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Kevin Krock, editor

The last couple of months have been relatively quiet in terms of Disney DVD releases and announcements, so there has not been much to report. Recently, there have been a few official press releases about upcoming titles, so I thought I would pass them along.

After the official announcements, let me fill you in on some of the latest and then other Disney DVD titles being released later this year.


On August 6th, Buena Vista is releasing a direct-to-video title called The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina.

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The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina

BURBANK, Calif. - [PRESS RELEASE] - Enter the magical world of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, together for the first time ever, in the all-new animated movie, The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina, available on DVD and VHS on August 6 from Buena Vista Home Entertainment. A new take on the classic characters of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, this charming film stars Jennifer Love Hewitt (The Hunchback of Notre Dame II) and Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) in the title roles. Bursting with delightful songs and humor, this heartwarming story of courage and friendship is perfect entertainment for the entire family, available on DVD for $24.99 and on VHS for $19.99.

The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina includes such wonderful songs as Thumbelina's solo "I Am All Alone" (sung by Jennifer Love Hewitt) and the villainous Mole King's hilarious song "Welcome To My Hole" (performed by Peter Gallagher ("American Beauty"). This superb film's all-star cast includes Bebe Neuwirth (TV's Frasier), Rachel Griffiths (Disney's The Rookie), Robert Guillaume (Disney's The Lion King II: Simba's Pride), Esai Morales (TV's American Family), Jane Leeves (TV's Frasier), and Jon Stewart (TV's The Daily Show), among others.

From the creators of the award-winning Brave Little Toaster series, The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina features terrific animation and a rousing, family-friendly story. Once upon a time there were two tiny, beloved fairy tale characters, Tom Thumb (Elijah Wood) and Thumbelina (Jennifer Love Hewitt), who longed for acceptance but whose paths had never crossed. That is until the day fate brought them together. Thumbelina is a young teenage girl, but somewhat out of the ordinary: she's only six inches tall. She meets Tom Thumb, a teenager of similar height, and soon the two embark on a fantastic quest together, which leads them to the comically villainous Mole King (Peter Gallagher). The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina has a running time of approximately 75 minutes. On DVD, The Adventures of Tom Thumb & Thumbelina is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33: 1.


Then on August 18th, all of you Playhouse Disney fans may be pleased to see Rolie Polie Olie make is DVD debut. Sounds like a typical but longer RPO episode, but I know my 4-year-old is already looking forward to it.

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Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun

BURBANK, Calif., May 8, 2002 - [PRESS RELEASE] - Rolie Polie Olie delivers more out-of-this-world fun with the debut of his very first, all-new movie, Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun This charming, entertaining film premieres only on Disney DVD and video on August 13, 2002, from Walt Disney Home Entertainment and Playhouse Disney - marking the first time Rolie Polie Olie has ever been available on DVD. Based on the acclaimed books by children's author and illustrator William Joyce, the movie is priced to own at $24.99 (S.R.P.) for Disney DVD and $19.99 for VHS (S.R.P.).

In Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun, it's Olie's sister Zowie's birthday party, and everyone is preparing for the big event - until the evil, Gloomius Maximus arrives. The new villain, voiced by James Woods, threatens to bring doom and gloom to the planet — will Olie be able to protect the party from being "un-funerated?" This full-length movie takes viewers on a zany ride through the galaxy as Olie, the Great Defender of Fun, along with his sister and the rest of the gang, gear up to save Zowie's birthday and defend Polieville against the perils of gloom.

The character of Rolie Polie Olie premiered on the Disney Channel's The Rolie Polie Olie television series and was named the winner of the 2000 Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Special Class Animated Program." Rolie Polie Olie is also a Parent's Choice "Silver Honor" award winner.

Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun is rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has a running time of approximately 75 minutes and is closed captioned for the hearing impaired.


Later in August, the 20th to be specific, Disney releases the sequel to Peter PanReturn to Never Land. I did not see this one in the theaters, and I have heard several different opinions about it. Based on the release, the DVD does not look to be a knockout, but at least it has features like anamorphic widescreen, Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks, and some deleted scenes.

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Return to Never Land

BURBANK, Calif., April 9, 2002 - [PRESS RELEASE] - On August 20 the magic takes flight in the continuation of the timeless tale of Peter Pan in Return to Never Land, coming to Disney DVD and video. A magical story, full of all the fun, adventure and fantasy of the original, Return to Never Land features favorite returning characters Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy, and Peter's arch rival Captain Hook, and introduces a new character, Wendy's daughter Jane, a young girl who doesn't believe in "faith, trust and pixie dust." The exciting, animated adventure features five new songs and will be released on DVD with bonus treasures including deleted scenes, games, a storybook and more. Return to Never Land will be available on DVD for $29.99 (S.R.P.) and on VHS for $24.99 (S.R.P.).

