Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ Reboot Will Appeal To The Movie’s Most Devoted Audiences

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios is bringing its reboot of its animated classic Dumbo to DVD and Blu-ray later this month.  The movie is scheduled for release June 25, just under three months after the movie made its theatrical debut.  The movie was met with lackluster reactions from viewers and critics alike during its theatrical run, according to figures from Rotten Tomatoes and Box Office Mojo.  The lackluster reaction is justified, considering the reboot’s story.  This will be addressed a little bit later.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s home release does make up at least a little bit for the problems posed through the movie’s story.  It will be discussed shortly.  The movie’s average price point in its home release is another notable element to consider in examining its whole.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the upcoming home release of Dumbo.  All things considered, the movie’s home release is a presentation that the most devoted Dumbo fans will appreciate.

Walt Disney Studios’ forthcoming home release of its reboot of Dumbo is a presentation that will appeal mostly to the most devoted fans of the classic movie.  That is due in part to the bonus content that is featured with the movie.  Among the most notable of the featured extras that make up the movie’s bonus content are featurettes that examine the movie’s costumes, set design and story.  Audiences learn through the bonus content, the train used in the update was in fact a real, scale model of the train featured in the animated 1941 movie.  There is even footage showing the train in front of a green screen to prove the train is real, and not just another CG item.  Viewers also learn through the noted features, the amount of work that went into making the movie look as close to the period as possible in which it was set.  That includes the costumes and the look of the train and sets.  That adds a certain level of appreciation to the movie, if only a little.  Another interesting addition to the movie’s bonus content list is a group of interviews with the movie’s cast and director Tim Burton (Beetlejuice, Batman, Batman Returns).  Burton reveals in his interview segments that he had not in fact worked with Michael Keaton (Batman, Batman Returns, Spiderman: Homecoming) and Danniy DeVito (Matilda, Batman, Batman Returns) since the trio last worked on Batman Returns (1992).  That is a long span of time apart.  DeVito and Keaton do share their own entertaining anecdotes about the comparison of that movie to Dumbo, joking about how the roles have changed and how Keaton loves elephants in reality, and its role in his acting.  Fellow Dumbo co-star Eva Green (Casino Royale, Penny Dreadful, Kingdom of Heaven) reveals an equally intriguing note of her own fears and how they were connected to her inexperience in acrobatics in her own interview.  That is just one more item that makes the bonus content so interesting here.  All of the items noted here will certainly engage and entertain audiences when Dumbo makes its home debut later this month.  They are just some of the interesting commentaries featured in the movie’s bonus content.  The note of Burton’s attention to detail with the sets and costumes adds its own interst, as the discussions lead to thoughts of another of Burton’s works – Big Fish.  The movie is not mentioned directly, but the latent effect is the noted thoughts and comparisons of Big Fish.  Stylistically, one cannot help but make a comparison between the movies.  To that end, audiences – even those who might not like this latest take on Dumbo – will appreciate the look of Dumbo.  Keeping that and everything else noted here in mind, the bonus content featured in the upcoming home release of Dumbo proves to be the movie’s saving grace, and more proof of the importance of a movie’s bonus content.  Staying on this train of thought, Disney’s updated take of Dumbo leaves a lot to be liked in terms of its story, the movie’s most prominent negative aspect.

The story at the center of Disney’s new Dumbo reboot is a near complete re-imagining of the 1941 movie.  In place of the original story in which Dumbo has to learn to believe in himself rather than luck, is a story that finds Dumbo basically being used by two businessmen for their own selfish purposes.  Given, DeVito’s Max Medici does ultimately prove to have a good heart, but he has to go through his own personal lesson to get there.  To that end, Max and V.A. Vandevere are both really just money-grubbers.  Max is just the lesser of two evils.  Add in the unnecessary romance subplot between Holt (Farrell) and Colette (Green) and things get even worse.  Things get worse not just because of the unnecessary romance subplot, but the very fact that said plot was so predictable.  It did not take a genius to know from early on that Colette’s character turn would happen.  As if this is not enough, the very fact that Dumbo knew just which knobs to turn and levers to pull (and could even do the noted tasks) to shut down Dreamland is just not believable.  The overly preachy animal rights message at the story’s end, and the overly preachy female empowerment messages also tied into the story do little to help the story.  That is not to say that female empowerment is a bad thing.  In fact it is a very good thing.  However, the way in which that message was delivered here was a bit more preachy than powerful, if that makes any sense.  When all of this is taken into consideration, the reality sets in that the story at the center of Disney’s new Dumbo reboot does a lot to detract from its presentation.  Keeping that in mind, it makes the movie’s average price point quite important to consider.

