Hello there, cartoon lovers! I’m stepping in today to help Ben out, as he deals with other stuff. That darn “real life”, always intruding on things! Ah, how we all wish we could devote all of our time and energy to Animated Views, if only we didn’t have jobs, and family, and various other responsibilities.

First, a little Cinderella III follow-up… Say what you want about those Disney direct-to-video features; they sure sell like gangbusters! Cinderella III, riding a strong advertising campaign and using the trusted gimmick of time travel/alternate realities, shot to number 1 on the DVD sales charts in its first week of release— with a take 80% higher than its nearest rival. Yes, purists may cringe, but it’s nice to see that the quality hand-drawn animation on the title is getting a tidy audience. Open Season apparently finished fourth for that week, which seems about right to me. I won’t be offering a full review on Open Season, but let it suffice to say that I found it to lie in the middle of 2006’s pack of “animals on an adventure” films. Right now, I’m really looking forward to the DVD release of Flushed Away since I never saw it in the theater (I see far more on DVD these days). Its take of five Annies recently just makes me all that more keen to see it.

Speaking of reviews, though, we have a few more up for you right now. I hasten to point out that we here at Animated Views are devoted to not only covering the most recent releases; we also wish to develop a catalog of reviews that cover much of what we find entertaining, interesting, unique, or otherwise collectible in the animation-on-DVD world. This is a personal thing, naturally, so we must balance out what we like with what we think our readers would like. The reviewers here do have a backlog of reviews to post, created prior to the launch of Animated Views, and we’re doing our best to get them all up. We are also trying to fill the gaps we perceive. We have a lot of ground to cover, thanks to the wealth of titles that have been released into the marketplace, so it’s tricky to give proper attention to older releases while also trying to stay current.

Naturally, Disney is a big name in the animation field, so we try to review as many of their significant titles as possible. Rodney has therefore prepared a nice review of Robin Hood: Most Wanted Edition for your enjoyment. While not up to the standards of the true Disney masterpieces, the film remains more entertaining than a number of other animated efforts of recent years.

We’re definitely loving what BCI is doing with their releases, so we’ve tried to get done as many reviews of their sets as possible. When we launched a few moths ago, a few of their sets were highlighted in the review column to your left. Most recently, I posted a review for the bizarre but fun Defenders Of The Earth: The Complete Series, Volume One. Then, looking for something to tie in with this King Features mash-o-rama, I posted a review for Image’s Beetle Bailey/Hagar The Horrible/Betty Boop disc. More BCI reviews shall definitely be coming soon!

This past weekend, I also tried going through things alphabetically, eager to put up a bunch of catalog reviews before I get to reviewing such recent titles as The Last Unicorn, Hellboy, and Amazing Screw-On Head later in the next week or so. (Sorry for the tardiness. Amazon.ca was a tad late shipping my order.) So, for now you may behold Batman: The Mystery Of The Batwoman, Batman Beyond: The Complete First Season, and the surprisingly entertaining The Chipmunk Adventure. On the more lowbrow side, there’s the fun of Harvey Birdman: Volume One, and the rather raunchy and twisted Drawn Together: Season One.

I didn’t quite go totally alphabetical, though, because I left out all three versions of Astro Boy. I’ll save those for a little later and post them all at once. It’ll be worth the wait, I hope.

Several more new titles are also ready for review that I won’t mention yet. So, there shall be lots more to read in the coming days and weeks. Still, there is a lot of product out there, so we wouldn’t mind a little help. First of all, if there are specific titles you would like to see reviewed, let us know— either by e-mailing us or posting in the Forum. We’ll try to get to it, or may even already have a review just waiting to be posted. (First of all, though, you may wish to try the Search function at the top of this screen, as we may have snuck in a review without mentioning it here. We do have over 110 reviews already.) Secondly, we just may have a, shall we say… casting call soon. Stay tooned!

And of course, we’re not just about DVD reviews. We’ll keep bringing you as many features and interviews as we possibly can. We’re just starting to roll, and we think the best is yet to come! – Rand.