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Kevin Krock, editor
The MousePlanet Home Theater Video News - 8/29/00
Depending on how much you pay attention to the DVD web sites (like The Digital Bits, DVD File, and Widescreen Review) and the occasional press release from Disney, you probably haven't heard much about the up coming release info on some of Disney's big animated movies. For some, the news for today may be kind of old, but I wanted to catch everyone up with what will be going on through just about the rest of the year and early news about 2001. There is a lot of great stuff, so let's get started!

First on the list are the October 3rd releases of the "Nightmare Before Christmas" and "James and the Giant Peach" special editions. For those of you familiar with the "Nightmare Before Christmas" laser disc special edition box set, you will be pleased to know that many of those supplements will make their way to DVD! As for "James," it will be the first time to the digital medium, but the extras promise to make it a very good disc. Here's a brief summary of what will be available:

"Nightmare Before Christmas: Collector's Edition"

  • Suggested Retail Price - $29.99
  • Widescreen (1.66:1), non-anamorphic (not enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • Goodies include: behind-the-scenes documentary, deleted scenes, a stills gallery, Tim Burton's short films "Frankenweenie" (a weird little story about a boy and his dog…) and "Vincent" (a wonderfully creepy stop-animated movie), and more…

"James and the Giant Peach: Collector's Edition"

  • Suggested Retail Price - $29.99
  • Widescreen (1.66:1), non-anamorphic (not enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • Goodies include: behind-the-scenes documentary, a music video, trailers, and more…

I have not found any info on the VHS releases at this time. Both of these promise to be good additions to anyone's DVD collection. I'll try to get the full detail list of both of the DVDs as soon as I can.

Secondly, a huge announcement was made back in June about the October 17th VHS and DVD release of "Toy Story 2" and the DVD release of "Toy Story", but the details of the DVDs have only been released in the last month or so. 

For those of you who have seen or heard about the fantastic "Toy Story" laser disc box set, you will be happy to know that many of the supplements will finally make their way to DVD on the Collector's Edition! Currently, "Toy Story" is only available on Gold Classic Collection VHS, and when the 17th rolls around, the only way you will be able to get it on DVD will be in a box set with "Toy Story 2" (which isn't really a bad thing, because you'll want both anyway, right?). 

I don't have any VHS specifications, yet, but here are the two ways you'll be able to get both "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" on DVD (some features may change upon release, but you get the idea…):

"Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2" DVD 2-Pack (these are the basic versions…)

Suggested Retail Price - $39.99 / Minimum Advertised Price - $29.95

Disc #1 - Toy Story

  • Academy Award-winning short "Tin Toy"
  • French & Spanish language tracks
  • Fully digital transfer to DVD
  • Widescreen (1.77:1), anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • THX-certified

Disc #2 - Toy Story 2

  • Academy Award-nominated short "Luxo Jr."
  • Outtakes
  • Monsters, Inc. Sneak Peak
  • Fully digital transfer to DVD
  • Widescreen (1.77:1), anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Full-frame (1.33:1)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • THX-certified

"The Ultimate Toy Box: Toy Story and Toy Story 2" 3-DVD box set

Suggested Retail Price - $69.99 / Minimum Advertised Price - $49.95

Disc #1 - Toy Story

  • Academy Award-winning short "Tin Toy"
  • Audio commentary by the filmmakers
  • The Making of "Toy Story"
  • Multi-language reel
  • On-set interviews with Buzz and Woody
  • "Toy Story" Treats
  • Actual Buzz Lightyear commercial in its entirety
  • Fully digital transfer to DVD
  • Widescreen (1.77:1), anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • Music-only soundtrack
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 sound effects-only track
  • THX-certified

Disc #2 - Toy Story 2

  • Academy Award-nominated short "Luxo Jr."
  • Outtakes
  • Monsters, Inc. Sneak Peak
  • Audio commentary by the filmmakers
  • Fully digital transfer to DVD
  • Widescreen (1.77:1), anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TVs)
  • Full-frame (1.33:1)
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack
  • Music-only soundtrack
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 sound effects-only track
  • THX-certified