The average price point for the upcoming home release of Dumbo is $26.88.  That price is obtained using prices at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  At the time of this review’s posting, the movie was not listed at Disney’s official store.  The movie’s listing at movies.disney.com links to Best Buy, Target and Walmart.  While the average price point is almost $30, the movie’s pricing is right on par with every other movie that Disney has released in recent memory.  Its most inexpensive listing is through Amazon and Walmart at $24.96 while Barnes & Noble Bookseller’s price of $31.32 is the most expensive.  The continuity (of sorts) of the movie’s price in comparison to Disney’s other movies is something that viewers will applaud, especially considering the problems posed by the movie’s primary content versus the positives of its bonus content.  Keeping that in mind, while the primary content featured in Disney’s reboot of Dumbo is problematic, the movie’s most devoted fans will find it worth at least one watch.  Its bonus content does at least a little bit to make up for the story’s problems.  The pricing, for those noted devotees, is right in the same price range as Disney’s other home releases.  To that end, the movie in whole proves to be a release that will certainly appeal to a certain targeted audience

The forthcoming home release of Disney’s Dumbo reboot is an intriguing new offering from Disney.  Its bonus content is certain to keep audiences in general engaged and entertained.  Its story, on the other hand, will appeal to a much more specific viewer base.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price range for the movie’s home release – which is in keeping with the range of Disney’s other home releases – proves to be its own positive for the movie.  Keeping all of this in mind, Dumbo’s upcoming home release will certainly appeal to a very distinct group of the movie’s audiences.  It is scheduled for release June 25.  More information on Dumbo is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/dumbo-2019

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Dumbo

 

 

 

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True Disney Devotees Will Appreciate Studio’s Latest ‘Cinderella’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios is set to re-issue its animated adaptation of the timeless fairy tale Cinderella again later this month.  This latest re-issue comes roughly five years after the company last re-issued the movie, and for audiences who are attentive to movies’ bonus content, is certain to generate plenty of discussion.  They are collectively, both a pro and a con in one.  While the movie’s bonus content is certain to generate its own share of discussions, the movie’s central story will create just as much discussion among viewers today as it did when it debuted so many decades ago. It will be addressed a little later.  The movie’s average price point proves just as important to discuss in examining its upcoming re-issue as the other noted elements.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of this latest re-issue.  All things considered, Disney’s forthcoming re-issue of Cinderella proves to be an interesting offering from Walt Disney Studios and its home entertainment arm.

Walt Disney Studio’s upcoming re-issue of Cinderella will come just a year short of the 70th anniversary of the movie’s original debut when it is re-issued later this month on DVD and Blu-ray.  The movie originally debuted – according to information from IMDB.com – on March 4, 1950.  In terms of the movie’s story, nothing has changed since it made its theatrical debut some 60 years ago this year.  Now in terms of the extras featured in the movie’s home release, they have changed over the years.  The movie’s upcoming re-issue, scheduled for June 25, is no exception to that rule.  This latest issuance features some of the bonus content featured in the movie’s 2012 BD re-issue, but also features a variety of new extras.  Brought over from the 2012 re-issue are “The Real Godmother,” Behind The Magic: A New Disney Princes Fantasyland,” the movie’s alternate openings and the vintage radio broadcasts.  Not carried over into this re-issue are the Tangled short Tangled Ever After and the personalized digital storybook.  In place of those extras are “From Rags To Riches: The Making of Cinderella,” “The Cinderella That Almost Was,” “Try This Trivia On For Size” and the new featurette “In Walt’s Words: The Envisioning of Cinderella.  “From Rags To Riches: The Making Of Cinderella” is an intriguing look at the history of Cinderella, how it went from vision to storyboard to big screen.  It even features discussions with the famed Sherman Brothers about the movie’s songs.  “The Cinderella That Almost Was” envisions the original Cinderella concept and discusses Walt Disney’s role in the changes that led to the final product.  The trivia featurette is just two current Disney stars who talk about some trivia connected to Cinderella.  It is really the least of the new re-issue’s bonuses.  The making of featurette and the history on the Cinderella that almost was are more engaging, on the other hand.

