Last week, Jeff and George reviewed a bunch of recently released Disney Blu-Rays. This week, they are back again, with the next round of releases!
JEFF: Growing up, I loved The Rescuers. It is by no means a perfect film, but I do remember watching it many times over. Those feelings came back when watching the film over again on this Blu-Ray. However, my main problem with it was its transfer. Like we talked about last week with the process of animation used, you can see, very clearly, much of the “dirty animation” from the animator’s original, rough drawings. While on traditional DVD, it looks fine, the Blu-Ray helps these things stand out. It is a bit distracting, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the movie.
GEORGE: I was excited to see this film again. The last time I had seen it was during a Disney movie event on network television, so my memories were a little fuzzy. Needless to say, this film is a classic. It fits perfectly in that era after Walt’s passing where the studio was struggling to keep Walt’s vision and move forward. There are times when the story plods a little, but the characters are extremely well-developed and charming.
JEFF: The Rescuers Down Under looks amazing on Blu-Ray. By all accounts, this film should not work. It’s basically a rehash of the original’s plot, but with a new setting, new child, and new animal sidekick. However, it’s still charming on many levels, and in some aspects, beats out the original film.
GEORGE: The Rescuers Down Under really surprised me and my kids. They were glued to the film the whole time, whereas they were a little fidgety with the Rescuers. What I noticed right away with both films is the lack of a great soundtrack, like the 1960s and 1990s films. Not that a standout Broadway song would have fit, but there were options. Still, it was a lot of fun and had all of the excitement and drama of a good animated film. This is definitely a great set to pick up.
JEFF: It’s hard to judge direct to video Disney sequels. You can either look at them as their own story, to try to get any preconceived notions out of your head, or as a continuation of the original film. Of course, it’s hard to separate this from the original Lady and the Tramp, especially because that film had Walt’s hands all over it. This film was released 50 years after the original, so most of the folks who worked on Lady and the Tramp were no longer involved, and it shows.
GEORGE: This movie surprised me in two areas: it was a surprisingly good film for a direct-to-video sequel and there was absolutely no reason to make this movie. The animation was far superior to some of the other direct-to-video sequels but you could still see that there wasn’t as much time or money spent on it.
JEFF: The film is a slight twist on the original, with the Scamp being the more sophisticated, house-broken dog, who runs away from home (where we see very little of the original Lady or the Tramp) to join up with the Junkyard Dogs. There are a few, fun nods to the original story, but overall, this is a weaker entry. But, based on a scale of other direct to video sequels, this one would probably rank number 2 on my list.
JEFF: Word of warning: I’m a big fan of these Disney Nature films. Even more so now that I’ve seen Chimpanzee. Though they aren’t huge box office successes, I love that Disney has brought back its nature genre of films. Especially now, with high definition cameras, we get some truly breathing taking views. Chimpanzee is no different. The film looks absolutely stunning on Blu-Ray, and it helps that the story is pretty darn good too.
GEORGE: My family has watched all of the DisneyNature films on Blu-ray at home since they started releasing them. They’ve always been incredibly gorgeous and the filmmakers manage to capture and tell some surprising stories. I admit that Chimpanzee is my favorite so far. Following the story of Oscar, the baby chimp and how he survives is quite stunning and heart warming. While watching the high definition spectacular, you are constantly aware of how beautiful the environments are—in most cases, it would distract you but once the characters stories unfold, you are hooked.
JEFF: I was blown away by some of the things I learned during the film. It was extremely education, but also entertaining. One of the big bonuses for me on the Blu-Ray was the behind the scenes featurette on how they made the film.
GEORGE: The celebrity narrator for this film was Tim Allen and he does a really good job of keeping the story and characters tied together. Like Jeff mentions, the behind the scenes feature really was a plus. We get to see how the film was captured and what the filmmakers had to go through to bring us the fantastic film.
WIN A CHIMPANZEE BLU-RAY COMBO PACK & THE HARDCOVER BOOK “CHIMPANZEE: THE MAKING OF THE FILM”
That’s right, one lucky winner will get a copy of the Chimpanzee on Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack along with the hardcover book, Chimpanzee: The Making Of The Film. There are TWO ways to enter using the RaffleCopter below.
First, watch the latest episode of Communicore Weekly, and look for the SECRET PHRASE. You can also LIKE Communicore Weekly on Facebook to gain an extra entry.
By George Taylor and Jeff Heimbuch
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
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Tickets are now SOLD OUT for the COMMUNICORE WEEKLY LIVE SHOW & EPCOT 30 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!
But we’ve still got a great way for you to celebrate along with us!
Disney World expert, noted author and MiceAge man about town, Kevin Yee, will be holding a FREE scavenger hunt before the Communicore Weekly live event. And we invite all of you (and your friends and family) to come join us. So save the afternoon of September 29th for us and we’ll have more information for your shortly about this great way to celebrate Epcot’s 30th anniversary! Sign up for an email notification when the event details have been announced.