Disc #3 - Supplemental Features

  • Introductions by the filmmakers
  • The history of "Toy Story" and "Toy Story 2"
  • Character design
  • Location design
  • Story Development
  • Moviemaking secrets
  • Music & sound design
  • Abandoned concepts
  • Deleted animation
  • Early tests
  • Original treatments
  • Storyboard pitch
  • Storyboard-to-film comparisons
  • Animation production progression
  • Trailers
  • TV commercials
  • Posters
  • Guide to hidden jokes
  • Music videos
  • Original song demos

Whew! Save those pennies for that box set. Based on the "Tarzan" and "A Bug's Life" collector's editions, "The Ultimate Toy Box" ought to be incredible.

And, if all that weren't enough before the end of the year…

Thirdly, on August 23rd Disney announced the details of the November 14th release of "Fantasia" and "Fantasia 2000" to DVD (they didn't mention VHS, but I'm sure the details will be released shortly). As you'll see, things are looking quite good for DVD fans:

"Fantasia 2000" on Disney DVD And VHS
"Fantasia" 60th Anniversary Edition on DVD; Disney's Animated Masterpieces Available Nov. 14

BURBANK, Calif., Aug 23, 2000  -- "Fantasia Anthology" 3-Disc Collectors DVD Set Loaded With Bonus Features. Walt Disney Home Video is proud to present the breathtaking masterpiece, Disney's "Fantasia 2000," an incredible symphony of sound, color and magical excitement, on VHS and DVD Nov. 14, 2000.

A brilliant pairing of music and animation, "Fantasia 2000" features seven all-new, spectacular sequences and one returning favorite, brought to life with music from such immortal composers as Beethoven, Gershwin and Stravinsky, and the talents of Roy E. Disney and the innovative Disney artists behind such great films as "Aladdin" and "The Lion King."

This amazing film is a new, contemporary vision of the "Fantasia" concept that Walt Disney pioneered, taking audiences on a journey into an entertaining, brilliant realm of cinematic imagination. In recognition of this momentous achievement, "Fantasia 2000" on VHS and DVD contains a collectible commemorative booklet that highlights the art, music and technology of the film.

The original "Fantasia," beloved to millions, celebrates its 60th anniversary (of its original theatrical release) almost to the day, with a first-time-ever release on DVD in a special 60th anniversary edition on Nov. 14. This beloved masterpiece has been restored and remastered, and now includes the original intermission and narration, not seen since 1940. The animated segment "Clair de Lune," created 60 years ago as part of the film, is finally being released on "Fantasia" (DVD), as originally conceived.

Also being released is a special "Fantasia Anthology" 3-disc collector's DVD set featuring "Fantasia," "Fantasia 2000" and "The Fantasia Legacy" supplemental features disc (see attached details).

The DVD of "Fantasia 2000" features a digital transfer created directly from the digital source, insuring an optimal presentation that actually surpasses the theatrical experience. Both "Fantasia 2000" and the 60th anniversary of "Fantasia" are presented in DTS and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, offering the ultimate in sound quality.

"Fantasia 2000" was created by a dynamic and diverse group of artists, musicians and filmmakers. For Disney, the filmmakers bring a wealth of experience to the film. Host Sequence Director Don Hahn has produced and co-produced some of Disney's biggest animated successes, including "The Lion King," "Beauty and the Beast" and the "Hunchback of Notre Dame."

Sequence Director Eric Goldberg has directed "Pocahontas" and has served as supervising animator on such films as "Aladdin" and "Hercules." The incredible animation in "Fantasia 2000", ranging from the lush look of hand-drawn animation to cutting-edge computer-generated imagery, is due to the devoted work of more than 1,200 Disney artists, who dedicated themselves to this special film.

The music for the film's seven new sequences, conducted by Maestro James Levine and performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, offers an array of styles, from Beethoven's famous "Symphony No. 5" to George Gershwin's jazz-age "Rhapsody in Blue." Additionally, the famous sequence "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," starring Mickey Mouse, is included from the original "Fantasia." "Fantasia 2000" also features a group of celebrity hosts, including Itzhak Perlman, James Earl Jones, Penn & Teller and Angela Lansbury, who guide the audience from segment to segment.

