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Currently showing posts tagged Mickey Mouse

  • Mickey and the Roadster Racers DVD Review

    Mickey and the Roadster Racers

    Director(s): Various

    Starring: Bret Iwan, Russi Taylor, Bill Farmer, Daniel Ross, Tress MacNeille & Nika Futterman

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Less educationally-minded than the preschool geared Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Mickey and the Roadster Racers whizzes into the fast lane of fun for a delightful serving of after school entertainment.  Set in the racer-loving community of Hot Dog Hills, Mickey Mouse and pals Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and Pluto compete in the pedal-pushing sport while finding themselves in a series of adventures at home and abroad.  Presenting two tales per episode, the gang sees their vehicles go loony after filling up with Goofy’s experimental gasoline while, Minnie and Daisy, as the Happy Helpers, find their petsitting duties go haywire and their search and rescue of an escaped ape from the zoo be anything but easy.  Also facing off against the infamously unfair Piston Pietro at an international race in Rome, Mickey and friends’ colorful new exploits are a blast from start to finish and ones that young viewers will be glad they took the ride with.  Collecting the program’s first three episodes and featuring appearances from beloved favorites such as, Chip and Dale, Pete, Clarabelle Cow and introducing racing emcee Billy Beagle (voiced by Jay Leno), Mickey and the Roadster Racers is a wildly fun return for the characters where their vibrant personalities and engagement in humorous scenarios takes first place.

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents episodes of Mickey and the Roadster Racers in their widescreen (1.78:1) format.  While target viewers may be less enthused by the release’s technical merits than the quality of the show itself, Disney Junior’s latest boasts a colorful vibrancy throughout that makes the computer-generated animation shine nicely.  Likewise, the Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes make for easy dialogue delivery and heightened sound effects, offering more than acceptable listening enjoyment.  Special features include, a Bonus Episode: “Mickey’s Perfecto Day!” / “Running of the Roadsters!” (the show’s fifth), Music Videos for the “Mickey and the Roadster Racers” Theme Song (1:15) and the “Happy Helpers” Theme Song (1:30) plus, Sneak Peeks at Disney Movie Rewards (0:20), Tangled: The Series (0:18), Elena of Avalor (0:48), Born in China (1:16) and Cars 3 (0:59).  Lastly, a customizable Metal License Plate is included inside the disc’s packaging.  Screeching into high-gear with plenty of laughs, Mickey and the Roadster Racers is tailor-made for tikes looking to join Disney’s golden characters on a track course built on fast speeds and hearty good times.

    RATING: 3.5/5

    Available now from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, Mickey and the Roadster Racers can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • American Experience: Walt Disney (2015) DVD Review

    American Experience: Walt Disney (2015)

    Director: Sarah Colt

    Starring: Various

    Released by: PBS Distribution

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    In PBS’ exhaustive documentary of their long-running series, American Experience: Walt Disney centers on the polarizing man who dared to wish upon a dream and built an empire of magic and timeless entertainment.  From his early beginnings in the midwest to the development of his own successful studio and beyond, Disney’s complexities and enduring legacy are discussed through countless interviews with biographers, animators and historians in this detailed document of one of the greatest visionaries of all-time.  

    Narrated by Oliver Platt (Bicentennial Man), American Experience: Walt Disney takes viewers back to the cherished midwest origins of Disney where his initial attraction to animation and filmmaking began.  Boldly teaching himself how to crudely animate, Disney, along with noted animation veteran Ub Iwerks, opened his own moderately successful studio before making the leap to Tinseltown.  Joining forces with elder brother Roy, the Disney brothers opened their own new studio leading to the successful Alice’s Adventures shorts before his most popular creation, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was swindled away from him by a blindsiding producer.  Driven by determination and sticktoitiveness, Disney’s creation of the rebelliously good-natured Mickey Mouse would become an icon to the public with popularity of the character’s technologically advanced sound cartoons booming.  Obsessed with pushing the boundaries of the art form, the Disney Studios quickly became a haven for hungry talent yearning to create within the walls of this unprecedented imagination factory.  As his Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies shorts infused color and other techniques, Disney continued to look towards the future.  Once considered not real art by critics, Disney and his talented stable of artists dazzled audiences worldwide with the first feature-length animated film, 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  Following up his landmark opus, Disney’s studio churned out other golden age classics including, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi and Dumbo, each with vastly different styles but, all equally gorgeous representations of the now respected animated narrative.  

    While Disney’s many accomplishments are profiled in detail, Producer/Director Sarah Colt’s intimate look takes closer examination of the man himself and his strained relationship with his father, the financial woes struck by the studio during wartime and the animator’s strike of 1941 that Disney saw as a personal betrayal.  Crafting a humanizing portrait of the man many simply referred to as Walt, American Experience: Walt Disney delivers a deeply honest retelling of a brilliant yet, flawed individual told through interviews with Biographer Neal Gabler, Composer Richard Sherman, Veteran Imagineer Marty Sklar, Disney’s son-in-law Ron Miller and more.  As decades past, Disney’s ability to continuously revolutionize never waned in his later years as the legendary tycoon brought his whimsy to television screens across the country while crafting his most ambitious project of all, Disneyland.  Always delighted at the prospect of creating, Disney longed to develop an environment for families where fantasy ruled and the worries of reality were left behind.  Much like his impact in film and television, Disney changed the aspect of vacationing that continues to be felt nearly 50 years after his death.  Enthralling and inspiring, American Experience: Walt Disney stands as one of the most balanced and comprehensive examinations of Disney, allowing viewers to not only hold his many accomplishments in higher regard but, gain a stronger understanding of the American icon like never before.

