Walt Disney Productions (January 25 1961), Walt Disney Home Entertainment (March 4 2008), 2 discs, 79 mins plus supplements, 1.33:1 original negative ratio, Dolby Digital, Rated G, Retail: $29.99
London Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita are a happy couple, living in Regent’s Park with their human “pets” Anita and Roger Radcliff. When Anita’s old schoolmate Cruella de Vil learns that Perdita is about to give birth to a litter of puppies, she makes an offer to buy them all up – so that she can skin them all and make her dream of a Dalmatian fur coat a gruesome reality! When Roger rejects her offer, she sends around her dastardly henchmen, Jasper and Horace, to steal the puppies, along with 84 other Dalmatians from across England, to be locked away somewhere in the English countryside. Although songwriter Roger has a good idea who is behind it all (inspiring his top seller Cruella de Vil in the process), the humans seem helpless, so it’s down to Pongo and Perdy to track down the puppies and take on Cruella and her cohorts themselves!
The Sweatbox Review:
You’ve got to love One Hundred And One Dalmatians (and not 101 Dalmatians as the marketing now has it – that’s the poor 1990s live-action flick), the 1961 animated feature that ushered in the pencil lined Xerox process which saw the animators’ original images transferred more directly to the screen. The film was something of a gamble: the lavishly produced Sleeping Beauty had proven an elaborate and costly film to make, and had not performed as previous Disney fairytales Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella had done, causing a bit of a headache for the Studio – namely, could animated feature films continue to be made as viable commercial endeavors? As had happened before, and would do again, there was a lot riding on the success – or failure – of this Disney outing.
The Xerox process provided a way for Disney’s films to stay contemporary and blend in with the growing trend for stylised, limited animation methods. Cartoon shorts had been going this way throughout the 1950s, led originally by United Productions of America, and slowly the ethos of more simply designed characters, sharper movement (which required fewer images) and broader, emptier backgrounds (kept interesting by sometimes daringly used graphic representations of locations) also led to these shorts being cheaper to produce – an important cost cutter in the era that saw many cartoon studios going out of business. When it came to feature animation, another expensive misfire like Sleeping Beauty would have sunk anyone other than a Disney, but even he couldn’t gamble as much as that. It was down to Walt’s wizard extraordinaire and the man who on and off had been with him since the beginning, Ub Iwerks, to make their next project, an adaptation of Dodie Smith’s 1956 book, work on screen, and for a fraction of the usual price.
Beauty had been in production over six years at the Studio, eating up resources and guzzling cash – it was, at the time, the priciest animated feature made to date, complete with six-track stereo surround sound and widescreen 70mm to boot! That the film lacked Walt’s personal touch was evident (though it’s also fair to say that 1959 was not a record breaking year for any Hollywood studio), but what was true was that, as Walt had done after the ambitious Pinocchio and Fantasia both disappointed at the box office, the Studio needed a simple story that could be made quickly and economically. Not only did the Xerox process keep costs down, but it also aided the animators in not losing their heads keeping track of all the puppy spots they’d be required to animate!
Iwerks had rejoined the Studio in the technical department (his freelance non-Disney work would also take in Flip the Frog for MGM and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds) and came up with the Xerox process, which copied the (cleaned up) animators’ drawings directly to cels, cutting out the need for an inker (which would sadly not be the last time a hefty segment of the animation department would be let go). There was still obviously a need for the painters to add color, but the system pleased the artists themselves, who felt their work was being preserved and finally presented in a more direct way, rather than having their drawings traced by the inkers. This produced a more “fluid” illusion of movement and gave great life to the images, though Walt wasn’t particularly pleased with the technique and remained reluctant to continue to use it until he saw it really was the only way to keep his beloved animation division alive.
The process meant the need for characters’ outlines to be burnt to the cel in solid black as opposed to the individually colored lines the inkers had been able to use, giving characters a sketchy look that needed rougher, somewhat grungier backgrounds. Ken Anderson’s production design for the film made the most of this: the layouts are among the most abstract in any Disney feature, with large blocks of color encompassing tinier details, props, architecture and furniture. Walt eventually grew to accept the look and it became a Studio trademark – I think it is what actually gives Dalmatians and the later Winnie The Pooh and Jungle Book their relentless, infectious energy, though it’s easy to agree with the old Mousetro that the approach is not best suited for the more traditional tales of The Sword In The Stone or Mary Poppins. However, it was the way all the Studio’s films were produced up until the new generation of artists pushed for a way to return to the original way of creating animation, which finally came thanks to computer-assisted production where the artists’ refined drawings could be transferred and painted in the computer, allowing for the best of both worlds.