In creating the original "Fantasia" in 1940, Walt Disney dreamed of bringing a new vision of his "grand experiment" of music and animation to audiences every year. Although Walt's plans for an annual "Fantasia film" were curtailed, as other projects and films took precedence, the vision of a new version of "Fantasia" remained alive at the Disney Studio. More than half a century later, this unique "work in progress" has been championed by Roy E. Disney, Walt's nephew, Chairman of the Disney Studios and Executive Producer of "Fantasia 2000", resulting in this timeless classic for the new millennium.

Walt Disney Home Video is distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, a recognized industry leader. Visit the www.Fantasia2000.com Web site.


"FANTASIA 2000" - The Sequences

  • Symphony No. 5 (Ludwig van Beethoven) -- The forces of light and dark collide, as set to Beethoven's famous symphony.
  • "Fantasia 2000" introduction
  • "Pines of Rome" (Ottorino Respighi) -- A group of humpback whales take magical flight in an arctic fantasy land.
  • "Rhapsody in Blue" (George Gershwin) -- Inspired by the famous graphic style of caricaturist Al Hirschfeld, the humorous stories of several Jazz Age New Yorkers are told, set against a gorgeous landscape of New York.
  • Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 (Dmitri Shostakovich) -- An animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, The Steadfast Tin Soldier.
  • "Carnival of the Animals" ("Le Carnival Des Animaux"), Finale (Camille Saint-Saens) -- A fun-loving flamingo goes against the rest of the flock when he starts playing with his yo-yo. The sequence is rendered in a beautiful and rarely animated watercolor medium.
  • "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" (Paul Dukas) -- The classic sequence from "Fantasia" finds Mickey Mouse in over his head when he puts on a sorcerer's cap and makes a little too much magic.
  • "Pomp and Circumstance" - Marches 1, 2, 3 and 4 (Sir Edward Elgar) -- Donald Duck is a hilarious helper on Noah's ark, who tries to keep the animals in line while searching for Daisy.
  • "Firebird Suite" - 1919 Version (Igor Stravinsky) -- A fairy sprite and a noble elk bring life back to a ravaged forest in the fantastic finale to "Fantasia 2000".

DVD FEATURES

"Fantasia 2000" and the 60th Anniversary Edition of "Fantasia" will each be available as single DVDs and as part of a three-disc "Fantasia Anthology" DVD Collectors set.

60th Anniversary Edition "Fantasia" DVD

  • Never-before-released, uncut, restored original theatrical version of Walt Disney's film includes the original narration and intermission
  • "Clair de Lune" animated segment
  • "The Making of Walt Disney's Fantasia" featurette
  • Audio Commentary by Walt Disney (created from rare archival interviews with Walt Disney, spanning three decades)
  • Audio Commentary by Roy E. Disney, Maestro James Levine and John Canemaker, animation historian.
  • DTS 5.0, Dolby Digital 5.0 Surround Sound, THX Optimode, THX Certified
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

"Fantasia 2000" DVD

  • Digital-to-digital transfer
  • Audio commentary by Roy E. Disney (Executive Producer), Maestro James Levine and Don Ernst (Producer)
  • Audio commentary by Directors and Art Directors for each film segment
  • Disney's Academy Award (R) winning, animated short, "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" (Best Short, 1953) provides a humorous look at the history of music.
  • Animated short "Melody"
  • Commemorative booklet, highlights the art, music and filmmaking technology brought together for the film
  • Showcase sampler, a specially designed program offering highlights from each segment of the film
  • "The Making of Fantasia 2000" featurette
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound, THX Optimode, THX Certified
  • Aspect ratio: 1.85:1 -- Enhanced for 16X9 televisions

"THE FANTASIA ANTHOLOGY" THREE DISC COLLECTORS SET

Includes "Fantasia" (disc one) and "Fantasia 2000" (disc two) plus third disc:

