads between the lines.

Now frantic about breaking Tigger’s heart, Roo and his mother Kanga decide to throw a party with everyone dressing up as a Tigger in order to make Tigger feel loved.

But will the charade work?

VIDEO:

“The Tigger Movie” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).   The film is vibrant, colorful and the art backgrounds are nicely painted.  We get to see the various seasons of Hundred Acre Wood and was glad to see the emphasis on detail for objects, trees, landscape in the art design.  And as for the character design, the animators kept close to the original style of the characters that many people have grown up with.

If anything, “The Tigger Movie” looks fantastic on Blu-ray and I saw no artifacts, banding or any negative issues with this film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Tigger Movie” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-bit) and 5.1 Dolby Digital French and Spanish Language Tracks.  The film is primarily dialogue and music-driven and thus more center/front channel.  Dialogue and lossless audio is crystal clear with a little use of the surround channels towards the end (during the more action-based sequences).  But overall, the lossless soundtrack is good.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Tigger Movie” comes with the following special features:

  • A Tigger Tale- (6:22) The crew reunite to discuss their experience of making “The Tigger Movie”.
  • Mini-Adventures of Winnie The Pooh – (24:21) A total of ten (three-minute) mini-adventures featuring Winnie the Pooh and friends.  Included are “Pooh and Tigger”, “The Most Wonderful Thing about Tiggers”, “Eeyore’s House”, “Someone Like Tigger”, “What Tiggers Do Best”, “Lullabee”, “The Super Bounce”, “Tigger Goes Ice Skating”, “The Jagular”, “Unbouncing Tiger”.
  • Round My Family Tree Sing-Along - (2:45) Featuring a sing-along for Tigger’s “Round My Family Tree”.
  • Kenny Loggins Music Video – (4:49) Featuring Kenny Loggins music video for “Your Heart Will Lead You Home”.

EXTRAS:

“The Tigger Movie” comes with a slipcover case and a DVD version of the film presented in 1:78:1 widescreen, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.  Also, included is a family tree activity poster with stickers.

I know that I’m not the only one who grew up with “Winnie the Pooh”.  It’s been in my family and even my son today was raised enjoying stuffed animals and the animated films (and series).

Having reviewed several of the animated films, “The Tigger Movie” having been released in 2001 and also now being released on Blu-ray is the best looking “Winnie the Pooh” related animated film on video.  And what makes this film so entertaining and different from other Pooh films is that it focuses on Tigger.

Tigger is one of the most jovial characters ever created but also a character that gets into a bit of trouble because he is always wanting to have fun.  But it’s that style that tends to attract the young viewers as the other characters are typically shy or reserved, Tigger is all over the place.

But this time around, you get a fun, energetic film but you also get pulled in by its story because it is quite sad that Tigger has all this energy and wants to have fun, but since the others are not Tiggers, they don’t have the same type of drive and thus it leads to Tigger being sadden that there is no family or anyone like him around.  Or is there?

As “The Tigger Movie” is a film that does focus on Tigger, we also see another character grabbing the spotlight and that is little Roo, Kanga’s son.  Roo is usually featured a few times in a film but this time around, we get to see Roo hanging out with Tigger but also learning from him and trying to be a good “little brother”.

So, this film definitely gives us a new perspective of characters other than Winnie the Pooh, Piglet or Rabbit.

For the most part, I found “The Tigger Movie” to be a wonderful family film.  I watched it with my nine-year-old, at first I was wondering if he would feel that he was too old for this animated film but he was captivated by it and enjoyed it.

There is a lot to learn, may it be one’s private space to also the importance of friendship, children can surely learn from “The Tigger Movie”.  And as for the Blu-ray release, children will also enjoy it for the inclusion of the mini-adventures of Winnie the Pooh plus the included family tree activity posters and stickers.  And also another positive for parents is that the Blu-ray does come with a DVD, so definitely handy for those going on long commutes or a film for children to watch during vacation time.  And as mentioned, seeing this animated film in HD on Blu-ray, it looks and sounds great!

Overall, if you are a parent looking for a safe, fun and touching family film, you can’t go wrong with “The Tigger Movie”.  Recommended!

Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

While “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” may not be as deep or dark as its 1955 counterpart, for a direct-to-video family animated film, the storyline is accessible, safe and entertaining! If you are a parent or a person who grew up watching the original “Lady & the Tramp”, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is definitely recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2012 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

BLU-RAY TITLE: Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure

MOVIE RELEASE DATE: 2001

DURATION: 69 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:78:1 Aspect Ratio, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

DVD RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2012

Directed by Darrell Rooney, Jeannine Roussel

Screenplay by Bill Motz, Bob Roth

Additional Screenplay Material by Tom Rogers, Flip Kobler, Cindy Marcus

Produced by Jeannine Roussel

Associate Producer: David W. King

Music by Danny Troob

Edited by Susan Edmunson

Casting by Jamie Thomason

Production Design by Robert St. Pierre

Art Direction by Robert Schaefer, Fred Warter

Featuring the Voices of:

Scott Wolf as Scamp

Alyssa Milano as Angel

Chazz Palminteri as Buster

Jeff Bennett as Tramp/Jock the Scottish Terrier/Trusty/Dogcatcher

Jodi Benson as Lady

Bill Fagerbakke as Mooch

Mickey Rooney as Sparky

Bronson Pinchot as Francois

Cathy Moriarty as Ruby

Mary Kay Bergman as Si

Debi Derryberry as DArling

Nick Jameson as Jim Dear

Tress MacNeille as Aunt Sarah/Am

Andrew McDonogh as Junior

Rob Paulsen as Otis

Kath Soucie as Collette

Frank Welker as Reggie

April Winchell as Mrs. Mahoney, the Street-Wig Woman

Jim Cummings as Tony

Michael Gough as Joe

Roger Bart as Scamp (Singing Voice)

Jess Harnell as Buster (Singing Voice)

Susan Egan as Angel (Singing Voice)

Disney’s beloved classic continues in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure – for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray. Lady and Tramp’s mischievous pup Scamp is always in the doghouse. Now, an itch for a collar-free life and freedom is sending him on the ultimate adventure! With nonstop laughs, paw-tapping songs and exciting bonus features, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure is a new breed of Disney fun that the whole family will love!

Walt Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp” is a classic animated film that has entertained generations upon generations since its theatrical release back in 1955.

But the idea for the film actually happened nearly 20-years prior when Disney writer Joe Grant came up with an idea to make a story built around an idea inspired by his Springer Spaniel named Lady, and how his dog was pushed aside upon the birth of his child.

In 1955, the film made its theatrical debut and was a enormous success in the box office.

Fastforward nearly 60-years-later and in 2001, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” was released direct-to-video.  Directed by Darrell Rooney (who worked on animated series such as “Smurfs”, “Pac-Man”, “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride”) and Jeannine Rousel (who worked on “The Addams Family”, “2 Stupid Dogs”, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”) and featuring a screenplay by Bill Motz and Bob Roth (both worked on “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride”, “The Return of Jafar”, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas”).

The film would feature voices by Scott Wolf (“Party of Five”, “Go”, “V”), Alyssa Milano (“Charmed”, “Who’s the Boss?”), Chazz Palminteri (“The Usual Suspects”, “A Bronx Tale”, “Analyze This”), Jodi Benson (“The Little Mermaid”, “Toy Story” films), Bill Fagerbakke (“Coach”, “The Artist”, “SpongeBob SquarePants”), Bronson Pinchot (“Perfect Strangers”, “Risky Business”), Jeff Bennett (“Enchanted”, “The Replacements”), Cathy Moriarty (“Raging Bull”, “Kindergarten Cop”) and Mickey Rooney (“National Velvet”, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Boys Town”).

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamo’s Adventure” is set in 1911 and Jim Dear is trying to give all of Tramp and Lady’s pups a bath.  The two have three daughters who look like Lady and a mischievous son named Scamp who looks like his father.

Scamp loves playing with the baby but in the process, he ruins Jim’s hat.  Jim gives Scamp a warning and Tramp tries to discipline his son but Scamp just wants to have fun.

After taking a bath, he gets muddy and messes up the entire living room.  Upset with Scamp, Jim feels that the only way to punish him is to have him stay outside in the doghouse and being chained.

While Lady and Tramp are saddened that Jim had to resort to punishing Scamp, they know he did it with best intentions.  Tramp tries to talk to his son, but Scamp is more interested in having fun and not live with a family.  Thinking life would be better to be free!

So, while he is chained outside, he sees a ruckus outside of the gate as a dogkeeper are trying to catch stray dogs.  Thinking that these dogs are having a lot of fun, Scamp manages to break through his chain and hang out with the stray dogs known as the Junkyard Dogs.

He befriends a young female dog named Angel and Scamp tries to join the Junkyard Dogs and feels that life away from a family is such a great life.  But in the process, the leader of the Junkyard Dogs, Buster, wants Scamp to prove his courage in order to join the group.  So, he has Scamp doing several tests and is amazed by Scamps ability.

While hanging out with the Junkyard Dogs, a dog named Sparky tells Scamp an exaggerated story about a legendary dog named Tramp who was able to avoid dozens of dog catchers and that he was looked up upon by the Junkyard Dogs but one day he disappeared.  Hearing the story, Buster gets upset and tells them that Tramp didn’t die as a hero, he chose to run off with a female dog named Lady to become a house pet.  And Buster chose Lady over Buster and the Junkyard Dogs.

And right then, Scamp realizes that the stories of this legendary dog is his parents.

