By sheer luck this week, we were only asked to review a bunch of Disney movies and documentaries. Luckily, we really liked them. First we talked about this year’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Blu-Ray, starring Jay Baruchel and Nic Cage, the crazy man that he is. Next we talked about Fantasia and Fantasia 2000, who have been loved by many children and are now together in the Diamond Edition on Blu-Ray. As for the documentaries, we have Waking Sleeping Beauty, The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story and Walt and El Grupo. All of these are available for purchase on November 30. What works so great with all of these selections this week is how well they all work together. After watching a few of these, I feel like I really know Walt Disney, himself and would have loved to have known him. Too bad he didn’t have himself frozen for the future.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice on Blu-Ray: Having never seen the film in theaters I have to say that my expectations were more than a little low. I have nothing but respect for Nicholas Cage but his name alone doesn’t completely grab my attention. This is why it was so surprising to me that I enjoyed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice so much. While the film does have gaping plot holes it never failed to grab my attention. A compelling story along with exquisite visuals and sound left The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in my BUY IT column.
Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 The Diamond Edition on Blu-Ray: While I was excited to relive the joy that Fantasia brought me as a child, I hadn’t experienced the sequel Fantasia 2000. While both were enjoyable pieces with music and animation to go along together, I am still partial to the original. The song choices were much more advanced and the animation was much more daring and courageous. The special features are really what make this Blu-Ray worth talking about. The first disc covers detailed information on how the film was made. It took a lot more than just drawing some images and scanning them on a computer. For the young directors in your family, this feature will light up their world with new ideas. On the second disc, there is an intense documentary about the relationship between Walt Disney, himself, and the surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The two worked endlessly together to make a song and animation sequence for Fantasia. Ultimately, it never made it in the film, and was never finished, but with the help of some very talented artists, we can now see the finished product, Destino. Because of these unique features and the pure joy these two films bring, this Blu-Ray combo is a definite BUY IT.
Waking Sleeping Beauty on DVD: From a first glance, this documentary didn’t grab my attention. After popping it in though, I was quickly pulled into the honest emotion of the story. It was absolutely fascinating to find out about the turmoil and troubles that the staff and company itself was going through from 1984 to 1994 when some of my childhood favorites were hitting theatres. Films like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King will have a deeper and more special meaning to you after seeing how these masterpieces almost didn’t exist! The special features were nothing too special with more commentary, deleted scenes and a bit about Walt. We on opinion whether to buy or rent. If you are a hard core fan of Disney, this should be in your collection, so you should listen to Ryan and BUY IT, however, from a point of view not obsessed with Disney, seeing this film may change your heart a bit, but until then, Angela suggests to RENT IT.
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story on DVD: This unique relationship between two brothers created more hits for Disney songs than anyone else. With such hits like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and the entire catalog of Winnie the Pooh, the Sherman brothers are a household name for Disney. What makes this documentary interesting is finding out that the two didn’t actually get along. For many years, their personal lives were torn, while their professional lives together were seamless as they wrote the classics. With only a few features that really caught our attention, and due to the lack of rewatchability, we would recommend renting it. However, if you are an avid collector of all things Disney, this would make a fine addition to your collection. Otherwise, RENT IT.
Walt and El Grupo on DVD: Never having known of any of this information before watching this DVD only serves to prove how important this is to see. When World War II was kicking off, Walt Disney was struggling making prophet on his films, so he closed up shop for a bit and took a crew of animators and camera men to South America to tour the major cities and make nice with the locals. From this trip, they were able to pass along the desire for peace to South Americans and become an ally to America. They were also able to bring back much information about the way of life in South America and animate that into films for the United States to learn a bit about them. With out Disney, who knows what kind of nation this country might actually be in? It’s definitely an important piece of history to take a look at. With special features such as more interviews, deleted scenes and the cartoon by which the whole trip was inspired from, this is another collector for those Disney historians. However, seeing this once will suffice for most of us, so we suggest a RENT IT.