BluRay/DVD Reviews


By • Feb 28th, 2011 •

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Disney’s DVDs and BluRays aren’t just library titles, they’re merchandizing machines. When you open the cases, there are numerous other studio products being hawked. I’m not noting this in a negative sense. Disney always was on top of their game in all things commercial involved with the Magic Kingdom, and the creation of their home theater product is a model of maximum home buyer utilization.

After the deceptively pallid title backgrounds roll by, the screen bursts into life with a dark, multi-plane camera tableau that is so vivid, so three-dimensional (albeit in a pop-up card way) that you’ll believe animation hasn’t really advanced beyond it artistically in seventy years.

The sound of the approaching storm tests the speaker system, crackling and booming on all sides – a testament to BluRay technology.

The film is 2-parts adult, one-part child. The score is a near-constant classical composition, wherein long, animated accompanying passages focus on the symphony of nature; it’s a real blend of FANTASIA’s abstractions balanced against moving anthropomorphic narrative sequences. When the denizens of the forest are threatened by Man, or fire, or a storm, the danger is communicated through deep shadows, menacing frame-blocking, and great leaps in negative space, none of which has ever been utilized better in animation. The BluRay mastering draws the most out of the rich colors, which go from safe, muted tones to harsh, bellicose strokes.

Behind the scenes, Disney’s story meetings are brought to life through recreations of his and his team’s voices, based on written transcripts of story pow-wows, accompanied by the animation shots they are describing. Each member of the team is ID’d as they speak, along with B&W photographs. A dynamic communal experience, presided over and given final approval by Walt, it’s a great teaching tool.

Some of the supplementals that are listed as new did appear previously on the Platinum Edition 2-disc DVD some years ago. They claim to have been enhanced here. Plus there is an elaborate interactive piece requiring access to an app.

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