With Dalmatians, style was of great importance. Due to the rough-edged look of the animators’ sketches, production design could not be too lush or as “deep” as the films of the 40s and 50s. Therefore, heavily “blocked out” backgrounds and layouts dominate the film, indicating to the audience that this is a new Disney, a different kind of Disney, with a modern look to fit the new decade. This approach serves the source material well – Smith’s original book sets the action in a contemporary world and this abstract, sometimes surreal setting is perfectly balanced with her words. This was, discounting Dumbo (whose circus setting provides its own old-fashioned feel in any case), Disney’s first contemporary tale, and is quite reflective of the thrillers and adventures Walt was making in live-action and for his Wonderful World Of Color TV show at the time. There are even a couple of great television gags: the puppies’ hero is a TV action dog (which the direct-to-video sequel uses as a nice reference and set up nod), and a fun spoof of “guess my profession” styled game shows is titled What’s My Crime?, while an often made mistake is that the cartoon they watch in captivity is a black and white version of Flowers And Trees – in fact it’s the naturally monochrome 1921 Silly Symphony Springtime.
Brimming with energy, wit and style, One Hundred And One Dalmatians is perhaps the most “modern” of Walt Disney’s original films and certainly atypical of what the Studio was otherwise turning out. The contemporary setting has not dated in the least, and there are no real pointers that the film was created in the “swinging 60s” apart from the animation process. The script has real moments of poignant feeling (Roger’s life-saving Lucky is as low-key and dramatically realistic as they come), as well as some very funny supporting characters, and a big dose of high adventure. Betty Lou Gerson’s Cruella, along with Marc Davis’ tour-de-force visual interpretation, is one of Disney’s most classic villainesses (not until Robin Williams’ Genie would there be a better pairing of artist and vocalist) and her backups Jasper and Horace are among the most rounded of support players. Adding class is Rod Taylor as Pongo, who’d just scored a hit as the inventor in George Pal’s film version of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine. One nice trivia fact is that Ben Wright, who brings Pongo’s owner Roger to life, would later return to the Studio to portray Grimsby in The Little Mermaid!
The story is tight too, faithful to the book (even if it does omit some characters) in a way that Disney never was with some of his earlier films and the later Poppins and Jungle Book. Because she’s not full of magic and after something very real and very cruel, Cruella also comes off as being one of the truly terrifyingly real Disney villains, which also helps the film elevate itself up from “mere” animated feature and into the lofty heights of pure modern-day cinema thriller. More importantly, there’s nothing really here that dates One Hundred And One Dalmatians, and given the resurgence in the Xerox look thanks to the credit sequence in the recent Ratatouille and DVD bonus Your Friend The Rat, the film still feels pretty sharp looking today. It was, of course, an instant hit on release, preserving the animation unit and allowing work to continue safely on films up until Walt’s death during The Jungle Book when it then fell to that film, and its successor The AristoCats to once again prove Disney animation could sustain itself.
Although One Hundred And One Dalmatians should feel episodic in nature, it never is, as the main arc is so well played that the story does not have time to slow down, the suspense stretching to breaking point at times. One of Disney’s most enjoyable films, forget the live-action remake (and its even poorer sequel) and lap up this original animated classic!
Is This Thing Loaded?
Previously released in the early days of DVD where the prospect of “full color artwork on disc” and “interactive menus” didn’t even sound that promising even then, One Hundred And One Dalmatians’ original Limited Issue, as with so many of those early titles, lacked any meaty bonus features, save for a 1991 reissue trailer – a feature that has gone more and more unchecked on Disney DVDs, especially the lighter and lighter Platinum Editions. I’m really not sure exactly how prestigious these releases are any more: what started as a ten-film series of Disney’s most important and biggest hits has quickly degenerated into a line of so-so special editions, some certainly not deserving of any Platinum distinction. So how does this new Dalmatians scrub up? Top dog or hound dog?
