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Ben Simon Author Archive

Is the Dream over? NBC/Universal to acquire DreamWorks Animation

It’s official – Comcast owned NBC/Universal will acquire DreamWorks Animation, the sale bringing DWA back under the same fold as its original parent DreamWorks/Amblin, whose films are now distributed by Universal. Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DWA will finally compete with Disney on a massive scale, from television to theme parks and, while he will stay on in […]


How Disney’s original Jungle Book remains Germany’s biggest film!

Jeffrey Katzenberg’s recipe for “the perfect family movie”

The Good Dinosaur

Pixar’s latest makes a quick transfer to home video, where its simple pleasures will be enjoyed by a younger than usual audience for the Studio’s films, even if parents may wonder why the originality is extinct.


The Return Of 2015: Animated Views’ Review Of The Year!

As awards season comes to an end, we offer our own appraisal of the last year’s offerings in film, home video, books, music and more!


Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs: Walt Disney Signature Collection

Disney’s first feature is back on Blu-ray in a decent, maybe even solid but certainly not spectacular edition that repeats as many extras as it drops more significant ones.


Magic In The Air: looking back on the making of The Muppet Christmas Carol

Toy Story That Time Forgot

The traditions of Toy Story are put aside for what is essentially an overlong imaginary sequence (without anyone imagining). It’s fun while it lasts but may easily end up being forgotten.


Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

A recommended way to catch up on some recent oddities and curios alongside more well-known modern cartoons, even if the selection doesn’t quite feel complete enough.


Strange Magic

Where is Jar Jar Binks when you need him? Only interminable tedium is to be found in George Lucas’ jukebox musical, which you get the feeling Disney has (quite rightly) dumped out due to a contractual obligation.


A Conversation with Terry Rawlings

Editor Terry Rawlings counts many impressive films amongst his credits, including Alien and Blade Runner. Here he talks about his 50-plus year career and his picture cutting debut Watership Down, newly available on Blu-ray.


Frozen: The Poster Collection

Disney keeps the Frozen merchandising wheel a-turning with an oversized print presentation of 40 pull-out-and-frame poster images. Most collectors will likely keep the book intact – if they can fit it onto their shelves!


Big Hero 6

It’s Frozen for the boys as Disney strikes back with their take on lesser-known characters from the pages of Marvel Comics for another, freshly Academy Award-winning blockbuster!


One Hundred And One Dalmatians: Diamond Edition

Walt Disney’s fantastic animated thriller makes a solid return to disc, here in an HD transfer that hits the spot and with a fairly robust package of old and new extras.


The Boxtrolls

Laika returns with another slightly oddball release, where the film’s strong villain isn’t quite matched by such a solid storyline, even if the hand-crafted animation is as exquisite as ever.


The Best Of 2014: Son Of 2013!

The good, the bad and the ugly of the past year are all exposed in the return of our annual survey, featuring our top picks in DVD, Blu-ray and theatrical releases – plus your choices too!


Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is excellent as Disney’s iconic villain, here given the backstory treatment in a visual feast of a film, though this new Blu-ray disappoints with a lack of any magnificent extras.


Planes: Fire & Rescue

Dusty is back again with the second in the Planes franchise (and fourth film set in the world of Cars), this time joining a band of air firefighters for a lightweight diversion.


Toy Story Of Terror!

With Halloween upon us, we take a look at the Blu-ray release of the Toy Story gang’s creepy stay at a roadside motel, now on disc with a terrifyingly great package of extras!


Saving Mr Banks

Disney’s own retelling of a moment in the Studio’s history doesn’t dig deep enough to be a real “making of Mary Poppins“, but a unique story angle and fun 1960s recreations add up to a jolly confection that should please fans and casual viewers alike.


Peter Pan: Return To Never-Land

Pan flies again in Disney’s direct-to-video turned theatrically-released sequel, breaking the curse of the DTVs but not really providing anything we haven’t seen before.


Oliver & Company: 25th Anniversary Edition

Disney does Dickens as the story of Oliver gets a new twist in a modern-day New York setting populated by celebrity-voiced canines. An HD transfer is top dog, but the (same old) extras are kitty litter.


Robin Hood: 40th Anniversary Edition

This fast and furry-ous animal take on the Robin Hood legend is Disney at its most economical artistically, but that doesn’t hamper a good tale being told with fun characters and music; the Studio’s new disc is a winner too.


The Sword In The Stone: 50th Anniversary Edition

Walt’s side-swiping comedy take on the King Arthur legend isn’t what you’ll be expecting, though it is a lot of fun and cooks up some great characters, even if Disney’s HD disc has its own severe problems…


Lilo And Stitch: 2-Movie Collection

Disney’s zero-extras policy on its June 11 titles continues here, leaving the included DVD to mop up the embarrassing lack of anything on the Blu-ray except for the feature’s pristine picture and sound.


Atlantis: The Lost Empire – 2 Movie Collection

Could Disney’s BD set of its epic adventure be among the last to offer decent extras? It’s the only of the Studio’s June titles to do so, also bolstered by exceptional audio and video, even if a “sequel” is predictably dire.


The Emperor’s New Groove: 2-Movie Collection

Disney’s raucous comedy is still a laughfest, but this barren Blu-ray set only provides a decent picture upgrade: a video sequel is here but limited extras are only on DVD.


Oz, The Great And Powerful (regular and 3D editions)

Sam Raimi’s return to Oz is more lame and disappointing, truth be told, with surprisingly bad effects only countered by Danny Elfman’s score. Disney’s two conflicting disc options offer great extras or 3D, not both.


Who Framed Roger Rabbit: 25th Anniversary Edition

Roger is back in the limelight for a 25th anniversary revisit of the groundbreaking contemporary classic that put animation back on the map. The Disney renaissance started here, the set celebrates the film well.


The Hunchback Of Notre Dame: 2-Movie Collection

Proving musical Hugo doesn’t just mean Les Mis, Disney’s bold take on Gothic literature looks gorgeous here, even if an almost total lack of extras and a truly risible sequel somewhat spoil the original’s legacy.



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