Shocked that his father was a Junkyard Dog, he can’t believe that his father would leave this adventurous life to be a housepet.  But for Angel, she tells Scamp that her dream is to live with a family.  He doesn’t understand why would anyone want to stay with a family, stuck in a house and having the same routine over and over.  But Angel tells him that she would choose living with a loving family than living on the streets.

Meanwhile, afraid for his son, Tramp hopes that he can find Scamp before he gets into trouble.

When Buster finds out that Scamp is the son of Tramp, Buster who has always had spite towards Tramp, figures why not try to take away his son from him.  So, when Scamp is asked if he rather stay with the Junkyard Dogs to have a life of freedom or to go back to his father and be stuck in a house and treated as a pet, which life will Scamp choose?

VIDEO:

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1 aspect ratio).  And make no doubt about this direct-to-video sequel, despite it not being a Disney animated feature film, the film is well-detailed when it comes to its scenery and objects, vibrant and looks great in HD.  If anything, despite being made in 2001, this film holds up incredibly well in 2012.  Not only does the film take the characters from the 1955 animated film and bringing them to the digital realm.

While the background scenery is well-detailed, the character designs are good.  A bit soft at times but for the most part, this film does look very good for a direct-to-video sequel.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  The lossless audio track could have been better if it used the surround channels because most of the audio, I heard coming through the center and front channels only.  Even during the more action-based scenes, I didn’t really hear the surround channels or LFE used as much.

With that being said, dialogue and music is crystal clear coming through the center and front channels but wished it was much more immersive.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” comes with the following special features:

  • Puppy Trivia Tracks – While watching the film, you can watch with fun facts displayed onscreen.
  • The Making of Lady and the Tramp II: From Tramp to Scamp – (16:34) The making of “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” and how the film came to be and the process of making the film.
  • Sing-Along Songs – Featuring a sing-along (ala karaoke style) for five music tracks from the film: “(Prologue) Welcome home”, “World Without Fences”, “Junkyard Society Rag”, “I Didn’t Know I Could Feel This Way”, “Always There”.
  • Disney Animated Shorts featuring Pluto – Featuring “Pluto, Junior” (7:08), “Bone Trouble” (8:42) and “Pluto’s Kid Brother” (6:51).
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with director Darrell Rooney, animation director Steve Trenbirth and co-director/producer Jeannine Roussel.

EXTRAS:

“Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” comes with a slipcover case and a DVD version of the film presented in 1:78:1 widescreen, English, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.

When it comes to direct-to-video sequels, I know there are many parents who feel that these videos are primarily created for families and storylines that are safe and geared towards children.

For the most part, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is a family film that will no doubt entertain children and even those that are young at heart and grew up with the original “Lady and the Tramp” film.

And while most older Disney films never had a sequel, for any Disney fan who grew up with these films, you wonder to yourself, “what if a sequel was made?”.

And for this sequel, while this is a film that I probably never expected a sequel being created, I was surprised back in 2001 but also excited because we get to see the characters brought into modern times using CG and different animation than its 1955 counterpart.

What I enjoyed about “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is the continuing of the storyline from the first film.  At the end of “Lady and the Tramp”, we watched as Lady had given birth to pups and the Dear family also welcoming a baby.  This time around, the pups are slightly older and the Dear’s baby is now a young toddler who has bonded with the dogs.

And for the most part, the storyline works rather well because we get to see Lady and Tramp’s children much older, we also see the Dear family having formed a strong bond with Lady, Tramp and the puppies but also seeing Scamp  exhibiting part of his father’s mischievous behavior.  Granted, father Tramp is now much more mature and wants the best for his children, but Scamp wants to see the world.

It has that similarity to the first film when Tramp was trying to show Lady his free life and how much more adventurous life would be if she didn’t live in the Dear home.  The same thing happens this time around but it’s Buster and other dogs from the Junkyard who want to entice Scamp to leave his life of being a pet and living in a house, and have more adventure and freedom while living with them.

It’s an accessible storyline that is easy for children to understand, fans who grew up watching the film to enjoy the film and its connection to the original “Lady and the Tramp” and most of all, seeing a sequel that is modernized and taking the characters and having a storyline that would appeal to a new generation.

With “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” being released on Blu-ray, the details of objects and scenery are well-detailed and despite being a direct-to-video sequel, by no means does it mean that this film is lower in quality.  The film despite being released in 2001 (and having a bit of softness), still looks great for a direct-to-video sequel, especially being released now in 2012, the film looks very good in HD, especially on Blu-ray.  Dialogue and musical scenes are crystal clear and for the most part, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” looks and sounds good on Blu-ray!

And as for special features,  “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” comes with a making of, trivia, sing-along songs plus three bonus animated shorts featuring Pluto and more!

While “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” may not be as deep or dark as its 1955 counterpart, for a direct-to-video family animated film, the storyline is accessible, safe and entertaining and looks and sounds great on Blu-ray!

If you are a parent or a person who grew up watching the original “Lady & the Tramp”, “Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure” is definitely recommended!

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