Blu-ray Review: Disney Unleashes HD Assault of Animated Films

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CHICAGO – Even Disney’s animated canon has a few films that aren’t going to get the marketing push or special edition treatment like “Finding Nemo” and “Cinderella” will get before the end of the year. And yet there are some hidden gems deep in the catalog of the most influential and important film studio of all time. The Mouse House just released seven films on five Blu-rays and I can guarantee you that at least one will meet the needs of your family when it’s time to turn on the electric babysitter. Pick your favorite.

It’s a tough call for this critic. I’d have to go with “The Aristocats,” the 20th Disney animated film and a pretty interesting time capsule given the way it bridges the gap from the more fantasy and literature-based animation of the first few chunks of the Disney archive and the creative period of the ’70s (it came out Christmas 1970). I also like “The Rescuers” (which comes bundled with “The Rescuers Down Under”), another ’70s Disney flick from a period that doesn’t quite get the same degree of attention as the undisputed classics from the ’40s, ’50s or ’90s. There’s only one other official Disney animated canon flick in the wave — “Pocahontas,” an underrated film that paled when compared to the ridiculous run of “The Little Mermaid” to “The Lion King” which it followed but is a better film than you remember. As for the non-canon releases, “The Tigger Movie,” “Lady and the Tramp II,” and “Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” are all for hardcore fans only as there are better choices featuring the same characters already available on Blu-ray.

In alphabetical order:

The Aristocats
The Aristocats
Photo credit: Disney

“The Aristocats” Blu-ray rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Everybody wants to be a cat! Disney’s unforgettable classic The Aristocats swings like never before in high definition. Share all the heart, humor and irresistible music with your family in this jazzy Special Edition 2-Disc Combo Pack!

In the heart of Paris, a kind and eccentric millionairess wills her entire estate to Duchess, her high-society cat, and her three kittens. When her greedy, bumbling butler attempts the ultimate catnap caper, the rough-and-tumble alley cat Thomas O’Malley and his band of swingin’ jazz cats must save the day. It’s the purr-fect blend of comedy and adventure.

This timeless treasure boasts remarkable picture and sound quality, fun-filled bonus features and memorable songs the whole family will enjoy. It’s the cat’s pajamas in Disney High Definition!

StarClick here to buy “The Aristocats”

Special Features:
o The Lost Open
o “Oui Oui Marie” Music Video
o Classic Deleted Song: “She Never Felt Alone”
o The Sherman Brothers: The Aristocats Of Disney Songs
o The Great Cat Family (Excerpt)
o Classic Bonus Short: Bath Day
o Play Movie With On-Screen Lyrics
o Disney Virtual Kitten: Adopt Your Own Virtual Kitty. The More You Care For It, The More Hearts You Earn
o Virtual Kitten DVD Rom
o The Aristocats Fun With Language Game
o The Aristocats Scrapbook

Lady and the Tramp II
Lady and the Tramp II
Photo credit: Disney

“Lady and the Tramp II Blu-ray rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Disney’s beloved classic continues in Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure - for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray! Lady and Tramp’s mischievous pup is always in the doghouse. Now, an itch for collar-free life and freedom is sending him on the ultimate adventure! With nonstop laughs, paw-tapping songs and exciting bonus features, Lady And The Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventure is a new breed of Disney fun your whole family will love!

StarClick here to buy “Lady and the Tramp II

Special Features:
o Puppy Trivia Tracks
o Sing Along Songs
o 3 Bonus Shorts: Starring Pluto
o The Making Of Lady And The Tramp II: From Tramp To Scamp

Photo credit: Disney

“Pocahontas/Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

Disney heroine Pocahontas sparkles in this captivating classic, available for the first time in breathtaking Blu-ray High Definition! The rich animation and Academy Award winning music (1995, Best Original Musical Or Comedy Score and Best Original Song, “Colors Of The Wind”) bust forth with all the “Colors Of The Wind” in this amazing 2-movie collection of Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World - the 3-disc combo also features a DVD of each film!

Fun and excitement are “Just Around The Riverbend” as Pocahontas and her friends Flit and Meeko find adventure at home and abroad in these sweeping stories from the earliest days of American history. This Pocahontas 2-Movie Collection delivers action-packed stories of adventure, friendship and courage that your family will cherish forever.

StarClick here to buy “Pocahontas”

Special Features:
o Drawing Inspiration: The Lost Story Of Hiawatha: Walt Disney’s Never Before Seen Take That Inspires The Pocahontas Filmmakers
o Little Hiawatha Cartoon Short
o Deleted Song: “If I Never Knew You”
o The Music Of Pocahontas
o Deleted Scenes
o Audio Commentary
o Pocahontas II DVD Storybook

The Rescuers
The Rescuers
Photo credit: Disney

“The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under” Blu-ray rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of an original classic, Disney proudly presents a special 2-movie collection featuring all-time family favorites, The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, for the first time ever on Blu-ray!

Join two of the world’s bravest mice - Bernard and Bianca - as they set out on two thrilling rescue missions full of comic adventure while soaring through the Devil’s Bayou and flying sky-high in the Australian outback. Buckle up for the ride of your life as these tiny heroes with great big hearts outrun and outwit their rivals to save the day.

Brimming with lovable characters and unforgettable music, this 2-movie collection is high-flying fun for the entire family! Share the laughs and excitement for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

StarClick here to buy “The Rescuers”

Special Features:
o “Peoplitis” Deleted Song
o The Three Blind Mouseketeers Silly Symphony Animated Short
o Water Birds Disney True-life Adventures
o “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing Along Song
o The Making Of Rescuers Down Under

The Tigger Movie
The Tigger Movie
Photo credit: Disney

“The Tigger Movie” Blu-ray rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

Celebrate family, friendship and the eternal magic of childhood with this beloved Disney classic. Back to delight a whole new generation of fans, The Tigger Movie bounces onto Blu-ray high definition for the first time ever!

Join Tigger on an epic journey to find other Tiggers in his “family tree.” Then, share the wonder when, after a series of exciting adventures, he discovers that families come in all shapes and sizes! Both the young and the young-at-heart will love this must-own, collectible masterpiece filled with original songs by the award-winning Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins). Featuring all-new, never-before-seen bonus, this Special Edition of The Tigger Movie is tremendous, tiggerrific fun your entire family will treasure now and always.

StarClick here to buy “The Tigger Movie”

Special Features:
o Disney Intermission: Pause The Movie And Discover Fun Family Games and Activities
o A Tigger Tale: The Filmmakers share What It’s Like To be Part Of Tigger’s Extended Family
o 10 Mini Adventures Of Winnie The Pooh Shorts: Pooh And Tigger, The Most Wonderful Thing About Tiggers, Eeyore’s House, Someone Like Tigger, What Tiggers Do Best, Lullabee, The Super Bounce, Tigger Goes Ice Skating, The Jagular, Unbouncing Tigger
o “Round My Family Tree” Sing Along Song
o Kenny Loggins Music Video “Your Heart Will Lead You Home”

“The Aristocats,” “Lady and the Tramp II,” “Pocahontas,” “The Rescuers,” and “The Tigger Movie” were released on Blu-ray on August 21, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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