"The Fantasia Legacy"

Supplemental "Fantasia" material

  • Storyboards, concept art and character designs
  • The Fantasia That Never Was"
  • Animation and story reels for unproduced segments, presented with music:
    • "Claire de Lune"
    • "The Ride of the Valkyries"
    • "The Swan of Tuonela"
    • "Adventures in a Perambulator"
    • "Invitation to the Dance"
    • Still frame art: "The Flight of the Bumblebee," "Mosquito" and "Baby Ballet"
  • Walt Disney highlights
  • Music tracks
  • Special Effects showcase
  • Pencil tests of unused animation
  • Still Frame Galleries: The art of "Fantasia"
  • Trailers/Posters of "Fantasia"
  • Historical context of each musical piece
  • THX Certified
  • Aspect ratio 1.33:1

Supplemental "Fantasia 2000" material

  • Behind-the-scenes look at each film segment
  • Interviews with filmmakers
  • Animation tests
  • Storyboards, concept art and character designs
  • Production Progression Demonstrations
  • Deleted Animation
  • Alternate versions
  • Abandoned concepts
  • Trailers/Posters of "Fantasia 2000"
  • Historical context of each musical piece
  • Behind the scenes "Making of Fantasia 2000"
  • On-camera introductions and set-ups by the "Fantasia 2000" filmmakers
  • THX-Certified
  • Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

I know I'll be eating a few peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to save up for all this great stuff, and I really hope Disney continues to produce wonderful collector's editions like "The Ultimate Toy Box" and "The Fantasia Anthology" in the future.

Finally, on the Direct-to-Video front, Disney announced on August 18th two new movie sequels for release on VHS and DVD in 2001:

All New for 2001! "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II''
All-New Animated Movie Premieres on Video And Disney DVD

BURBANK, Calif., Aug 18, 2000 -- Exciting New Cast Members Include Jennifer Love Hewitt and Haley Joel Osment

Once again, let the bells of Notre Dame ring as Disney's all-new movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" premieres on Walt Disney Home Video and Disney DVD in 2001.

Quasimodo, the lovable but lonely bellringer who became a hero, returns in this all-new, animated tale which transports viewers to the magical streets of medieval Paris. In a sweeping tale of love and adventure, Quasimodo faces a new villain, the circus master Sarousch, and a new challenge -- romance!

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" features an all-star vocal cast of returning actors from Disney's original "Hunchback" and a fresh new group of voice talent. Tom Hulce ("Amadeus") once more plays Quasimodo, Demi Moore ("G.I. Jane") returns as Esmeralda the Gypsy and Kevin Kline ("Wild Wild West") reprises his role as Phoebus, the Captain of the Guard.

Jennifer Love Hewitt (TV's "Party of Five") stars as Quasimodo's love interest, the circus performer Madellaine, and Hewitt also co-wrote and sings the film's end-title song. Haley Joel Osment, the sensational Oscar-nominated star of "The Sixth Sense," voices the role of Zephyr, the son of Esmeralda and Phoebus. The wicked circus master Sarousch, Quasimodo's nemesis, is played by Michael McKean ("Mystery, Alaska").

Quasimodo's hilarious Gargoyle friends are voiced by returning cast members Jason Alexander (TV's "Seinfeld") as Hugo and Charles Kimbrough (TV's "Murphy Brown") as Victor. The role of Laverne, the third gargoyle, portrayed in Disney's original "Hunchback" by the late Mary Wickes, is taken over by veteran stage and screen actress Jane Withers.

In "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II," the people of Paris excitedly anticipate the traditional Jour D'Amour festival -- a celebration of love centered on a beautiful, legendary bell known as La Fidele. When this jeweled bell is rung, couples step forth to shout their true love's name. But whose name will Quasi proclaim?

The festival is officially underway with the arrival of Cirque du Sarousch, a traveling circus. But Sarousch -- the vain magician who leads the carnival -- intends to get rich by making off with La Fidele. To distract Quasimodo, Sarousch sends in his beautiful assistant, Madellaine, to win the bell ringer's heart. Although Madellaine comes to care for Quasimodo and wants no part of stealing the bell, Sarousch uses her and takes the bell.