Starting the first disc launches the now ubiquitous “Disney” promo before a Dalmatians-themed anti-smoking ad (the new smoke-free Disney’s way of neutralising the chain-puffing villainess of the film I suppose) and an onslaught of Sneak Peeks burst onto the screen, also selectable from their own menu. Sleeping Beauty, WALL-E (never has a “lunch” held such significance!), Jungle Book 2, a Tinker Bell teaser (in 2.35:1??), Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning and two different Mickey Mouse Clubhouse spots are all present and correct, as is the usual push for the Disney Movie Rewards program. For those that can’t wait to get to Disc Two, a one minute preview can also be found, though why not just move on to the disc itself!?
The menus themselves are pretty great, aping the title sequence animation very well, albeit looking mighty attractive in the 16×9 format that the feature isn’t presented in. Disc One’s supplements themselves are fairly weak; instead of a much-needed audio commentary track, we’re offered 101 Pop-Up Trivia Facts in two configurations: for the Family, or for the Fan. What’s nice is, despite the packaging, the film is referred to correctly in all the supplements as One Hundred And One Dalmatians, even noting the subtle change from Smith’s original title The Hundred And One Dalmatians.
Although the Family track is predictably more general and less involving, focusing on simpler matters such as the real-life inspirations, locations used and other minutiae, there’s still some good info, especially notable changes from Smith’s book. The Fan track delivers a little more meat on the bones, concentrating instead on cast, crew and production. But at just 101 pop-ups per track (nope, I didn’t count them to verify!) it might have been of more use to those interested if both had been combined, since they’re fairly sparse and compliment each other nicely, thus forgoing the need to run the movie twice and a fair amount of overlapping.
The only other extra on Disc One is a Selena Gomez Cruella de Vil music video, running a boring three and a half minutes in 4×3 video. In the huge library of classic Disney songmusic, Dalmatians composer Mel Leven is often overlooked, despite Cruella de Vil perhaps being one of the most covered of all Disney tracks. While not as offensive as the awful re-do of I Wan’na Be Like You featured on The Jungle Book Platinum Edition, this new, predictably Disney Channel-led take on Leven’s Cruella theme brings little new to the party, and it’s even a bit confused, seemingly taking the 1990s live-action version as an inspiration point. Cutting between clips from the animated movie and shots featuring Gomez pouting her breathy vocals beyond her years, like a precocious over made-up six or nine year old, stuck in some kind of spotty decorated box (nope, me neither), I’d have much preferred to have seen any of the previous versions of the song that have been commercially released.
Disc Two, which is presented almost exclusively in 16×9 (go figure!) is spliced up into three sections – For The Humans: Backstage Disney, For The Humans: Music And More, and For The Dogs: Games And Activities, accompanied by fair computer generated approximations of a couple of Dalmatian puppies, but are not without some rendering flaws. Getting the dogs/kids’ stuff out of the way first, I’ll confess to not spending much time with the Virtual Dalmatian DVD-ROM after finding that previous similar features on the Lady And The Tramp and The AristoCats discs, using the always troublesome InterActual installer, crashed my system. There is a Set-Top Sampler, but it only allows a choice of two out of four of the puppies to play with, and since I couldn’t select my favorite, Lucky, I only gave it a quick glance, the result being that this is probably the most accomplished of these things and seemingly less cumbersome than before.
A Puppy Profiler asks a series of questions which the player must answer truthfully in order to find out which human pet they would most match with. Confusingly, the questions are from a dog’s eye view and can lead to some bizarre conclusions (it turned out I’d make good pals with Belle, Jasmine and Cinderella in one attempt, but a better fit for Roger and Anita on a second go). The One Hundred And One Dalmatians Fun With Language Games begs the question of if any voice over has ever been read out any s-l-o-w-e-r anywhere: I don’t suspect even the youngest of children would appreciate the patronising tone, and again I’ll admit to not even making it through the opening introduction. Ouch!
Heading into Backstage Disney is where the human collectors are best served, and the biggest supplement here is the excellent new documentary Redefining The Line: The Making Of One Hundred And One Dalmatians. Broken up into seven smaller featurettes, a handy Play All runs them together in a coherent 34 minute stream, covering everything from the publication of Dodie Smith’s book, storyman Bill Peet’s adaptation and the introduction of the Xerox process, to Marc Davis and Milt Kahl’s animation, the amazing achievement of shooting Cruella’s motorcar “for real”, and the public reception.