Now, the lack of the Tangled short and the personalized digital storybook might upset some viewers.  In Disney’s defense, Tangled Ever After is featured on Disney’s Walt Disney Short Films Collection (2015).  Also featured in that collection are shorts, such as Frozen Fever, Prep & LandingOperation Secret Santa and John Henry.  Keeping this in mind, the fact that Tangled Ever After is not featured in Cinderella’s latest re-issue is not that much of a negative since it is still available on another, separate Disney release that features a variety of other Disney shorts.  The movie’s new and old bonus content forms a strong foundation for its upcoming re-issue, and is not its only important element.  The story at the center of the movie is just as notable as its collective bonus content.

The story at the center of Cinderella is, at its core a fairy tale about true love.  Of course, it is also a story that has been quite contentious throughout history.  Some argue that it’s just a fairy tale while others argue it creates unreal expectations for women – that prince charming will come in on his white horse and sweep them up off their feet instead of teaching the invaluable lesson of self confidence.  On the other hand, one could just as easily argue that this possible message aside, it also teaches a lesson about the last being first.  Cinderella was that classic underdog figure, and she was the “last.”  Because of her kind heart, she became the first in the end.  Now considering the source material for Disney’s take on Cinderella – the Brothers Grimm tale, which is actually quite gruesome – that argument actually holds some water.  The original tale tells a story about what happens to people who goodness versus wickedness.  Again, it is rather rough in terms of its content, but makes no bones about its lesson.  To that end, the story at the heart of Disney’s Cinderella may be different from its source material in terms of its overall content, but the original lesson is still there.  It just has been covered up by the more saccharine sweet take crafted by Walt Disney and his staff.  Keeping in mind the importance of the movie’s story and the discussions that said story is certain to generate, and the overall bonus content featured in the movie’s upcoming re-issue, the re-issue proves just as interesting in its latest re-issue as ever before.  Those elements are not the movie’s only notables.  Its average price point is notable in its own right.

The average price point of Cinderella (Signature Edition) is $26.42.  That price is achieved using prices at Disney’s official store, Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  Books-A-Million’s price listing was the most expensive at the time of this review’s posting, at $39.99 while the majority of the movie’s listings sit at $24.99, including the listing at Disney’s official shop.  Amazon’s price for the movie via streaming is the least expensive at $14.99.  Considering that the average price is almost $30, but that most of the individual price listings are actually below that price and are on par with almost every other Disney release across the board, that is not an extraordinary price to pay, especially for the most devoted Cinderella fans.  Add in the importance of the movie’s combined new and old bonus content and the discussions that they will bring along with the movie’s story (and its source material), the whole proves to be a relatively affordable price that – again – the most devoted Cinderella fans will certainly appreciate.

Cinderella (Signature Edition) is a presentation that the most devoted fans of the classic Disney flick will certainly appreciate.  Even classic movie buffs who maybe are not as devoted to the movie, will appreciate it partly because of the movie’s bonus content.  Its story adds to its interest when compared to its source material.  When all of that is considered along with the movie’s average price point and listed prices, the whole proves to be a work that Disney’s most devoted audiences will enjoy.  It is scheduled for release June 25 alongside a re-issue of the movie’s live action reboot.  More information on the movie is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/Cinderella-1950

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cinderella

 

 

 

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Walt Disney Studios To Re-Issue ‘Cinderella’ Again This Month

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Cinderella is getting the re-issue treatment again.

Walt Disney Studios recently announced it will re-issue its timeless animated classic Cinderella on June 25.  The release is part of the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the movie’s debut.  Its re-issue is part of Walt Disney Studios’  Walt Disney Signature Collection.

The story of Cinderella is an unforgettable tale of the last being first and the best coming to those who wait.  Cinderella is the unloved stepdaughter of a selfish stepmother and her biological daughters.  She is mistreated by the trio, but then a fair godmother comes along and helps her meet Prince Charming.  He then loses her, albeit briefly, after she runs away at the stroke of midnight, and then finds her again in classic boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end fashion.

