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Kevin Krock, editor
May DVD Reviews
In an effort to handle the increasing number of Disney DVD releases in an efficient manner, I am trying a new, condensed review format for particularly heavy release months, like May. The intent of the condensed DVD reviews remains the same: we want to provide you with the essential information you need to make an informed buying decision in a timely fashion.

The flip side to improving timeliness, though, is that they will not have as much in-depth detail as a full review. With respect to full reviews, they will continue, but not every DVD title will receive the deluxe treatment. With that, here are the May Disney DVDs:

Pollyanna
Approx. 134 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy

Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

anamorphicdvd.gif (2563 bytes)

Movie

Live-action family movie about an orphan (Hayley Mills) who brightens the lives of the townspeople she meets, but strict Aunt Polly tries to temper Pollyanna’s enthusiasm until she almost looses Pollyanna and realizes the power of love and lightheartedness.

  • Classic Disney family film that has a lot of heart without being sickeningly sweet.
  • As with the original theatrical release, the feature is preceded by the Mickey Mouse animated short, "Nifty Nineties."

Video

Anamorphic Widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TVs), 1.75:1

  • Restored transfer is very clean with minimal visual defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) or graininess. Details are sharp and clear.
  • Colors are generally well balanced, but some scenes look a bit washed out.
  • This movie should look good on just about everyone’s home theater system.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack is nicely balanced though surrounds are only active during music.
  • This movie should sound good on any system.

Highlight Goodies

Loaded two-disc set

  • The audio commentary with Hayley Mills and director David Swift is well worth listening to, but some of their stories do not directly relate to the scene on the screen.
  • "Pollyanna: Making of a Masterpiece" documentary (28 min).
  • "Re-Creating Pollyanna’s America" featurette that examines how the setting of the movie was created (14 min).
  • "Pollyanna" Disney Archives Tour with still galleries, storyboards, etc.
  • "Walt Disney Introduces Pollyanna" – Walt Disney’s original on-camera introductions to each of the three "Pollyanna" episodes of "The Wonderful World of Color."

Interface

  • Disc 1 menus feature video and audio clips from the movie.
  • Disc 2 menus are very cool. Lots of animation and audio to give the look and feel of exploring a movie vault. They are the perfect accent to this DVD series, and they are the same for all the Vault Disney bonus discs.

Value

Well worth buying for DVD collectors and/or fans.

  • Movie is quite enjoyable without being overly sweet.
  • Audio and video transfer should hold up on any home theater system.
  • Bonus material is plentiful and right on target.
  • On the negative side, Disney should not have put auto-play previews on these discs, whether or not you can skip them.

 

Old Yeller
Approx. 84 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

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Movie

Live-action family movie about a stray dog that endears himself to a frontier family and proves to be a fiercely loyal member of the family up to the touching end.

  • Classic Disney family film that is sure to draw tears with its love and loss themes.
  • As with the original theatrical release, the feature is preceded by the Pluto animated short, "Bone Trouble."

Video

Anamorphic Widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TVs), 1.75:1

  • Restored transfer is very clean with minimal visual defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) or graininess. Nice detail.
  • Colors, especially blues and greens, are saturated and look great, and it should look good on any home theater system.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack is clean and should sound good on any audio system.

Highlight Goodies

Loaded two-disc set

  • Audio Commentary with Tommy Kirk, Fess Parker, Kevin Corcoran, and Bob Weatherwax is informative, interesting, and most stories are screen specific.
  • "Best Doggoned Dog in the World" - complete Disneyland television show (52 min).
  • "Ranch of the Golden Oak" featurette – tour of the ranch/studio where numerous films, including many Disney films were shot (7 min).
  • "Old Yeller: Remebering A Classic" documentary (36 min).
  • "Old Yeller" Disney Archives Tour with still galleries, storyboards, etc.
  • Conversations with Tommy Kirk – interview with numerous film clips covering Kirk’s Disney film history (14 min).

Interface

  • Disc 1 menus feature clips from the movie and are well themed.
  • Disc 2 menus are very cool. Lots of animation and audio to give the look and feel of exploring a movie vault. They are the perfect accent to this DVD series, and they are the same for all the Vault Disney bonus discs.

Value

Well worth buying for DVD collectors and/or fans

  • Classic and touching story that everyone can relate to.
  • Audio and video transfer should hold up on any home theater system.
  • Bonus material is plentiful and right on target.
  • On the negative side, Disney should not have put auto-play previews on these discs, whether or not you can skip them.

 

Swiss Family Robinson
Approx. 126 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

anamorphicdvd.gif (2563 bytes)

Movie

Live-action family movie about the Robinson family and their adventures on a deserted island after they are shipwrecked.

  • Classic Disney family film with a lot of adventure, heart, fun, and action.
  • As with the original theatrical release, the feature is preceded by the Donald Duck animated short, "Sea Salts."

Video

Anamorphic Widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TVs), 2.35:1

  • Restored transfer is very clean with minimal defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) or graininess. Detail is wonderful.
  • Colors are nicely balanced and saturated, and the movie should look great on any home theater system.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack is clean and ought to play well on anyone’s audio system.

Highlight Goodies

Loaded two-disc set

  • Audio Commentary with director Ken Annakin, Tommy Kirk, James MacArthur, and Kevin Corcoran covers many great stories and insights about the production of this film.
  • "Adventure in the Making" documentary (48 min).
  • Conversations with James MacArthur – interview with numerous film clips covering MacArthur’s Disney film history (12 min).
  • "Swiss Family Treehouse" featurette narrated by Haley Mills showing the opening day festivities of the Treehouse at Disneyland (4 min).
  • "Escape to Paradise" episode of the Disneyland television series (23 min).
  • "Swiss Family Robinson" Disney Archives Tour with still galleries, storyboards, etc.