When these kinds of documentaries are done well, they really shine, and this one is first rate. It’s also cool to hear that my personal views on the film are reflected from those who really should know what they’re talking about: such fans as Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Brad Bird, Ron Clements and Don Hahn (listed here only as a “producer” and not a “Disney producer”) all praise the film with comments along the same lines as I’ve mentioned above. The most frustrating thing with the doc, though, and yet further proof that we’re being short-changed in the attempts to promote the better Blu-Ray format, is that the entire thing is presented in letterboxed widescreen only (including matted film clips). There’s no reason to have done this other than for when Dalmatians eventually makes its hi-def debut and the marketing can announce that this particular extra is available in full 1080p resolution. What a cheat!
Cruella de Vil: Drawn To Be Bad is a terrific stand-alone featurette (seven minutes, again in 16×9 letterbox) that showcases perhaps Disney’s most successful villain of all time. The talents that brought her to the screen (from author Smith, storyman Peet, animator Davis, and voice actress Gerson) are saluted, as well as Mary Wickes’ contributions via live-action reference. Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney focuses on original author Smith and her correspondence with movie producer Walt before, during and after the process of bringing her book to the screen. British Disney historian, the always great Brian Sibley, is the perfect narrator for this trip through archival photos, original letters and, most interestingly, “dramatic reconstructions” of imagined scenarios as the two creative forces “speak” through written words. It’s a nice idea, fairly well brought to life, and “authentic” down to having an appropriate stand-in for Walt’s secretary Hazel George, though the actor doubling Walt doesn’t have quite the right kind of vocal intonation that Corey Burton captured so genuinely in the “Story Meetings” recreated for the Platinum Edition of Bambi.
That’s a small regret, however, and this is a very insightful supplement (running well over 12 minutes), even more so because it seems Smith wasn’t an active participant in the production and eventually only saw it in final form at a private screening in London. Although this edition of Dalmatians may feel light on truly in-depth extras, it’s things like these – really nicely thought out, filmed and edited – that make up the differences for aficionados. Also making up for the lack of extensive Studio documentation (unless further bonuses are being held back for Blu-Ray) is a welcome surprise, a series of theatrical Trailers, Radio and TV Spots! Long an absent feature not only in the Platinum series but Disney DVDs in general, I can only imagine their inclusion here is to bump up the collection of material.
Almost going for overkill, we’re offered three teasers and trailers for the original 1961 release (including an early CinemaScope print) and four spots for the 1969 reissue (including one as an exciting double bill with Swiss Family Robinson). The 1979 reissue brings further four trailers and TV spots (one a French Canadian oddity with a pretty spooky voiceover), while 1985 has to make do with one preview (and there’s nothing from the 1991 release, meaning those with the Limited Issue disc have a reason to keep that edition). Radio Spots include three for 1961, six for 1969 and four for 1979, the two best being 1969’s “R&B Version” (with a brief chance to hear the 1960s pop version of Cruella de Vil) and the almost bonkers “adult Detective” spot from 1979 – all great fun!
Extensive Art Galleries offer up images from seven stages of production: Visual Development; Character Design; Layouts, Backgrounds & Overlays; Storyboard Art; Live-Action Reference; Animation Art; and general Production Photos. A generous helping in each section rounds up the total count to almost 250 images and, seeing as hardly any of it is overused in the documentary material, there’s a lot of never before seen stuff in here ripe for studying. The Storyboard and Live-Action Reference stills are perhaps most interesting, but this is genuinely fascinating stuff, even if there’s too much bordering and the photos themselves are a little small in the frame.