Two new featurettes are featured in the movie’s upcoming BD re-issue.  One is a trivia game featuring a pair of current Disney stars.  The other is an in-movie feature that presents storyboards, sketches, transcripts and other items to deepen the experience.  Also featured in the movie’s upcoming re-issue is all of the bonus content featured in its most recent re-issue.  The full list of the movie’s bonus content is noted below.

BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAY & DIGITAL:

*NEW BONUS

  • Try This Trivia on for Size – Join Ruth Righi and Ava Kolker from Disney Channel’s Sydney to the Max and put your knowledge of Cinderella to the test.
  • In Walt’s Words: Enhanced Edition – Watch the movie and gain some insight into its production with storyboards, archival photos, sketches and transcripts.

CLASSIC BONUS

  • Diane Disney Miller “Cinderella” Film Intro – In this introduction to the animated classic, Diane Disney Miller describes how Cinderella helped launch a studio renaissance.
  • The Real Fairy Godmother – Learn about the real-life inspiration for the Fairy Godmother: Mary Alice O’Connor, wife of Disney layout artist Ken O’Connor.
  • Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fairyland – Discover how Imagineers created a Fantasyland at Walt Disney World featuring each of the Disney Princesses.
  • The Magic of the Glass Slipper – World-famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin creates a very exclusive “Glass Slipper” in honor of a beloved Disney classic.

THE ART OF CINDERELLA

  • Concept Art – View a gallery of concept art from the feature’s production.
  • Character Model Sheets – View a gallery of character model sheets from the feature’s production.
  • Story Sketches – View a gallery of story sketches from the feature’s production.
  • Live-Action Reference – View a gallery of photos taken from live-action footage shot as a reference for the animated feature.
  • Pencil Animation – View a gallery of pencil animation from the feature’s production.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Stills – View a gallery of behind-the-scenes stills from the feature’s production.
  • Feature Stills – View a gallery of stills from the feature.

MUSIC AND MORE

  • “Cinderella” Title Song
  • “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes”
  • “Oh, Sing Sweet Nightingale”
  • “The Work Song”
  • “So This Is Love”

*Bonus features may vary by retailer

More information on the upcoming re-issue of Cinderella is available online now at:

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/Cinderella-1950

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Cinderella

 

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Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ Reboot Coming Home Later This Month

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Disney is bringing its recent reboot of its animated classic Dumbo to Blu-ray and DVD.

Walt Disney Studios announced this week the recent live-action/CG reboot of its timeless classic is scheduled for release on June 25.  The movie’s update changes the story from its source material, while adding in some elements of the original along the way.  There’s an evil businessman played by Michael Keaton (BatmanBatman Returns, Toy Story 3), who wants to use Dumbo for his own nefarious purposes.  There are two kids trying to reunite Dumbo with his mom and a group of sideshow acts with hearts of gold willing to help.

As an added bonus, the upcoming home release of Dumbo will feature a variety of extras, such as a behind-the-scenes featurette that examines the movie’s costumes and production, easter eggs from the movie and cast discussions about the movie.the full list of extras is noted below.

Bonus features include*:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast share their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumbo in this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:

  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film.  Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.

More information on this release is available online at:

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/dumbo-2019

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Dumbo

 

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Disney’s ‘Nutcracker’ Adaptation Fails To Live Up To The Legacy Of Its Source Material

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

More than two centuries ago, famed composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky first premiered his now beloved musical work, “The Nutcracker.” In the almost 220 years since it first premiered, it has been adapted into the famed ballet “The Nutcracker Suite” and countless other adaptations on the big and small screen.  Some have been okay while others, not quite so.  Walt Disney Studios’ latest adaptation — The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ­— premiered in theaters nationwide late last year and will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday.  The roughly 90-minute update, which also incorporates elements of author E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King is one of the more forgettable takes on the timeless tale of The Nutcracker, even in its home release.  The one real positive to this movie is the pacing in its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the movie’s pacing makes it at least bearable, the positives end there.  The movie’s story and its look collectively do a lot to detract from the movie’s presentation.  They will be discussed a little bit later.  The bonus content included in the movie’s upcoming home release can be considered a positive, but it is also a negative to a certain point in itself.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.  All things considered, they make this presentation worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more than that.