    Presented in its 1.78:1 aspect ratio, American Experience: Walt Disney presents its newly shot interviews with a genuine sharpness that satisfies.  Although vintage footage of its subject alters in quality, clips from Disney’s many animated features arrive with nicely represented colors.  Equipped with a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, dialogue is clean and audible during interview sequences while, sound clips of Disney from decades past can be mildly hissy but, surprisingly still in fine shape for their age.  In addition, no special features have been included on this release.

    Cherished and complex, Walt Disney’s ideals and achievements continue to shape a culture still enamored by the game-changing genius.  Amidst criticism of over-sentimentality, Disney’s legacy thrives with new generations charmed by his revolutionary works and immersive worlds of fantasy.  Nearly four hours long and standing proudly with Bob Thomas’ “Walt Disney: An American Original”, American Experience: Walt Disney is an expertly crafted document juggling the flaws and unwavering optimism of one of history’s most creative minds.  Fascinating and personal, American Experience: Walt Disney is an essential work of striking depth for devoted Disney enthusiasts.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Premiering on PBS September 14th-15th and available on DVD September 15th, American Experience: Walt Disney can be purchased via ShopPBS.com, Amazon.com and other fine retailers.

  • Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection (2015) Blu-ray Review

    Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection (2015)

    Director(s): Various

    Starring: Various

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Presented for the first time together, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection welcomes a dozen of Disney’s most revered short subjects spanning the last 15 years.  From the Hans Christian Andersen inspired The Little Matchgirl to the Academy Award winning Paperman and the most recent Frozen Fever, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection boasts a profound mix of animation styles and masterful storytelling perfected by Disney’s talented artists.  

    Since Disney’s commitment to resurrect theatrical shorts in 2006, the ability to experiment with groundbreaking techniques and tell unique tales have been met with overwhelming praise.  Treating audiences to an entertaining appetizer ahead of the studio’s latest feature film, Disney’s driven talent strives to push themselves to new limits with each new endeavor.  From the rarely discussed John Henry pitting the classic figure’s brute strength against machine to the beautifully realized Lorenzo and his cursed tail, each short promises wildly unique executions in their limited runtime.  Director Roger Allers’ (The Lion King) The Little Matchgirl is equally breathtaking and heartbreaking while, Goofy’s hilarious attempts to upgrade his home entertainment system in How to Hook Up Your Home Theater stands proudly with other classic Goofy shorts.  In addition, Tick Tock Tale, akin to Pixar’s Toy Story, cleverly showcases the mysterious lives of clocks when no one is looking while, Prep & Landing - Operation: Secret Santa finds the expert duo pulling off a near impossible holiday mission on behalf of Mrs. Claus.  

    Although each short’s animation is gorgeous and ever-changing, the collection’s weaker entries are found in the rather bland The Ballad of Nessie and surprisingly, the prominently promoted Frozen Fever.  Unquestionably following up on the box-office success of its feature, Elsa hurries to prep Anna’s birthday bash while combatting a cold that welcomes a slew of miniaturized snowmen to Arendelle.  Equipped with a new song by Robert Lopez and Kristen-Anderson Lopez, the short pales in comparison to the rest of the collection with an eye-rolling reference to the original film’s popular hit “Let It Go” feeling tacky.  Meanwhile, Tangled Ever After finds Maximus and Pascal in a comical misadventure to retrieve Rapunzel and Flynn’s wedding rings, blending high-stakes and sight gags along the way.  While the greater majority are vastly entertaining, the Academy Award winning trio of Paperman, Get A Horse! and Feast are the true stars of the collection with their cutting edge techniques paying homage to Mickey Mouse’s earliest roots, a chance encounter of love and the heartwarming appetite of a puppy and his owner.  Bursting with originality and charm, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection belongs in all animation buff’s libraries.

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection with 1080p transfers, boasting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.  Bursting with colorful boldness and perfect clarity, the various animation techniques leap off the screen with flawless definition.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, each short relays crisp dialogue levels while, music and sound effects of varying degree are captured with ease and robustness.  Special features include newly filmed introductions to each short by their makers, @DisneyAnimation: The Short Story About Shorts Hosted by T.J. Miller (7:18) finds the Big Hero 6 voice actor sitting down for a brief but, informative conversation with several crew members of the various short films.  In addition, Sneak Peeks for Disney Movie Rewards (0:20), Disney Movies Anywhere (0:40), Aladdin Diamond Edition (1:19) and Disneynature’s Born in China (1:14) are included along with a DVD edition of the release and a Digital HD Code.  

    While several of the shorts have already been made available on other Disney releases, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection still makes for a delightful addition into any Disney lovers collection.  Comprised of some of the finest works to be released in recent years, each short hosts exceptional animation styles that will leave viewers overwhelmed by their unbounded artistry.  Presented with pristine technical qualities, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection captures some of the most beloved short subjects all in one convenient compilation.

    RATING: 4/5

    Available August 18th from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, the Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection can be purchased via Amazon.com and other fine retailers.