Finally, head back to the main menu to select Music & More: a selection of rare demos and alternate tracks. Songwriter Mel Leven doesn’t often get the chance to grab the spotlight, but here we can hear the musical progression of Dalmatians, both from his own intended songs and those from other composers earlier versions of songs. A Play All option runs all six selections in one row, but much better is going the individual route, where pages of text place selected cues in context. March Of The One Hundred And One looks like it came extremely close to inclusion (but was rightly cut to maintain dramatic tension), Cheerio, Good-Bye, Toodle-oo, Hip Hip! was written earlier by Leven for a similar situation in the movie, and Don’t Buy A Parrot From A Sailor is an abandoned song moment for the Badduns, Jasper and Horace. There are extended cast and temp recordings of Dalmatian Plantation and – real highlights – multiple alternates for Cruella de Vil: Spooky and Blues Ballad demos, “Roger” takes, unused Honky-Tonk piano underscore, and even three alternate “Radio Hit” versions! Lastly, there’s the chance to hear nine different vocal approaches to the Kanine Krunchies jingle in a variety of accents and styles, ranging from “British” to “Eton Boy”, all performed by Lucille Bliss. With the majority accompanied by appropriate storyboard art, this is a terrific delve into the archives to hear how much attention was lavished on Dalmatians’ musical score.
What’s Missing? As has become something to think about with these Platinum Editions, we must decide if full marks should be awarded to the supplements. As it seems, Dalmatians was quickly put into production and doesn’t appear to have the usual wealth of archived material to draw upon when it comes to packing in a two-disc set. There are a couple of omissions that I at least know of, and apart from a potential commentary track, the Limited Issue disc of course included an additional theatrical trailer from the 1991 reissue which otherwise has no reason being absent here. There was also a fairly recent BBC documentary that aired in the UK about the life of book author Dodie Smith which heavily focused on Dalmatians both as her most successful book and the production of Walt’s film, also touching on her friendship with Disney and which would have made a perfect compliment to the correspondence feature included.
However, and although not packed, the supplements here are all so well produced – especially the documentary and correspondence featurette – and the inclusion of the theatrical trailers and, particularly, the extensive catalog of music recordings, that it’s easy to forgive such oversights. As understated and perfectly formed as One Hundred And One Dalmatians is as a movie, these fully-rounded extras match the main feature wonderfully.
The Platinums, after a very rocky start, finally seem to have settled down in cover design to simple embossed glossy slipcases. It’s always been a bit of a lucky-dip as to how the supposedly similar Platinum Editions would come packaged: since Snow White we’ve had double width keepcases, slimlines, slipcases (with or without book openings, embossed art or gloss) and deluxe gift sets…indeed, in the UK, the series continues to come housed in slightly niftier book editions [right] – ultimately disappointing inside but much nicer and more prestigious to look at on the shelf.
Here we get some nice artwork, a new montage that’s not actually a million miles off one of the original 1961 posters. While there certainly are not 101 puppies on the front, we do get representations of Patch, Lucky and what looks like Rolly even if he’s not quite rounded enough, while a groovy spotty effect can be found in the title treatment if one holds it up to the light. Most annoyingly is the continuing insistence to call the film “101 Dalmatians” instead of Walt’s original full title (everywhere except for the listing of two supplements on the back). Strangely, the cover assigns the film not to Walt himself (as is usual for his era films), nor to the Studio (as is usual for post-Walt movies), but goes the way of the generic “Walt Disney” badge. The back cover also makes a big thing out of Disney’s new logo…it takes up a fair and noticeable chunk of space in the bottom right hand corner. All gripes aside, though, this is one of the nicest Disney sleeves in a long time.
Inside, there’s a Dalmatians themed Grand Adventure Sweepstakes, offering the chance to win a trip (for just two!?) to London and providing the Movie Rewards code (a question: call me a geek for noticing something so small, but why does the bunch of DVDs the guy holding on the back include Sony’s The Triplets Of Belleville!?). A vouchers and promos booklet doesn’t offer many coupons but does do a lot of promoting of upcoming Disney product, including new spins around the block for Walt’s South American films, Jungle Book 2, 101 Dalmatians II, a 45th Anniversary Sword In The Stone and the next Platinum/Blu-Ray edition of Sleeping Beauty, coming this fall (can you say pointless double dip?). A Platinum-staple DVD Guide provides all the info you’ll need on what’s on the two discs, as well as proclaiming this title as “the eleventh release” in the originally ten-series Platinums, pointing to the at last release of Pinocchio on both DVD and Blu-Ray this time next year!
