Jeff and George bring us a review of two very different films. Let’s see what they think of the Blu-Rays for Disney-Pixar’s Brave and the Muppets Christmas Carol.
We both saw Brave in the theater and discussed the film in an episode of Communicore Weekly. While we both really enjoyed the film, we walked away thinking that something was missing. Disney has just released Brave on Blu-ray for the Holiday season. Is the film worth picking up on Blu-ray?
George: I saw Brave in the theater with my wife and kids. We all enjoyed the film, but the boys (13 and 8) didn’t seem as impressed as I was. Technically, the film was gorgeous, but it seemed to be missing something. When the review copy hit the door, we watched it as a family over two nights. The 13 year-old seemed to enjoy it a lot more than my younger son, but we all seemed to laugh more and enjoy it in the home theater experience.
Jeff: Like George said, when I first saw Brave, I felt it was missing a little something. I didn’t hate it by any means, but I didn’t fall in love with it either, like I do with most Pixar films. However, unlike George and his family, watching it this second time at home, I seemed to like it even less. Visually, the film is stunning, but I was left feeling like there was an emotional impact missing from the heart of the film.
George: As much as I love the movie theater experience, with the advent of Blu-ray, high-definition TV and amazing surround sound, I find I enjoy the home movie experience more enjoyable than the theater. Brave was made for hi-definition; the images are crystal clear and stunning while the audio is superb. I noticed the background music and songs more at home than in the theater. Once again, Disney/Pixar proves that they can cast excellent actors for the voices. I agree with Jeff that the movie is missing some heart, but I think I enjoy the film more because of my own relationship with my teenage son. His hair looks just as crazy at Merida’s.
Jeff: I’m sure he’d love you comparing his hair to Merida’s! Speaking of, on the flip side, Alex, my nine year old, seemed less into the film than I did. His reaction was a resounding “Meh, it was alright.” He also agrees that the visuals were stunning, but his favorite part was when “that bear started tearing it up.” Straight from the mouths of babes, folks.
George: The Blu-ray combo set is chock full of amazing extras about the creation of the film. The theatrical short, La Luna is included and it is just as charming as in the theaters. The new short, the Legend of Mor’du is presented and it is a fantastic addition to the film and the Pixar repertoire. I was blown away by the number of the specials in this package. As expected, there are a lot of bonus features about the making of the film. With a technical achievement like Merida’s hair, you can imagine the behind-the-scenes segments would be technical but they’re presented in a style that kids and adults will enjoy. My youngest even spent time watching them with me. My guess is that there are over 3-4 hours of extras. The extras really do add to the overall viewing experience.
Jeff: It’s that time again…Halloween is over, Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so you know what that means! Time for Christmas to begin! Well, actually, Christmas stuff started popping up at the end of Summer, so clearly it’s already here. But with Christmas comes the re-release of everyone’s favorite Christmas movies on DVD & Blu-Ray…including the second of this week’s titles, The Muppets Christmas Carol.
It’s the 20th Anniversary of the film this year, so of course Disney thought it would be a good idea to release it on Blu-Ray.
At this point, I’m sure most of you have seen the film: a re-telling of Charles Dickens’ famous story as told by the Muppets. Or, in this case, by Gonzo (since he takes up the mantle of Dickens in this version). I really can’t say much about the film that hasn’t been said already. It’s a great Christmas story to begin with, and the addition of the Muppets to it makes me enjoy it even more. Even the human actors, such as Michael Cane as Scrooge, really excel here. Even though this is the first Muppet film to be released after the untimely death of Jim Henson, it still has the same charm that he would have put into it.
What I AM a bit disappointed by is the exclusion of the song “When Love Is Gone.” For fans of the film, you know this song has had a troubled past. While it was included in original cuts, Disney execs thought it slowed down the pacing of the film and that children wouldn’t enjoy it. But, director Brian Henson thought it was important to the emotional core of the film, especially since it’s the counter act to the closing number “When Love Is Found.” Home releases of the film after the theatrical version have sometimes included the song and sometimes not. To me, this 20th Anniversary Edition is not complete without this song restored to the film.
The transfer here is exceptional. I was actually pretty surprised. The picture is crisp and clean, and I found myself distracted at times by this (in a good way). Color is vibrant and really makes the film pop.
As for the extras, there are quite a few. “Frogs, Pigs and Humbug: Unwrapping A Holiday Classic” explores the making of the film as Gonzo and Rizzo interview director Brian Henson. “Christmas Around the World” involves Gonzo and Rizzo discussing holiday traditions that, as the name says, take place around the world. Pepe the King Prawn’s profile of “Gonzo: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Weirdo” is pretty funny retrospective on Gonzo’s life (that almost feels out of place here). The film also has two different commentaries. One is the original that was included on discs earlier by Brian Henson. The other is new for this release, and features Gonzo and Rizzo talking about the film (According to them, Michael Caine never blinks! He must be afraid of Weeping Angels). Also making its return after its success on The Muppets Blu-Ray is “intermission,” where the Muppets will entertain you every time you pause the film, this time with Christmas Carols.
Bottom line, if you enjoy the film, and don’t own it yet, get this Blu-Ray. If you already own an earlier edition, there really is no reason to purchase this new one, unless you want the pristine video quality!
What do you think about these releases? Is one a now purchase or a wait until Christmas buy?
By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor
Other places you can find George and Jeff:
- The 626 (Jeff)
- ImagiNERDing (George)
- From the Mouth of the Mouse (Jeff)
- Communicore Weekly (Jeff and George)
You can also see us EVERY week on Communicore Weekly on the MiceChat Youtube Channel.