Walt Disney Studios’ adaptation of author E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King and composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s beloved composition that is The Nutcracker is one of the least memorable takes on the noted works.  It is worth at least one watch, but sadly not much more than that.  One of the movie’s saving graces is its pacing.  Not counting end credits, the movie clocks in at approximately 90 minutes, and from start to finish, that run time moves along at a relatively stable speed.  Audiences are never left behind nor are they ever left feeling at any point like the movie is dragging.  That is a boon for the movie’s presentation, as it does a lot to ensure viewers’ maintained engagement from start to finish.  The movie’s creative heads should be thankful for that insurance, considering that audiences will, sadly, be able to get out of the movie faster than slower, especially considering how little the story has to offer them.

Speaking of the movie’s story, this is where The Nutcracker and the Four Realms ultimately fails.  This adaptation of Hoffman’s classic tale is a pale shadow of Hoffman’s work, and is formulaic to say the absolute least.  It attempts to make up for that approach by incorporating classic Disney elements – throwbacks to Fantasia and the equally disappointing Babes in Toyland are thrown in – in an effort to play to older audiences’ nostalgic tendencies.  Adding to the problems, it doesn’t take long for audiences to realize who is the realms’ real villain.  One key scene reveals the truth very quickly and blatantly.  As if all of this is not enough, the schmaltzy message of finding one’s strength within one’s own self and the whole coming-of-age theme at the very heart of it all, creates a story that is anything but original or even memorable for that matter.

While the story exhibits plenty of problems, it would be unfair to ignore the positives that it exhibits alongside those problematic elements.  The presentation of a young female lead who is quite smart, and is driven towards S.T.E.M.-related items is something which audiences (specifically female audiences) will appreciate considering the country’s current gender climate.  Having a strong African-American male as the co-lead opposite the intelligent, driven white female will do just as much to make the story appealing to audiences.  The use of these elements goes a long way toward making the movie bearable along with its pacing, even considering all of the other problems presented by the story.  This is just one more way in which the movie makes itself worth at least one watch.  The work of the movie’s costume department – at least in regards to star Keira Knightley – is another positive worth noting.

Knightley is nearly unrecognizable, thanks to the work of the movie’s costume and makeup department.  Comparing her look as the Sugar Plum Fairy here to her turn as Elizabeth in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, one would not even realize it was her playing the fairy if one did not know it was her playing the role.  That is a credit, again, to the noted departments’ work.

While the work of the noted departments on Knightley’s look in this movie is to be highly commended, the rest of the movie’s look is another problem.  Those who are familiar with Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, its Alice in Wonderland adaptations and its take on Oz The Great and Powerful will find quite a striking similarity in the look of this movie to those works.  As a matter of fact, the costumes – which are part of the look – could just as easily be likened to those of Disney’s take on A Wrinkle in Time.  On a side note, that movie was quite a disappointment, too, for many reasons.  This is important to note because that close similarity creates a feel that little effort was taken to try to give Clara her own world.  Clara’s dress and hairstyle strengthen that argument even more.  A close look reveals  Clara’s blu-ish dress to look quite similar to that worn in Disney’s recent update on Cinderella and even the look of Alice’s dress in Disney’s take of Alice in Wonderland.  The blatant near mirror-image of this look to so many of Disney’s other movies – save for Knightley’s look – does little to nothing to enhance the movie’s presentation.

Staying on the item of the movie’s look, the bonus featurette “Unwrapping The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” will generate at least a little bit of appreciation for the time and effort put into the live action/CG world that is that of the Four Realms.  The thing is, considering all of that time and effort, the only real standout element other than that of Knightley’s look is the set used for famed ballerina Misty Copeland’s presentation.  This featurette will at least create appreciation for the work put into that element.  Other than that, it does little else to the positive.

Adding to the problems for the movie’s bonus content is that it is featured only on the Blu-ray disc of the DVD/BD/Digital combo pack.  One cannot help but wonder why exactly Disney would go this route if the movie is presented the same way on all three platforms.  Why not just feature the same bonus material on all three platforms instead of just the one?  This leaves one scratching one’s head.

