Reviews Archive for Ben Simon > Page 2

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.

Mulan: 15th Anniversary 2-Movie Collection

Mulan returns in a gorgeous digital transfer that retains the beauty of the movie, and a very decent package includes a sequel and (mostly) all previous DVD extras!

Brother Bear: 2-Movie Collection

Disney’s quality animated animal adventure and its better than average video follow-up make for a strong Blu-ray package, especially with all their previous DVD extras also included!

Wreck-It Ralph: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Either the most unique movie in Disney’s recent history or the one that doesn’t feel like a Disney movie at all, Ralph is entertaining even if it’s game over for the very basic extras package.

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story Of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman

An uneven film still makes for a visually interesting and sporadically amusing take on the life of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman.

Monsters, Inc.: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Pixar’s terrific entertainment returns and, a fumbled theatrical reissue aside, looks spectacular in 3D and flat versions. Disney’s package even adds more than the previous BD set, for a truly Ultimate Edition!

Peter Pan: Diamond Edition

One of Walt’s best is again given what Hook himself might describe as a “poor show” treatment on Blu-ray, and even the one new substantial extra may not appeal to all fans; it’s the least sparkly of the Diamonds so far…

Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues

The Tiny Toons are back on top form after their Vacation movie suffered less than notable treatment from Warners: this is the first of two final sets that will wrap up the show on DVD.

Frankenweenie

Tim Burton’s latest doesn’t have the warmth and heart of his previous stop-motion outings, and Disney’s lackluster disc package doesn’t really make up for things.

Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2

A second helping of Pixar’s shorts doesn’t have the wow factor of the earlier films but Disney’s package finds room for something even cooler in John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Pete Docter’s Cal-Arts student films!

Finding Nemo: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

An earlier Pixar attempt to break away from inanimate objects and toward organic elements, Nemo remains a triumph, and although Disney’s new 3D set drops some DVD extras it also adds some new ones.

Up: 3D Edition

Up returns in 3D and, several more viewings over the couple of years on from its original release it can now be seen as the almost Pixar-perfect movie that it is. The 3D is a worthy addition, for once, even if the extras are the same as before.

ParaNorman

The latest stop-motion feature from the Coraline team pushes the boundaries of the technique even further once more, even if the resulting film is ironically a little lifeless. Universal’s disc presentation, however, is absolutely first rate.

Brave: Ultimate Collector’s Edition

Pixar’s medieval Scottish-set fairytale adventure has the required magic to cast its spell, even if it’s not quite as robust as usual from the Studio, but Disney’s disc treatment is excellent.

Prep & Landing: Totally Tinsel Collection

Disney’s three Christmas television specials come to disc together for the first time and, with a great selection of extras, make for a great stocking filler!

Bugs Bunny Superstar

Larry Jackson and Bob Clampett’s documentary tribute to Termite Terrace is a unique, one of a kind retrospective that should be on any serious cartoon buff’s shelf!

Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume Two

Another excellent collection of classic Tunes swings the attention from Chuck Jones and onto his stable-mates, particularly Tex Avery and Friz Freleng, with a host of welcome old and new documentary profiles. Essential!

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Third time around for one of DreamWorks’ most popular franchises and it’s back to what made the first film fun, with a fresh take, lots of comedy and heart, and a great disc presentation.

Pete’s Dragon: 35th Anniversary Edition

Disney’s live-action and animated combination is a winning family fantasy that provides classic entertainment. This new disc actually has less extras than any before, but the film itself looks great in a new transfer.

The Halloween Tree

In time for All Hallows Eve, Ray Bradbury’s tale of ghosts and magic debuts on DVD from the Warner Archive. The disc is skeleton barebones but contains enough other mummies, witches and creatures to spell a suitably spooky Halloween treat.