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|Kevin Krock, editor|
What do you get when you give Goofy and his son Max a full-length, animated feature? "A Goofy Movie," of course! The story revolves around the Goof family summer vacation and the misadventures they have as they head across America. Goofy wants to go to the family fishing hole at Lake Destiny, but Max, who doesn't want to go fishing, has a different idea of how they should spend their vacation... On the way to their final destination, they run into all sorts of troubles but begin to realize the importance of each other.
It's a simple father and son bonding story, but it works pretty well and it's a fun ride. Additionally, there are several songs throughout the movie that are both quite catchy and complement the story well.
I would have to say that the Goof's visit to Possum Park is particularly memorable... something about singing possums rather than bears... very funny stuff for Disney park buffs.The Goodies...
As this is one of the Gold Collection titles, I wasn't expecting a lot of goodies, and while the collection is okay, it is better than some of the other Gold titles which have little or nothing.
The theatrical trailer is a given since the movie was originally released to movie theaters, and it was an easy clip to include on the DVD. It is good for a view or two, but that's about it. The "Calling All Goofs" cartoon is just an episode of the "Goof Troop" TV series, and it seemed to me that they just picked an episode to help fill space and call a "Bonus Feature". Even if you are a big fan of the TV series, it will get a little old quickly, since there is only one episode...The one thing it gave me was an appreciation for the animation of the feature. There is a definite difference in the animation quality, and fortunately, the movie upholds the higher standard of feature animation. There just wasn't anything special about having this episode on DVD.
The DVD Storybook and Trivia Game are the same features as those on other Disney DVDs. The Storybook is an abbreviated version of the story in a book format. The story can either be read by the viewer, or a narrator can read the story to the viewer. It's nice to have, especially for kids, but it wouldn't make or break my decision to by a DVD. The same holds true for the trivia game...Once you answer the questions correctly, there is no reason to ever try it again. As I said, kids enjoy these features, so while they won't hold an adult's attention for more than a couple of minutes, they'll probably divert kids' attention for a bit longer.
Disney also included Lou Bega's "Disney's Mambo No. 5" music video, which actually ends up being an ad for a couple of Disney music CDs. It's basically a "Disney-fied" version of his big hit - same music, different words. Nothing spectacular, but the catchy rhythm will please the little ones.
For me, the gem of the goodies is "The Goofy Success Story" cartoon. Based on the packaging, I wasn't sure what it was, but when I started it, I was very pleasantly surprised... Walt Disney, himself, showed up on my screen to introduce a vintage look at Goofy's rise to stardom - very nice touch. It turned out to be a full 58 minute (or so) episode of the old "Wonderful World of Disney" TV series. Essentially, it is a series of Goofy shorts all cleverly tied together with excellent transition animation done just for the TV show. It's a really neat collection of shorts with appearances by Mickey and Donald, and it's absolutely great to have this classic episode on DVD.
Overall, most of these are pretty average and standard features for a Disney Gold Collection DVD, but if you are a fan of the classic animated Disney shorts, don't miss the "The Goofy Success Story."The Video, Audio and Interface...
For the most part, this is a very bright and colorful movie, and on DVD it looks great. The film transfer is flawless, so you won't see annoying streaks, dust, or scratches. I also didn't notice any deficiencies or problems in the compression process, and the movie looked very sharp and crisp throughout. The extras generally look very clean, but "The Goofy Success Story" does show a bit of the age of the material. However, I didn't find it overly distracting. On a regular TV, this DVD looks very nice.
I'm one of those folks that likes the widescreen versions of movies - even on my regular TV. Because the movie was originally released in a widescreen format and reformatted to fit on the TV screen, it made me wonder why Disney didn't release both versions on one DVD, like some of their other titles. Granted, quite a few people hate the black bars on the screen, but with the capacity of DVD (with dual-layer technology), there really isn't a good reason to leave it out - let the viewer decide. I know... money is a deciding factor for many of the DVD formatting choices, and from a corporate standpoint, cheaper is better. Adding a widescreen version would cost extra money that they might not recover. For me, a widescreen transfer would be a bonus feature, not an episode of "Goof Troop." I can watch "Goof Troop" on a Disney cable channel just about any time I want...
Sound-wise, there really isn't much to say. It is a simple Dolby Pro-Logic (2 channel) soundtrack with a few rear channel surround effects (mostly concert sounds and the like). The music sounds good, and, as expected, most of the dialogue comes directly from the center and is clean and clear. Coming from anything less than a Pro-Logic receiver, the sound would be just fine.
The user interface is also pretty simple, straight forward and uninspiring. No music, no sounds, no animated menus. Selecting movie chapters from the menus is easy, and changing the set up for the three different audio language tracks and two subtitle functions is equally easy. Bonus material is covered on two screens, and access to the video previews is available from the main menu.
Speaking of video previews... With the introduction of the Gold Collection DVDs, Disney also introduced the DVD world to force-fed cross-promotional advertisements, and "A Goofy Movie" is no different than the others. After you put the disc in the player, several ads for other Disney releases are automatically played. There's no way to completely bypass them and go directly to the menu or movie, but, thankfully, you can skip through them one-by-one (for now...). Unfortunately, it's just as annoying as having to fast forward through a videotape full of them, but on DVD you can jump through them much more quickly than on VHS. I don't think it's bad to have previews on a DVD, but, like many other studios, Disney should simply make them available to the viewer (as they have from the main menu) and not forced upon them as soon as they pop the disc in the player.
The Final Evaluation...
The story and songs are definitely fun and light, and I think a lot of people can or will relate to the story. The goodie package was okay, and better than some of the other Gold Collection titles, but the only one that I felt worth my money was the vintage material - the stuff you can't get on Toon Disney or The Disney Channel. Technically, the video and audio are very clean, but the lack of a widescreen version was a bit of a disappointment to me. The menus are no big deal but quite functional. Disney could have at least put some of the movie music in the background.
It is definitely worth a rental, and if you're fond of Goofy, Max, a fun story, and a chunk of classic Goofy animation, then its worth picking up - I did.
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