Disney Blu-ray Bonanza

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney, Disney Movies, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on June 15, 2013 at 1:15 am with 15 Comments

George: Disney has released four Blu-ray sets this past week. We reviewed Oz the Great and Powerful last week so that leaves us three films to cover this week! Disney has released combo packs for Lilo & Stitch, Atlantis and Emperor’s New Groove. Like other Blu-ray releases, the combo pack has the Blu-ray and DVD discs. The three releases also follow other Disney Blu-rays with the addition of the direct-to-video sequel. Are these perfect summertime films? Should you add these to your collection? Will George ever stop typing?

Jeff: Man, that George certainly has a lot of questions! Let’s start off by looking at the Lilo & Stitch disc. There isn’t much more we can say about the original film at this point; I’ve always loved it immensely, and enjoy watching it. The over saturation of Stitch in the theme parks does nothing to sour the original film in my mind. I still find it very lovable and full of heart! Unfortunately, that same heart doesn’t translate as well to Stitch Has A Glitch, the second film. It’s kind of all over the place. However, it is by no means the worse direct to video sequel that Disney has produced.

George: Lilo & Stitch has always reminded me of a Studio Ghibli/Myizaki film; it’s simply gorgeous and, like Jeff said, it has so much heart. It’s cute and fluffy! So, the disappointing news is that there are no extras on the Lilo & Stitch combo pack. You’re just getting the two films. Nothing else. Sadly, you’re going to hear that several times in this review.

Jeff: That’s the unfortunate thing about these three releases. They are some pretty great films, but are bare bones. But, we’ll get to that in a second. Because next up, we have the Atlantis combo pack! Containing both the original film Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Atlantis: Milo’s Return, it’s almost the same as Lilo and Stitch. While the original Atlantis doesn’t get a lot of credit, it certainly deserves it. I think it’s definitely a product of its time, but it’s definitely a good film when standing on its own.

George: I’ve always seen Atlantis in the same vein as Treasure Planet. They both have a steam-punk vibe that has really captured a cult following of sorts. I enjoyed Atlantis, but like Treasure Planet, felt that they both missed the mark somewhere. Michael J. Fox and the voice cast of Atlantis were fantastic, but it’s still not one of my all-time favorite Disney films. The extras on the Blu-ray are found on the DVD section of the pack. It seems to be the same special features that were released with the previous DVD.

Jeff: As for the sequel, Milo’s Return, I think the less said about it the better. It was made as a prequel to an upcoming television series, and it’s evident by the animation quality and plot cuts. It clearly was made as three separate episodes, and then smashed together to form one long plot line. Audiences didn’t take to this film so much, and it’s abysmal performance is evident of that. Definitely not their best work. There are a few special features for the sequel, comprised mostly of deleted scenes that don’t really add anything to the story.

George: The last set is The Emperor’s New Groove/Kronk’s New Groove. I’ve always loved the Emperor’s New Groove and find myself quoting from it years later (“Boom, baby!” and “No touchy, no touchy”). We watch it on occasion and always find the film charming and entertaining. Not so much for Kronk’s New Groove. I’m always surprised when the original voice actors (especially when they’re fairly notable) return for a direct-to-video sequel. I’m always thankful that Iger squashed the sequels and I was a little frightened when Pixar’s Planes was announced. The dirge of sequels has been bemoaned by many animation fans and will really be seen as a dark time for the company.

Jeff: I absolutely agree. While Emperor’s New Groove isn’t what it was originally meant to be, it’s still an enjoyable film. The sequel, not so much. But that’s OK, because I believe the Original is more than enough to make up for it! The Downside is that there are no special features featured on this disc.

So, it looks like Lilo & Stitch is a definite buy. We’re both big fans of the film and love the Blu-ray treatment. We both enjoyed the feature films of the Atlantis and New Groove packs, but found the lack of extras very disappointing. Grab the other films if you’re a fan of them!

Are these a worthwhile addition? What do you want to see Disney release on Blu-ray?


By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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15 Comments

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  1. Nice Update Guys!

    I have to say, this is a period of time in Disney production that I all but ignored. The only film I’ve seen of the three you reviewed here is “Atlantis” and my original impression was not favorable.

    Recently I watched it again (bored one night and it was streamable on Netflix) and found myself enjoying it a lot. True, the story holds few surprises and the dialogue is clunky in many places. However the characters, though under used, are fun and the acting is really nice. The Jules Verne-y/Edgar Rice Burroughs-ish aspect to the story is great. The art (inspired by the often under rated Mike Mignola) is beautiful.

    There are a lot of misses in this one, but still a lot that is enjoyable. I think my initial expectations were high and thus, upon witnessing the sad reality, my judgment was also highly critical. Entering with a lowered expectation, I had more fun. I will likely get this one on Blu-ray just for the artistic elements.

    Lilo and Stitch came out at a low time when there were no kids in my life and I just didn’t see the point of watching. As you you mentioned, there is an insane amount of Stitchyness in the parks and merchandise. (I see very few people actually buying these items and tend to think of Stitch as a pre-Duffy cash grab)

    That said, I recently spoke to a couple of kids at California Adventure while we stood and watched the big screens in the Animation Building of Hollywood Land. They spoke eloquently about the lessons learned form the film. They also liked that there was “no princess stuff” associated with the girl characters. At ages five and seven, these two strangers convinced me that I am missing out by not seeing Lilo and Stitch. Will I buy it? Probably not. Will I stream or rent? Definitely.

    Emperor’s New Groove. meh. I know of no one who has seen this film and many Disney fans who do not even know of its existence. In this content rich society, I would rather watch Mary Poppins or Jungle Book over and over, before I waste time on something so publicly underwhelming.

    • Thanks for the comments!