To return the stolen bell, Quasimodo must learn to trust Madellaine, and in doing so, Quasimodo discovers true love. With Madellaine at his side, and with the help of his friends Phoebus, Esmeralda, their son Zephyr, and Quasimodo's gargoyle pals, soon Quasimodo is proclaiming a love for himself at the Jour D'Amour festival. Finally, families will have the chance to experience a brand-new adventure with Quasimodo's new friends and old in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II," coming in 2001.

AND...

More Disney Magic for 2001
''Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure''
All New Animated Movie to Premiere on Video And Disney DVD

BURBANK, Calif., Aug 18, 2000 -- Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano Headline An All-Star Voice Talent Cast!

It's coming in Spring 2001 -- the Disney sequel that audiences have demanded! "Lady & The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" continues the animated magic from one of Disney's most beloved films, premiering on video and Disney DVD in the Spring of 2001. Many of "Lady & The Tramp"'s favorite characters return, with an exciting cast of new friends, an irresistible slate of new songs and a terrific vocal cast.

So strong a story was Disney's original "Lady & The Tramp" that over 40 years later it is still one of the most popular animated films available. Now, the all-new "Lady & The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" continues the rich legacy of a Disney classic with a rollicking adventure that picks up where the original "Lady & The Tramp" left off, premiering only on Walt Disney Home Video and Disney DVD in Spring 2001.

A first rate vocal cast adds to the excitement of "Lady & The Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure." Included in the voice talent are Scott Wolf (TV's "Party of Five") as Lady and Tramp's spirited son, Scamp, and Alyssa Milano (TV's "Melrose Place" and "Charmed") as Scamp's friend, the female stray named Angel. Jodi Benson ("The Little Mermaid") is Lady, Jeff Bennett ("An Extremely Goofy Movie") voices Tramp, Chazz Palminteri ("Stuart Little") is Buster, the leader of the strays, Cathy Moriarty ("Raging Bull") is the flirtatious Ruby, Bronson Pinchot ("First Wives Club") is Francois, a French bulldog, Mickey Rooney ("The Black Stallion") is Sparky, the elder statesman of the junkyard, and Bill Fagerbaake (TV's "Coach") is Mooch, a sweet-natured English Sheepdog.

The songs of "Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" are written by award winning songwriters Melissa Manchester (1982 Grammy Award winner, "Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female") and Norman Gimbel (Academy Award(R) winner, 1980, Best Song, "It Goes Like It Goes," from "Norma Rae"). This new adventure is directed by Darrell Rooney and produced by Jeannine Roussel, the same team that worked on the "The Lion King II: Simba's Pride," the most successful video premiere in the history of the home entertainment industry.

In "Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure," Lady and Tramp have puppies of their own, and live happily under the roof of their human friends, the Darlings. Lady and Tramp's three daughters, Annette, Colette and Danielle, love the domesticated life, but Scamp, their mischievous son, wants nothing better than to see the world outside.

Longing to be wild and free, like his father once was, Scamp takes up with the Junkyard Dogs, a group of strays who seem to represent the free and easy lifestyle. When Scamp meets Angel, a lovely female stray, Scamp believes he's right where he belongs. But Buster, the Junkyard Dogs' leader, is not about to make it easy on "the house-dog," whom he sees as a rival. Will Scamp choose an uncertain life on the street, or learn to appreciate the unconditional love that only a family can give?

Taking its cue from the original "Lady & the Tramp" story, this upcoming sequel is set in the same early 20th century town as the first film. The returning cast includes such supporting characters as Jock, the Scottish terrier, Trusty, the old bloodhound and, of course, Aunt Sarah and her devious Siamese cats, Si and Am, immortalized in the first film in the memorable "Siamese Cat Song." At last, "Lady & the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure" continues the story of one of Disney's most beloved classics for a new generation of families, coming in Spring of 2001.

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