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Kevin Krock, editor
The MousePlanet Home Theater Video News - 5/11/01
There’s been quite a bit of news lately about family- oriented DVD releases for the Summer and Fall this year, but I received one press release recently that I know you will be interested in: Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s (BVHE) release schedule for the remainder of 2001. It looks like it is going to be a pretty good crop of DVDs, so start saving your pennies...

On July 17th, The Book of Pooh: Stories from the Heart will be released on DVD with a suggested retail price (S.R.P.) of $29.99. This is a brand new, full-length movie using the same puppet / computer technology used on the Disney Channel TV series. The movie will include Pooh and all his friends in new adventures, and it will also feature six new songs. DVD specific features will include: "When Pooh Was Very Young", Connect the Dots Activity Game, an interactive puzzle game, coloring pages, character biography pages, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. So, if you’re a big Pooh fan, keep your eyes open this Summer.

Then, on August 7th, Disney’s animated theatrical release Recess: School’s Out will make its way to DVD with a S.R.P of $29.99. The DVD will sport an anamorphic widescreen transfer (1.66:1, enhanced for widescreen TVs), Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, a Spanish language track, a set-top game, an "Animation Camp," a digital comic book, music videos, and more.

October 9th will bring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to DVD for its debut as a two-disc special edition with a S.R.P. of only $29.99. No firm specifications or feature lists have been released yet, but Disney claims that this release "...represents the industry’s first truly immersive DVD experience. Like a V.I.P. tour, the audience can journey into the beautiful world of Snow White with personal hosts Roy Disney and the magic mirror to guide the way." I’m not sure what that means, but it sounds pretty cool. I can’t wait to check this one out.

Following Snow White, on October 23rd Dumbo makes its DVD debut as a single disc Special 60th Anniversary Edition with a S.R.P. of $29.99. The film will be completely restored and remastered, and bonus features including a re-recording of "Baby Mine" by Michael Crawford and a sneak peak at... yes, you probably guessed it: Dumbo 2. Other details have not been released yet.

On November 6th, BVHE will release two direct-to-video Christmas-related titles on DVD: Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse and Recess Christmas: Miracle on Third Street. Both titles will be available for a S.R.P of $29.99. The Mickey DVD sounds like it should be, at the very least, interesting. From the press release:

"Join Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and over 35 of Disney’s favorite animated characters for holiday fun…For the first time ever fans can see Mickey Mouse join together with Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Mulan, Pooh, Piglet, Donald Duck, Goofy and many other favorites to sing a special new Christmas song, "The Best Christmas of All." When a huge snowstorm leaves everyone stranded, Mickey and all his guest break out the cookies and hot chocolate to help Donald Duck mend his tattered Christmas spirit. The fun starts when Minnie pulls out their favorite holiday home movies and everyone starts to reminisce."

There are no specifications or bonus materials listed for this title as of yet. As for the Recess disc, it sounds like it has a very similar theme to the Mickey disc. Essentially, the teachers get trapped by a snowstorm and start to reminisce about their students’ "outrageous escapades" and realize that the kids are both naughty and nice. I’m thinking that I’ll stick to the Mickey DVD for this round, but I’ll try to withhold judgment and wait to see how it turns out. This disc also has no set specifications or bonus materials listed yet.

Finally, and probably most significantly for fans of Disney history, on December 4th – one day shy of Walt Disney’s 100th birthday – BVHE will release "Wave One" of the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs. I’ve been waiting and asking about this material for quite some time, and I’m very anxious to see this stuff on DVD, FINALLY! This collection will only be available on DVD, and the first group of DVDs will consist of four volumes which will bring together many of Walt’s greatest creations, many of which have never been released on DVD or VHS. Each $32.99 (S.R.P) volume will be packaged in a collectable tin DVD case that will also feature a themed, exclusive lithograph.

So, what’s on these four volumes? Check this out:

  • Volume 1Mickey Mouse In Living Color – A collection of 26 famous Mickey Mouse color adventures such as "The Band Concert," "Thru the Mirror," "Mickey’s Rival," "Clock Cleaners" and more.
  • Volume 2Disneyland USA – The original black and white television programs on Disneyland, including "The Disneyland Story," "Dateline Disneyland," "Disneyland After Dark," "Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show" and more!
  • Volume 3Silly Symphonies - Thirty-six of Walt’s early animated films are collected together and include "The Wise Little Hen," "Flowers and Trees" and "The Old Mill."
  • Volume 4 – Davy Crockett – All five classic "Davy Crockett" television episodes are collected onto this single disc.

In addition to the excellent program material, respected movie critic and Disney film authority Leonard Maltin will provide introductions and historical perspectives to each of the volumes. The discs will also contain featurettes, Easter Eggs and art galleries. Like I mentioned earlier, save your pennies and have a great Christmas! I can’t wait to see what Wave Two will bring with it.

Unfortunately, with all this good news comes a touch of bad news. For those of you looking forward to the DVD releases of Oliver & Company and So Dear to My Heart, which was due to be released on June 5th, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer. BVHE has officially pulled these titles from their 2001 release schedule. No word has been given about when they will be rescheduled for release. However, I’d trade both those titles for the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs in a heartbeat, but I’m pretty sure that the pulled titles will resurface in the near future.

More soon on some space and dinosaur IMAX releases due this summer…

That's it for now, but stay tuned for more!










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