Interface

  • Disc 1 menus features a nicely themed and animated desktop accented with audio from the film.
  • Disc 2 menus are very cool. Lots of animation and audio to give the look and feel of exploring a movie vault. They are the perfect accent to this DVD series, and they are the same for all the Vault Disney bonus discs.

Value

Definitely worth buying for DVD collectors and/or fans

  • Classic family adventure film that covers the gamut of emotions.
  • Audio and video transfer should hold up well on any home theater system.
  • Bonus material is plentiful and right on target.
  • On the negative side, Disney should not have put auto-play previews on these discs, whether or not you can skip them.

 

The Parent Trap (1961)
Approx. 129 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

anamorphicdvd.gif (2563 bytes)

Movie

Live-action family movie about separated twins (both played by Hayley Mills) who accidentally meet at summer camp and concoct a scheme to switch places in order to get their divorced parents back together.

  • Fun, humorous, and classic Disney film that feels a bit dated but still works pretty well.
  • As with the original theatrical release, the feature is preceded by the Donald Duck animated short, "Donald’s Double Trouble."

Video

Anamorphic Widescreen (enhanced for widescreen TVs), 1.78:1

  • Restored transfer is very clean with minimal defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) or graininess. Details are nice and clear.
  • Colors are well balanced and should look good on any home theater.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack should play nicely on any system.

Highlight Goodies

Loaded two-disc set

  • Audio Commentary with Hayley Mills and director David Swift is interesting and stays a bit more in sync with the visuals than the "Pollyanna" commentary.
  • "Caught in the Act: The Making of The Parent Trap" documentary (18 min).
  • "The Sherman Brothers" featurette – covers all of the musical work for the movie (14 min).
  • "Who’s the Twin?" featurette – an interview with the body double for Hayley Mills (6 min).
  • "Disney Legend: Hayley Mills" featurette – a look back over Hayley Mills’ film career (22 min).
  • "Seeing Double" featurette - covers how the twin shots were produced (9 min).
  • "The Titlemakers" – segment of the Disneyland television show (14 min).
  • "Kimball & Swift: The Disney Years" – wonderful interview with Ward Kimball and David Swift (17 min). Swift was Kimball’s animation assistant before he became a live action director.
  • "The Parent Trap" Disney Archives Tour with still galleries, storyboards, etc.

Interface

  • Disc 1 menus are cute and perfectly themed for the movie.
  • Disc 2 menus are very cool. Lots of animation and audio to give the look and feel of exploring a movie vault. They are the perfect accent to this DVD series, and they are the same for all the Vault Disney bonus discs.

Value

Well worth buying for DVD collectors and/or fans.

  • Classic and fun movie for the family, but it feels a bit more dated than the other DVDs in the series.
  • Audio and video transfer should hold up on any home theater system.
  • Bonus material is plentiful and right on target. The Kimball & Swift interview itself is almost worth the price.
  • On the negative side, Disney should not have put auto-play previews on these discs, whether or not you can skip them.

 

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Approx. 74 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

Movie

Several short Winnie the Pooh stories tied together into a feature length movie.

  • This enjoyable Disney classic has incredible staying power and continues to delight adults and children today.

Video

"Family friendly" full-screen, 1.33:1

  • Restored transfer is fairly clean with minor visual defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) and graininess. Detail is generally good.
  • Overall, the colors look good, but some scenes show their age a little worse than others.
  • It is very disappointing that this 25th anniversary edition is a full-screen (1.33:1) transfer instead of the original theatrical widescreen aspect ratio (1.75:1).

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1, French and Spanish language tracks

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack will play nicely on any audio system.

Highlight Goodies

There are only a few items of particular interest.

  • "A Day for Eeyore" animated short (25 min).
  • "The Story Behind the Masterpiece: The Making of Winnie the Pooh" documentary (25 min).
  • Winnie the Pooh Art Gallery – Provides a still and video gallery of Pooh production art (video is 9 min).

Interface

Animated menus accented with music from the movie.

  • The menus are fairly well themed, simple, and a bit subdued, but they fit nicely with the mood and feel of the movie.

Value

DVD collectors will be disappointed, but children and fans will probably find it worth the upgrade from their old videotape.

  • The movie is an animation classic, and everyone can relate to the characters and stories.
  • Audio and video transfer will hold up better than VHS on any home theater system.
  • Bonus material is reasonable.

 

Oliver & Company
Approx. 74 Minutes | Rated G | Reviewed by Kevin Krock
Cover Art
Click to Buy
Ratings Summary
(Scored out of a maximum of five)
Audio Video
Goodies Interface
Value

anamorphicdvd.gif (2563 bytes)

Movie

Inspired by Charles Dickens novel, "Oliver Twist," the movie follows an orphaned kitten as he joins up with a group of stray dogs before being adopted by a lonely rich girl and then separated from her.

  • This contemporary telling features music by Billy Joel, Huey Lewis, and Bette Midler.
  • It is not one of my Disney favorites, but it has its moments.

Video

Anamorphic widescreen, 1.66:1

  • Restored transfer is clean with minor visual defects (e.g. dust, scratches, etc.) and graininess. Detail is generally good.
  • The colors look good throughout the movie.

Audio

Dolby Digital 5.1, French and Spanish language tracks

  • Restored and remastered soundtrack will play nicely on any audio system.

Highlight Goodies

There are very few significant items of interest.

  • "The Making of Oliver & Company" featurette (5 min).
  • "Lend a Paw" animated short.
  • "Puss Café" animated short.

Interface

  • The main menu features video and music from the film. Other menus have music.

Value

DVD collectors will be a disappointed with the lack of bonus material, but children and fans will probably find it worth the upgrade from their old videotape.

  • The story has never caught and held my attention, but the animation and music are pretty good.

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