Tokyo Disney Resort 30th Anniversary “The Best” Blu-ray Set

DSC_8894 as Smart Object-1 copy

I hadn’t planned on doing a blog post about the 4-disc Tokyo Disney Resort “The Best” Blu-ray Collection (also available on DVD) I purchased when we were in Japan, but enough of you asked about it that I decided to include it in the vote for “Wildcard Wednesday,” and sure enough, it won.

The name pretty much describes what the set is, but here’s a little more info. This is a 4-disc Blu-ray collection of shows and parades shot throughout Tokyo Disney Resort’s history. There are no ride-through videos of attractions, TV specials, or anything of that sort. Just official footage shot of these full shows and parades. The discs are organized by season, plus other stuff that doesn’t really fit elsewhere. Parades and shows may not seem like much, but fortunately, Tokyo Disney Resort rotates their parades and shows regularly. I suspect the 4 parks of Walt Disney World have gone through fewer shows and parades in 40+ years than Tokyo Disney Resort has gone through for 2 parks in 30 years, but that’s just a guess.

We’ll review the set and tell you where you can buy it below, but let’s start with exactly what’s included on each of the Blu-ray discs… (more…)

The Muppet Movie Blu-ray Review


The Muppet Movie “The Original Classic” – Nearly 35th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + Digital Copy) comes out right as Muppet Fever is heating up again (did it ever cool down?) as audiences anxiously await next year’s Muppets Most Wanted (after seeing an extended sequence from the upcoming film at the 2013 Disney D23 Expo, my faith has been restored that this movie will be hilarious). Of course, as the subtitle, “The Original Classic,” implies, this is the Muppets’ film that catapulted the successful television show onto the big screen, and really turned the Muppets into the powerhouse franchise that it is today with subsequent films, an animated television show, theme park attractions, and even webisodes.

There’s a reason The Muppet Movie was such a resounding success. It’s really good. Not only is it really good, but it has numerous memorable scenes, one of which, Kermit performing “Rainbow Connection,” many will count as one of the most memorable and touching cinematic songs of all time. The plot of The Muppet Movie centers around Kermit the Frog and his cross-country voyage to California, as he attempts to make it big in Hollywood. Along the way he attempts to avoid becoming the spokesfrog for a fried frog leg restaurant, and he picks up the rest of the Muppet gang to join him for some misadventures.

Any Muppet fan knows that it’s more about the journey than it is about the destination, and the plot is simply a loose vehicle for the Muppets to share their unique brand of humor. In terms of humor, The Muppet Movie shines. Those who joined Muppet-fandom with the 2011 The Muppets may not find themselves laughing at every scene, as the brand of humor has changed a bit over the years (it was a bit more dry back in the day), but it’s more or less the same. With few exceptions, The Muppet Movie has aged well, and will be enjoyed by anyone who is a fan of the contemporary Muppets. While I don’t love this film as much as I love The Muppet Christmas Carol, it’s still great. Of course, the Muppets’ quirky humor isn’t for everyone, so people who don’t enjoy fun, laughter, and happiness may be disappointed by The Muppet Movie. (more…)

The Emperor’s New Groove Blu-ray Review


The Emporer’s New Groove and its sequel, Kronk’s New Groove are now out in a 3-disc special edition Blu-ray and DVD set, and this review will give you an idea of whether they’re worth buying! Before we get there, though, you should know a little more about The Emperor’s New Groove that might make the film a little more interesting. I won’t waste my words here on how the production of Kingdom of the Sun (the film’s original name) was troubled almost from day 1, as there’s a great documentary titled The Sweatbox that does a great job of covering that. The Sweatbox leaked last year and Disney has been attempting to suppress it (it has never been commercially released) since, so good luck finding it. Depending upon how ‘net-savvy you are, you should be able to find a copy of it online to this day. That documentary might deepen your appreciation for The Emperor’s New Groove and its quality despite its troubled path to existence, or it might make you yearn for what the film isn’t and what it could have been. Admittedly, I fall into the latter camp.

As for what the film is, it’s…eh…okay. Much like  Treasure Planet, which we reviewed last year, it’s not an animated “classic.” By that, I mean that it’s not timeless. It too often goes for cheap laughs, is overly simplistic, and suffers from under-developed characters. Beyond that, the animation has a modern, angular quality that just doesn’t work for me. Despite these complaints, it’s actually not half bad. More than anything else, it’s “fun.” It’s funny, it’s energetic, and it’s a current (sorta) take on a timeless story. Actually, I might rather like it if it weren’t a “Disney animated classic” and if I didn’t know what could have been. It just is very clearly a product of its time period, and I don’t ever see it becoming anything more than a fleeting hour and a half of fun, as compared to the masterpiece that Kingdom of the Sun could have been.

I can’t comment on the Kronk sequel, as I don’t watch direct-to-video sequels. My assumption is that it’s about as good as the rest of Disney’s direct-to-video flicks… (more…)

Lilo & Stitch Blu-ray Review


Lilo & Stitch is finally out on Blu-ray and we’ve got a review to help you determine whether it’s worth buying! For those unfamiliar, Lilo & Stitch is the story of a Hawaiian girl named Lilo with family troubles who befriends Stitch, a bizarre yet lovable alien experiment who crashes into earth, and is equally troubled. Both characters are a bit broken and are outcasts, making them a perfect match for one another, despite their ostensible differences. Their story is pretty simple, but both characters have such depth (despite Disney turning Stitch into a one-dimensional marketing creature sense) that it’s actually very compelling. Watching them grow and evolve together is the heart of the film, proving that, regardless of the window-dressing, sometimes simple storytelling is most effective.

Enough people have called Lilo & Stitch underrated that I don’t think it really qualifies as that anymore–it’s just flat-out a good movie that surprised some audiences at its time of release, which was when Disney seemed more concerned about its direct-to-video cash cow than serious animation (and the animation isn’t great in Lilo & Stitch, but it’s not bad, either).

I can’t comment on Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has A Glitch, because I haven’t watched it. My assumption is that it’s about as good as the rest of Disney’s direct-to-video flicks… (more…)

Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review


Sometimes, Disney releases formulaic movies and sequels to those movies that it have a lot of blockbuster potential, but not much originality or artistic merit. Sometimes, like in the case of Wall*E, Disney pushes the envelope and reminds everyone why it’s an entertainment juggernaut. Wreck-It Ralph is unquestionably the latter. Easily the best animated film of 2012 (and it would have won the Oscar in the category were Pixar’s name not attached to Brave), Wreck-It Ralph is a masterpiece. A love letter to the golden age of gaming, Wreck-It Ralph combines Easter Eggs, cameos, and engaging characters in a story that is original and fresh. The crowning achievement in a string of recent releases that have included the underrated Bolt, Princess and the Frog, and Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph proves that the Walt Disney Animation Studios is back, and able to match or exceed Pixar in terms of quality.

The Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray comes with a Blu-ray #D Disc, regular Blu-ray disc, DVD, and a Digital Copy. (more…)