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Reviews Archive for Ben Simon

Tangled: Before Ever After

The Tangled television series kicks off with this debut movie, whose job is simply to restore Rapunzel’s golden locks for the ongoing show in an entertaining enough fashion.


The Road To Broadway And Beyond: Disney’s Aladdin – A Whole New World

As opulent as the film and current stage smash it documents and celebrates, Michael Lassell’s book is a wish come true for fans.


Sing

Fun and funny, with a killer, wide-ranging soundtrack that overcomes its cartoon karaoke concept, and some great character animation, Sing turns out to be the best singing contest on screens right now.


Moana: Ultimate Collectors Edition

Disney’s second animated smash of 2016 is this brilliant action adventure musical from masters of the craft John Musker and Ron Clements, and this disc presentation is as solid as they come!


Pinocchio: Walt Disney Signature Collection

Walt Disney’s epic masterpiece joins the Signature line, with a typically light treatment where the (lack of new) supplements can’t hold a candle to the brilliant feature.


Pete’s Dragon

One of Disney’s biggest surprises of the year is this wonderfully good-natured gem, a mighty fine family film that stands out from all the other talking animals and fish currently out there. Just lovely.


The BFG

Spielberg directs a rare misfire that draws on Roald Dahl’s book, Amblin production values and Disney magic, but disappointingly fails to deliver on all lackluster counts.


The Secret Life Of Pets

Illumination’s latest finally breaks away from those Minions, with a less distinctive movie that still delivers laughs even if it gets close to being lost in the animal comedy fray.


Kubo And The Two Strings

Laika steps up stop-motion, and largely western animation in general, with this beautiful and deeply heartfelt tale, nicely showcased on this disc.


Finding Dory

Pixar’s Nemo sequel is a movie in search of a plot and, despite huge audience approval, one just doesn’t get the feeling the filmmakers were really invested in what amounts to being a major creative disappointment.


Back In Time

Back In Time strives to entertain with stories of making Back To The Future and the fan community that has built up around the trilogy, but you’ll end up using your remote to travel forward and save a few minutes.


All Things Must Pass: The Rise And Fall Of Tower Records

It used to be the place to buy your LaserDiscs and soundtracks, remembered fondly in this entertainingly celebrational retrospective.


Beauty And The Beast: 25th Anniversary Walt Disney Signature Collection

As with Snow White, this second Signature disc is perfectly fine, but loses everything that made past editions must-haves.


The Walt Disney Studios: A Lot To Remember

Becky Cline and Steven Clark prove there is a lot to remember about the Walt Disney Studios, and all of it worthy of discovering or revisiting in this lavish new book.


The Jungle Book

A terrific audio-visual presentation, commentary and documentary bolster this disc debut for Disney’s triumphant re-do, though it feels more might come in a promised 3D edition.


Raiders! The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

A terrific extras package makes up for a slight lack of focus in the main feature itself, which tells of a bunch of kids remaking Indy’s first screen adventure.


Anomalisa

Not for everyone, and certainly not for kids, Anomalisa reminds us that animation is a medium, not a genre, and can be used to tell all kinds of stories, from the fantastical to the mundane…in a fantastical fashion.


Elstree 1976

The Force isn’t too strong with this peek behind the masks of a bunch of Star Wars actors and bit-parters that’s as down to earth as its personalities and lacking a true spark of real content over curiosity.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!



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