The Return to Never Land DVD includes bonus materials featuring: Lost Treasures: Deleted Scenes with commentary by producer Chris Chase and executive in charge of production Sharon Morrill; music video of the new song "I'll Try" performed by pop singing sensation Jonatha Brooke; a Rescue The Lost Boys Adventure Game; Disney StoryTime: Never Land's New Hero; a DVD-ROM Sampler of "You Can Fly;" DVD-ROM Web links and more. It is formatted for widescreen (1.66:1) and enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions and includes both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 Surround Sound. The THX-certified release comes with English and French language tracks.

Return to Never Land takes you back to the enchanted place where kids never grow up and where Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, and the Lost Boys still taunt the villainous Captain Hook. It has been years since Wendy left Never Land, and although that wonderful world is unchanged, she now has children of her own in war torn London. Wendy tries to comfort her young ones with stories of Peter Pan and Captain Hook but her practical 12-year-old Jane has no time for make-believe, until she's kidnapped by Captain Hook himself and whisked off to Never Land.

Hook, mistaking her for Wendy, plans to use Jane as bait to finally capture his nemesis Peter Pan. But Peter, Tink and the Lost Boys rescue Jane from the villain's clutches and once again defeat the old pirate. Now in order to return home, Jane must fly, and in order to fly, she needs to believe. It's up to Peter Pan to show her that with a little "faith, trust and pixie dust," anything is possible.

Return to Never Land is rated "G" with a running time of approximately 73 minutes. Bonus materials are not rated and subject to change.


Other recently released live-action Disney catalog DVDs include:

Air Bud - Seventh Inning Fetch
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The Journey of Natty Gann
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Monkeys, Go Home!
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The Biscuit Eater
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Rascal
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Cheetah
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Cover ArtKing of the Grizzlies
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All of these titles are full-screen, movie-only releases, with no bonus material and minimal audio tracks. The video transfers are generally better than the recent Blackbeard’s Ghost, but do not expect demo quality.

What else is on the horizon, you ask?

These following title are still on track for their previously announced release dates:

Schoolhouse Rock - August 27

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Mickey's House of Villains - September 3

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Babes in Toyland - September 3
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Monsters, Inc. - September 17

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Beauty and the Beast Platinum Special Edition - October 8

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The Muppet Christmas Carol - October 8
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If those are not enough, looking towards the Holiday season, there is even more!

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On November 12, Beauty and the Beast - The Enchanted Christmas Special Edition and Winnie the Pooh - A Very Merry Pooh Year will hit store shelves. The first title is supposedly a special edition release of the 1997 direct-to-video follow-up to Beauty and the Beast, but details have yet to be released.

The Pooh disc is an animated direct-to-video release, but no further details are available.


Also on tap for release before the end of the year: Wave 2 of the Walt Disney Treasures collection is slated for release on December 3rd. Although, rather than the four originally speculated titles, Disney appears to have dropped the "Wartime Animation" set and will only be releasing the following discs:

Mickey Mouse in Black & White

Mickey Mouse in Black & White

Behind the Scenes of the Walt Disney Studios

Behind the Scenes of the Walt Disney Studios

The Complete Goofy

The Complete Goofy

The Mickey set includes 34 classic black-and-white animated shorts, and the Goofy set has all 46 of the Goofy animated shorts. Finally, the Studio set includes behind-the-scenes films and telecasts, and included in that vague description is supposed to be The Reluctant Dragon movie, in its entirety.

All sets will be limited to 150,000 copies, have a collectible postcard-sized lithograph, and are packaged in embossed numbered tins, just like Wave 1. More details to come soon, and hopefully we will see that wartime animation set some time soon.



Promotional art © Disney

Finally (and somewhat speculative — but not outside of Disney's typical DVD release pattern), Lilo & Stitch should be making its home video debut in both a two disc collector's and a single disc standard edition in January 2003.

The current tentative date is January 28, but until Disney officially announces the details, the date is subject to change. An official announcement is not expected for several weeks.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for more.


You can e-mail Kevin at: dockrock@mouseplanet.com

DVD News

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Kevin Krock takes a look at the new DVDs of Blackbeard's Ghost & Muppet Treasure Island

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