November 23, 2009 — Tinker Bell Nintendo winners, Pixar reviews for Monsters, Inc. and Up, plus our Views on Merry Madagascar, A Christmas Carol and a chance to win The Art Of The Princess And The Frog!

There’s been such a ton of new content gone up over the past few days I don’t know where to begin! Remember that a good way of keeping up to date on the biggest features and articles to hit the site is via the return of the Animated Views Mailing List. It’s oh-so simple to sign up, and we will not bombard you with messages, but you’ll be notified of any major breaking Animated News headlines, and be among the first to know about our new contests. Speaking of which, we have the results of our recent Tinker Bell And The Lost Treasure Nintendo DS game contest, and the five lucky – and uniquely international – winners’ names are…

Ralph Garner, Norfolk, VA

Daniel Marando, WA, Australia

Simon Stevenson, Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, England

Daniel Esteban Perez, Chesterfield, MO

Andy Ricchio, Arcadia, CA

Congratulations, folks, and your Tink games will be on their way to you shortly!

And as one contest ends, another one begins, and it’s a doozy! Thanks to Chronicle Books, we’re able to offer three copies of Jeff Kurtti’s new The Art Of The Princess And The Frog, in anticipation of Disney’s return to traditional animation. Simply enter your details and good luck, though unfortunately due to the weight of the book, only US addresses will be shipped to.

The Princess And The Frog arrives at a time when Disney is enjoying a rather buoyant animated year, fueled by the great success of their latest Pixar offering Up, the new Blu-ray and DVD combo pack of which has just been comprehensively reviewed. Arriving on the same day was the Monsters, Inc. upgrade to high-def, with an absolutely stellar new transfer marred by some clumsy inclusions (and omissions) in the Blu-ray authoring.

Celebrating Up‘s landing on Blu-ray and DVD is the film’s story artist Enrico Casarosa, who speaks exclusively to Jeremie about the development of the movie and drops a hint on Cars 2! Now, not being the world’s greatest Cars fan, I have to say that the thought of an “international action movie” appeals very much and my interest just shifted into high gear.

I have less enthusiastic words to say about DreamWorks’ newest holiday special Merry Madagascar, a typically loud and noisy return trip to see the characters. At times, it can be quite appealing, and I seem to be in the minority when I say there’s too much of lemur king Julien. The Penguins are fun, as always, and the story picks up in its closing act, but it’s not a Christmas Classic.

The same thing can almost be said about Robert Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol, still helpfully in theaters for Thanksgiving week. I say almost because, as much as the motion-capture process still frustrates in various ways, Jim Carrey’s performance – and I’m not stretching when I say it’s perhaps his best – as Scrooge and The Ghost Of Christmas Present, breaks through the confines.

The rest of the movie, powered by Alan Silvestri’s truly festive score, is also quite magical, though hampered by only so-so production design that doesn’t bring anything new to Victorian London, and some of the characters, particularly Bob Hoskins’ Fezziwig and Colin Firth’s Nephew Fred look like they’re covered in non-stretching latex. Still, it’s the best of these mo-cap efforts and fair enough Christmas viewing if the family can’t find Fantastic Mr Fox playing anywhere near them.

Lastly, and admittedly a bit on the fringes even for us, is my full take on Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner, one of my favorite all-time television programs for many reasons. With a big reputation (and a remake currently airing on AMC), the series continues to be a timeless influence on the program makers of today, and for all the right reasons. If you like a bit of espionage with a bit of an edge (and don’t worry, this was 1960s prime time network TV so it’s never anywhere near being R-rated!), then The Prisoner is hard to escape your gaze from!

Keep your eyes peeled for more superheroics from Ruby Spears’ Superman and Plastic Man reviews, but a look at the many editions of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, coming to DVD tomorrow, Tuesday, November 24.

So stay tooned! — Ben.