      We’ve both been very pleasantly surprised by the amount of love that Lilo & Stitch have received from the readers.

  2. I like all three films and am glad to have them on Blu-ray. I guess the sequels are seen as a bonus feature, but I could do without them. The only tolerable one is the Stitch sequel.

    All three films were previously released as two-disc DVD sets with a ton of extra material. Such a shame it’s not ported over here.

    • I agree about the Stitch sequel. I think that goes to show you how a well done character works. The lack of extras is pretty stinky.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Nice review, but Planes is a Disney film, no Pixar to find there.

    • Very good point!

      I still tend to lump the Pixar stuff together. ;)

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. I thoroughly enjoy the Emperor’s New Groove. I find it’s pacing and jokes to be a very “Warner Brothers” Looney Toony style of the past that I find hilarious. One of my favorite examples is the entire diner sequence where Kuzco (in llama form) is in drag with Pacha posing as a married couple. Enter Izma and Kronk and the menus up, menus down, menus up site gag. I can just see Bugs Bunny pulling that one off. And Kronk’s explanation of how easy it is to make his cheesy puffs is priceless. I am screening this movie in all its blu-ray splendor next weekend for a friend of mine who has never seen it and adores old Bugs cartoons…I am so excited for her :) Kudos to all the great voice talent and comic timing in this great gem.

    • Kronk is one of my favorite Disney characters! So hilarious. I often quote him (“Right… Riiiiggghtt!”). His angel/demon that keep appearing, the sequence where he’s running in stealth-mode through the street while he’s humming his own theme music, his ability to speak squirrel, all so awesome!

      • I still laugh at the stealth mode running…and the theme song!

        Thanks!

    • With ENG and Lilo, Disney branched off from their more traditional filmmaking. It might be why they’re still my favorites!

      Thanks for commenting!

  5. Lilo and Stitch was the first Disney film I bought sight unseen. I had never gotten around to seeing it in the theater. When the film was released on DVD, some of my college classmates were raving about it and I thought, “If college students are crazy about this film then it must be good.” I was not disappointed. This film has a lot going for it. I really grasped the whole sense of family in this film. My family was in a bit of a crisis at the time, so I really related to that.
    It’s a shame that this Blu Ray is lacking any bonus features. I guess I won’t be ditching my DVD copy anytime soon.
    I really wish Disney would not put the inferior sequels with the original films.

    • It sounds like Lilo &Stitch really touched a lot of people. :)

      Thanks for commenting!

  6. It’s a big disappointment that these releases are bare-bones – you’d have thought that the emphasis Disney puts on Stitch in the parks would have meant a decent amount of extras on the bluray.
    All of these movies have extras-packed DVD releases so it would have been an easy task to port them over.
    I have ordered Stitch and ENG because I like both movies. I might pick up Atlantis in a sale.

    Am I odd in being bothered because ENG is the only one to split the front cover picture equally between the original and the sequel?
    Stitch, Atlantis, Mulan, Brother Bear etc just add the sequel into the title space, and it just bugs me that ENG is split differently.

    • That’s a really good point about the covers and the titles.

      Still, it seems like they’re being packaged for the “quick buck” as opposed to any long term gain.

  7. Although Lilo & Stitch was easily one of the more…um, unorthodox animated films that Disney had released, surprisingly, it was an immediate hit with critics and audiences alike. Adorable and unforgettable, Stitch quickly joined the stable of go-to characters for Disney’s many marketing and merchandising needs. Hell, they even hastily re-themed a Tomorrowland ride in order to make his presence stronger in the parks!

    In the ensuing decade, Lilo & Stitch has lost none of its magic. The sarcastic yet sentimental script still packs a wallop. The character designs look as fresh now as they first did. The voice work never fails to feel both hilarious and heartfelt. The energy and artistry of the animation (care of Andreas Deja and Alex Kupershmidt, among many, many others) is still a wonder to watch, and the gorgeous watercolor backgrounds have yet to be topped via CGI. While rumor has it that John Lasseter hates L&S, methinks Walt would’ve loved it. After all, with the lion’s share of Disney’s modern animated flicks taking their cues from Snow White and Cinderella, this is the only one to blend the tenderness of Dumbo with the irascible insanity of the original Mickey Mouse shorts.

    On a more navel-gazing note, Lilo & Stitch helped me immeasurably in a time of tragedy. When my pops killed himself, leaving my kid sister and I as late-in-life orphans, L&S’s repeated mantra of ‘ohana’ (“Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind…or forgotten.”) and its focus on keeping a fractured family together (as well as being open to adding new members to it), hit me like an uncut speed-ball of spiritual strength and emotional stamina. While it would be hyperbolic to say that I wouldn’t have survived the experience without Lilo & Stitch, it would be equally untrue to say that it did not help. A lot.

    A few choice quotes:

    Lilo (pulling a doll out of her backpack): This is Scrump. I made her. But her head is too big, so I pretended that a bug laid eggs in her ear, and she’s upset because she has only a few more days to…

    Lilo: We’re a broken family, aren’t we?
    Nani: No. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot. I shouldn’t have yelled at you.
    Lilo: We’re sisters. It’s our job.
    Nani: Yeah, well, from now on…
    Lilo: I like you better as a sister than a mom.

    Lilo (while creating voodoo dolls of her playmates): My friends need to be punished.

    Pleakley: Look! A mosquito has chosen me as her perch. She’s so beautiful. Look, another one! And another one! Why, it’s a whole flock! They like me! They’re nuzzling my flesh with their noses! Now they’re… they’re… Aaaaaaaah!

    Lilo: You came back.
    Stitch: Nobody gets left behind.

    Stitch: This is my family. I found it all on my own. It’s little, and broken, but still good. Yeah – still good.