April 5, 2010 — Disney’s Ghibli Collection and recent major title reviews, Easter specials and our Easter Basket contest!

Happy Easter! To celebrate the holiday, we’ve posted a number of reviews for current bunny-featuring titles, and although I’ve not dropped in with a Tooning In… column for a while, that of course doesn’t mean that the site hasn’t been rolling along with a lot of great content!

Currently a box-office hit for DreamWorks, James visited his local megaplex to find out How To Train Your Dragon and calls it a “high-flying adventure with humor, a solid story, amazing visuals, and an unexpected amount of heart”, adding that it ranks among the Studio’s best work!

On home video, Disney’s first wave of its Studio Ghibli Collection got off to a fine start with four of Miyazaki’s finest. Rand grabbed the set and added his take on all four titles:

Kiki’s Delivery Service DVD

Castle In The Sky DVD

My Neighbor Totoro DVD

Ponyo Blu-ray and DVD Combo Pack

In other recent releases, I took on a bunch of Disney’s major titles for the past month, starting with the return of traditional animation with The Princess And The Frog Blu-ray/DVD Combo and the arrival in high-definition of Pixar’s first two films in their signature Toy Story series, again released as Blu-ray/DVD combo packs.

Speaking of The Princess And The Frog, don’t forget that all five parts of Jeremie’s exclusive interview with Tiana’s supervising animator Mark Henn is completed and still available to read, while our interviewer supremo has also just popped down into the rabbit hole to speak with Alice In Wonderland‘s conceptual artist Dawn Brown on her approach to Tim Burton’s new take.

We’ve also a couple of holiday themed specials from Warners, featuring a couple of wacky Easter wabbits: Friz Freleng’s 1977 Bugs Bunny’s Easter Funnies pulls together some classic cartoons with new animated sequences for an entertaining enough hour, though stop-motion masters Rankin/Bass abandon that process for The First Easter Rabbit, a sometimes strange hand-animated origin of the Easter Bunny, with rather crude results and a disc treatment that is missing the “deluxe” element of the cover’s banner.

Finally, we’ve teamed with MGM and Fox Home Entertainment to offer one lucky reader the chance to win an Easter Basket stuffed with some top Blu-ray and DVD titles and goodies including the brand new Alvin And The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and the first two Ice Age movies – plus much more and the chance to enter the More Easter Fun promotional sweepstakes to win a $50,000 Nest Egg!

Phew! Stay tooned in the coming days for more reviews, including the release of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack! — Ben.