Disney is the most well known animation and family oriented company in the world. They’ve put out more animated and family friendly films than anyone else. Why else do you think the phrase “Disneyfied” has been coined? Though Disney is well known for taking classic fairytales and such and giving them their own touch, they’ve put out a number of original titles as well. Three more new releases on Blu-Ray fall into both those categories.
THE ARISTOCATS (1970)
“The Aristocats” first debuted in 1970 and is actually the last film approved by Walt Disney himself and the first to be put into production after his death in 1966. “The Aristocats” tells the story of a high society cat named Duchess and her three kittens who are willed an entire estate by their eccentric millionaire owner. Edgar, the butler is also in the will but will only receive his share after the death of the cats, and not content with that he exiles the cats into the outskirts of Paris. Taking place in 1910 during the rise of Jazz, Duchess and her kittens meet a group of swinging alley cats lead by Thomas O’Malley, who helps them return home and reclaim their inheritance. An all-star voice cast that includes Eva Gabor, Phil Harris and Scatman Crothers and a great Jazzy soundtrack “Aritsocats” is pure classic Disney fun.
Like all the “back from the vault” films, there’s nothing really new about this except for the added quality of picture and sound you get with Blu-ray. I have to say again Disney films truly shine with the upgrade to Blu-ray. The crispness of the picture really just makes the beauty of the art stand out. The special features on this really celebrate some of the history of Disney with a tribute to the Sherman Brothers in two forms. The Sherman Brothers wrote many of the classic Disney songs for their films including “Mary Poppins,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” and “The Jungle Book”. Here we get “The Lost Open” which is an alternate opening introduced by Richard Sherman, the deleted song “She Never Felt Alone” also introduced by Richard, and finally “The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats of Disney Songs” which goes over their storied history with the company. There are a few other features included like a Minnie short with her dog, and some song selections from the film as well, but this is truly a celebration of the Brothers Sherman and their Legacy.
LADY AND THE TRAMP II: SCAMP’S ADVENTURE (2001)
“Lady and the Tramp 2: Scamps Adventure” is the sequel to the 1955 classic “Lady and the Tramp”. Where the first film was a love story about two dogs from different walks of life, the sequel is about fitting in, and the importance of family. Scamp (voiced by Scott Wolf), the only son of Lady and Tramp from the original film is a bit of a troublemaker, but he just wants to have fun and be a “Wild dog.” He gets his chance when a pack of junkyard dogs catches his eye, especially Angel (voiced by Alyssa Milano). As the title say adventure ensues as Scamp gets a taste of the life his father led unbeknownst to him. But soon he sees that everyone needs family as the leader of the junk yard dogs, Buster (voiced by Chazz Palminteri) tells him it’s every dog for themselves out on the streets. This was one of the first sequels to a Disney classic and it’s actually pretty good.
“Scamp’s Adventure” isn’t as loaded as other Disney Blu-rays with special features but there are definitely some that follow the pattern of previous releases. There are a few Pluto shorts on here showing him romancing a certain poodle, and a Trivia track. Also included is a making of the film, and a Sing-Along Songs for the kids to enjoy. As always the picture is absolutely beautiful, and the sound and music are top notch. Though the “Lady and the tramp” films aren’t among my favorites they are still good, and this release definitely does justice.
THE TIGGER MOVIE (2000)
“The Tigger Movie” was released in 2000 and was the first Winnie the Pooh film to get a theatrical release since the 70’s and is the first to not be made up of a collection of shorts as in previous Pooh films. And thanks to those films everyone knows the “Tigger Song”. The wonderful thing about Tigger is that he’s the only one…or at least that used to be the case. In “The Tigger Movie” everyone’s favorite T-I-Double G- Errr is having a bit of an identity crisis. It seems that he no longer wants to be the only one and has set off on a quest to find more tiggers. What ensues is a heartfelt, musical adventure exploring the importance of family, and what family truly means. Pooh, Roo, Kanga, Owl, et al do their best to show their friend that he’s got all the family he needs, in an unforgettable musical moment featuring the Hundred Acre Woods gang all Tiggered up. The film also features songs by the afore mentioned Sherman brothers, and the movie itself helped revive Pooh thanks to its success and was followed by two more theatrical Pooh films, “Piglet’s Big Movie” in 2003 and “Pooh’s Heffalump Movie” in 2005 which introduced new character Lumpy to the gang. If you’re a fan of Pooh, Tigger or the Hundred Acre Woods gang in general this should not be missed.
“The Tigger Movie” comes packed with extras, most notably a ton of Winnie the Pooh shorts. The Blu-ray also comes with a Family tree activity poster and stickers. The Disney Intermission was another fun little thing for kids to do, when the movie is paused fun and engaging Hundred Acre Woods themed games and stuff pop up. There is also a look back at Tigger’s literary and film history in the featurettes “A Tigger tale” which has a lot of Disney staff talking about the bouncing ball of fun’s long history and how it influenced this new film. As with all other Dinsey films, the Blu-ray transfer is gorgeous and the digital sound really pop and makes you really appreciate the music in the films.
If you’ve got kids, are a Disney nut, or just want to reconnect with your inner child, now is the time to pick up Disney on Blu-Ray!