Ben Simon Author Archive
Reviews | Interviews | Features | Blogs | News

One Hundred And One Dalmatians: Diamond Edition

Walt Disney’s fantastic animated thriller makes a solid return to disc, here in an HD transfer that hits the spot and with a fairly robust package of old and new extras.

The Boxtrolls

Laika returns with another slightly oddball release, where the film’s strong villain isn’t quite matched by such a solid storyline, even if the hand-crafted animation is as exquisite as ever.

The Best Of 2014: Son Of 2013!

The good, the bad and the ugly of the past year are all exposed in the return of our annual survey, featuring our top picks in DVD, Blu-ray and theatrical releases – plus your choices too!


Angelina Jolie is excellent as Disney’s iconic villain, here given the backstory treatment in a visual feast of a film, though this new Blu-ray disappoints with a lack of any magnificent extras.

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Dusty is back again with the second in the Planes franchise (and fourth film set in the world of Cars), this time joining a band of air firefighters for a lightweight diversion.

Toy Story Of Terror!

With Halloween upon us, we take a look at the Blu-ray release of the Toy Story gang’s creepy stay at a roadside motel, now on disc with a terrifyingly great package of extras!

The Best Of 2013: Unlucky, Or Lucky For Some?

It’s time once again for us to pick the best – and the worst – of the theatrical and home video year in animation! With a dearth of truly classic releases, what got our top scores and what were disappointments? It’s all in here…

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.

Wart, Robin, Oliver and more Pan come to Disney Blu-ray

In what is shaping up to be an exciting (and expensive!) summer for high-def Disney fans, the Studio has just announced new additions to its already busy Blu-ray catalog releases. Joining the June 11 release of Atlantis: The Lost Empire, The Emperor’s New Groove and Lilo & Stitch, and the August 27 release of The […]

Ray Harryhausen RIP

In news that will sadden many in the animation community, legendary stop-motion and visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen has died aged 92, The Hollywood Reporter has announced. Starting out under the supervision of George Pal (on his Puppetoon series) and original King Kong animator Willis O’Brien on the 1949 edition of the similarly themed Mighty […]

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.


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.

The Best Of 2012: Apocalypse NOT!

Hey, the world didn’t end! So join us for the best – and the worst! – of 2012’s Blu-ray, DVD and theatrical releases! Plus, for the first time, we reveal your pick for movie of the year – it’s all right here!

From Paris to home video: A Monster finally arrives!

Fans of offbeat animated movies rejoice: Bibo (Shark Tale) Bergeron’s Euro-animated feature A Monster In Paris is finally headed to the US, when Shout! Factory unleashes the film on Blu-ray and DVD this April 16th, 2013! Mirroring the international disc release, the Blu-ray Combo Pack will also include the 3D and DVD editions of the […]