Ink And Paint:
Y’know, these Platinums sure are a frustrating bunch. After the dropping the ball of Lady And The Tramp, where a frankly poor pan-and-scan crop job replaced what should have been Walt’s own Academy-framed version of the movie, and the previous chopping off of top and bottom of frames for The Jungle Book (and other Disney DVD offerings of Robin Hood and The AristoCats), we have another screen anomaly here. I’m all for presenting Walt’s “open matte” features on home video in widescreen ratios – just as they would have been seen in theaters, in fact – but request that the original negative ratio also be preserved in these restorations. What Dalmatians does is go for the easy route, presenting only the full 1.37:1 negative ratio, without the theatrical widescreen ratio anywhere to be found.
Why the big deal? Well, if any of Disney’s open matte features deserves to be seen in a winder ratio, it’s Dalmatians, intentionally animated for a cropping of the Academy framing for wider theatrical dimensions and further providing another level of a contemporary feel due to many of our screens approximating this aspect today. And it’s not as if the feature is taking up the required space: at just almost 80 minutes, it’s not as if the disc’s compression would have to be working over time. In fact, it’s not even working under time here: the 5-6mbps encode and scant bonus features would pretty much fit snugly on a DVD-5 single layer disc. This is, ultimately just a waste of a second layer, which could have once again housed two perfectly valid screen ratios. Oh, to be in charge of Disney’s classic releases and see them being done right…I truly fear for these films’ future Blu-Ray releases…
The actual transfer we are presented with here does look, well, spotless. The original Limited Issue disc was no slouch itself, offering a crisp print with minimal wear and tear (any marks actually helped the grungy look to the artwork), and the only thing that could be seen as a distraction in this version are the overly bright colors – not for the first time does a Disney classic end up looking closer to its digitally created sequel DVD cousin than I suspect was actually intended by the original artists, even if the Studio is suggesting that a recently unearthed Dye Transfer print informed the coloring. While I might be tempted to advocate keeping hold of those Limited Issues for a more film-like transfer, it must be said that the image here is rock steady, if a little too clinically wiped free of any debris. Even if it’s a teeny bit soft, it would probably withstand blowing up to widescreen proportions anyway, if the viewer required, such is the good work of the restoration team.
Finally, while some might find the tagging of the new swooshing over the Wonderful World Of Disney castle logo instead of the classic Disney blue castle logo that still seems to adorn traditionally animated releases from the company a shocker, remember that it only precedes the movie: One Hundred And One Dalmatians’ original Buena Vista title card is kept in place for the purists.
A Platinum Edition staple, the Enhanced Home Theater Mix raises its sometimes awkward head again here, but this time the results are generally pleasing. It doesn’t sound too different to the regular Dolby Surround track included on the Limited Issue and LaserDisc pressings, even if everything is a little more amplified. That mix was based on the 1990s theatrical re-issue, when Randy Thornton was making the most of a company-wide effort to preserve its archival elements, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn if that was the basis for this track too.
It’s a well-balanced mix that does little to vary wildly from the 1961 studio recordings, with a bit more separation in George Bruns’ music, freshly remixed at the time from then-newly found stereo elements. Voices are locked centrally and come across without distortion, and the surround track gets a little more of a workout that most other classic film remixes, even if Dalmatians is, as a thriller, more interested in smaller, dramatic moments and dialogue rather than all-out action scenes.
French and Spanish dubs have also been included (which have decent fidelity and, as usual for Disney, well performed foreign character translations), as well as an “original mono” track that is supposedly how audiences heard the film in its original showings. English subtitles have also been included.
Easily one of Disney’s most enjoyable films, One Hundred And One Dalmatians is modern thriller moviemaking on a classic animated scale. The original Limited Issue disc went for well over double what this new edition can be found for online, and this one comes with a second disc full of extras to boot! While once again a Springtime Platinum release feels lighter than usual, there has been real thought and effort put into the supplements here, and for a film that was ostensibly made to a budget and intended as much as a “quickie” as an animated film could ever be termed, Dalmatians plays like one of those rough and ready but brilliant 50s crime movies (it even starts with a voice over). That it was done in animation – an astonishing technical achievement – and color means it hasn’t dated, and its themes continue to resonate to this day. Simply put, One Hundred And One Dalmatians is ultimately top drawer Disney, and it’s been given a surprisingly solid showing in the Platinum line. A commentary wouldn’t have gone amiss, nor the inclusion of a 16×9 formatted version (I guess they’ll hold that back for a Blu-Ray debut), but these caveats aside, this hits the spot perfectly.