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Kevin Krock, editor
The MousePlanet Home Theater Video News - 7/2/01
It’s been a pretty quiet week for family- oriented DVD announcements, but there were a couple worth mentioning.

First of all, Fox Home Entertainment officially announced the release of Ron Howard’s fantasy adventure Willow as a special edition on November 27 for $26.98 SRP. The DVD has been digitally remastered and is presented in a new 5.1 Dolby surround soundtrack.

Features on the disc include special commentaries, an all-new documentary showcasing Willow's groundbreaking achievements in special effects, a “Making Of An Adventure” documentary, an effects featurette, original theatrical trailers, TV spots, a still photo gallery, and much more. It sounds like a winner disc, but I also remember the film wasn’t necessarily for younger viewers.

Here’s the press release film summary:

Based on a story by George Lucas, with a screenplay written by Bob Dolman, "WILLOW" is director Ron Howard’s fantasy world of medieval adventure. "WILLOW" stars Val Kilmer as Madmartigan, a swashbuckling warrior, and Warwick Davis as the title character.  In a mythical kingdom, the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda (Jean Marsh) plots to kill all infants so that the newborn princess, Elora, will never take over the throne. But a midwife sets the baby adrift in a river, and she is rescued by Willow, a farmer in Nelwyn, a peaceful village of trolls, fairies, and little folk. Willow and Madmartigan begin a quest to deliver the baby from evil while being chased by Queen Bavmorda's daughter, Sorsha (Joanne Whalley), sent to bring the baby back to Nockmaar.

Next up is the second DVD from the animated TV series “Dragon Tales.” This five-episode compilation debuts on August 7 from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment at a price of $19.95 SRP. The episodes include “Quetzal’s Magic Pop-Up Book,” “The Fury is Out on This One,” “Much Ado About Nodlings,” “Four Little Pigs,” and “Quibbling Siblings.”  These adventures focus on skills, such as sharing, taking turns, learning to be considerate and managing one’s temper.  Special features on the DVD include interactive menus and three Dragon Tales sing-a-longs: “Shake Your Dragon Tail,” “Betcha Can” and “Wiggle,” . The digitally mastered audio is in both English and Spanish audio, and the video is presented in the full-frame format. Run time is approximately 65 minutes. Here are the synopses for the episodes from the press release:

“Quetzal’s Magic Pop-Up Book” -- Quetzal pulls out his special magic book that allows the kids and dragons to go inside its blank pages where they can create and become part of tales that come to life just by thinking about them. Once inside, however, all start thinking different thoughts at once and chaos ensues. Zak derails Emmy’s wild jungle adventure with his leisurely tea party, which is then interrupted by a humongous watermelon that Ord conjures up. They soon realize that by taking turns, everyone’s story gets to be heard.

“The Fury Is Out On This One” — Max is “it” in a competitive game of Dragon Tag. He races around in hot pursuit of the others but they delight in remaining just out of reach. He gets angry, hurls a pinecone- like pod and out pops Fury, an intimidating little man with steam rising from his head. The madder Max gets, the bigger (and happier) Fury becomes… until his Dragon friends teach him a few tricks to let off some steam.

“Much Ado About Nodlings” — Max ignores Cassie’s warnings to watch out for Nodlings in the grass and accidentally drives his toy bulldozer into a wagon the tiny Nodling gnomes are using to gather mushtrees. Initially Max is reluctant to take responsibility, but as he and the gang try various ways to fix the situation and none of them work, he begins to feel bad and becomes determined to do the right thing. He offers the trailer from his bulldozer as a replacement, and everyone is happy.

“Four Little Pigs” — Max and Emmy decide to put on a puppet show in Dragon Land. They choose to act out "Three Little Pigs," and Ord, Max and Cassie offer to play the pigs. Emmy wants to be the wolf, but so do Zak and Wheezie, who are tired of always having to provide the music. They don’t want to play if they can’t be the wolf, so they leave.

“Quibbling Sibblings” — Zak is excited about trying to find a rare Jugglebug for school sharing time. But Wheezie’s being a real pain — making noise while Zak’s trying to sleep, ruining his breakfast, and losing his magnifying glass. Zak retreats by placing a large cone over his head to block her out. She doesn’t understand why he’s so angry, so Emmy and Max explain and Wheezie begins to realize how important the mission is to Zak.

In addition to the DVD release, these episodes will be included with several others on three VHS tapes released on the same day as the DVD for $12.95 SRP each. The three tapes will also be available as a box set.

Also, I received a reminder about the July 3 VHS release of two more installments of the Magic School Bus. Warner Home Video (WHV) and Scholastic Entertainment will debut two brand new adventures from Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus television series, “The Magic School Bus: Makes a Rainbow” and “The Magic School Bus: Gets Planted.” Each video will be available for the suggested retail price of $9.95.

Disneyland Annual Passholders, who have the type pass that gets them the 10% merchandise discount, may want to stop by the park and take a look at the pricing on both the Fantasia and Toy Story deluxe DVD box sets. Normally these three disc sets retail at most stores for 69.95. At Disneyland they are priced at 49.95 - and with your merchandise discount they come down to 44.96 - a remarkable deal.

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














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