When one takes into consideration the positives presented by The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and its negatives, the end result proves to be a presentation that leaves audiences wanting so much more, and not in a good way, either.  The story is anything but original or memorable.  The movie’s look lifts liberally from that of so many previous Disney live action/CG hybrid flicks, presenting the image of a severe lack in original and effort in creating the movie’s world.  The largely lacking bonus content, which for whatever reason is presented only on the combo pack’s Blu-ray detracts from the movie’s home presentation even more.  Ultimately, these negatives, along with its very limited positives, make The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, the movie in whole proves to be a movie that is worth at least one watch, but likely will not prove to be among the pantheon of the most memorable Christmas movies.  The Nutcracker and the Four Realms will be available in stores Tuesday.  More information on this and other titles from Walt Disney Studios is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thenutcracker

 

 

 

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Disney Announces Release Date, Specs for ‘The Nutcracker And The Four Realms’ Home Release

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Disney’s updated take on the classic ballet The Nutcracker is coming home.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is scheduled for release Jan. 29 on digital, Movies Anywhere, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray and DVD.  Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffman’s classic story and the timeless ballet, this re-imagining of the Nutcracker follows 14-year-old Clara (Mackenzie Foy — InterstellarThe ConjuringThe Twilight SagaBreaking Dawn) into a magical land, that features performances from famed ballerina Misty Copeland, lots of soldiers, mice and snowflakes.

Clara follows a golden thread at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman — The Shawshank RedemptionSevenDriving Miss Daisy) to a magical, one-of-a-kind key that opens a magical musical box.  When the music box is open, Clara is swept into a parallel universe, wherein she meets a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight — Ready Player OneMickey and the Roadster RacersMowgli), a group of mice and a trio of “Realm Regents.”

Clara also meets the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley — Pirates of the CaribbeanCurse of the Black PearlPirates  of the CaribbeanDead Man’s ChestPirates of the CaribbeanAt World’s End) before finally meeting the evil tyrant, Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren — RedHitchcockThe Queen), and battling her to recover the magical key and return harmony to the magical world.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms‘ home release features a handful of bonus items, such as a discussion with Misty Copeland, a look behind the scenes of the movie and deleted scenes.  The movie’s complete list of bonus features is noted below.

Bonus features include*:

BLU-RAY:

  • On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland – Copeland shares the thrill of portraying one of her favorite characters in a whole new way.
  • Unwrapping “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” – Dive into the production design, sets, costumes and more that helped transform a beloved ballet into an adventurous movie.
  • Deleted Scenes –
    • The Stahlbaums Arrive– As the Stahlbaums enter the Christmas Eve ball, the butler attempts to announce them to the assembled guests.
    • Follow Your Ribbon- Drosselmeyer encourages a reluctant Clara to go find her gift.
    • Deleted Scene: Clara Asks About Her Mother– Sugar Plum gives Clara a tour of her mother’s bedroom.
    • Left, Left, Left, Left, Left– Wandering lost in the forest, palace guards Cavalier and Harlequin quarrel about which way to go.
    • Out with the Old– Sugar Plum makes sweeping changes to the palace decor.
  • Music Videos –
    • Fall on Me” Performed by Andrea Bocelli Featuring Matteo Bocelli– Experience superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and his son Matteo Bocelli performing their first duet together in this uplifting song.
    • “The Nutcracker Suite” Performed by Lang Lang– Get swept up in a series of images from the movie, set to Tchaikovsky’s music and featuring world-renowned pianist Lang Lang.
ON DIGITAL:
  • Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”– View a reel that explores the layers of effects in sequences of the film.

More information on The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is available online now at:

 

Website: http://movies.disney.com/the-nutcracker-and-the-four-realms

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DisneysNutcracker

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thenutcracker

 

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‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Saved By Its Aesthetic Elements

Courtesy: Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios score a major hit almost 55 years ago when it premiered its musical, Mary Poppins.  Based on the novel by author P.L. Travers, and starring actress Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music, Victor Victoria, The Princess Diaries), the movie went on to be one of the studio’s most respected productions.  Now 54 years after its debut,  Disney has revisited Travers’ beloved nanny with a big-screen adaptation of another in that series of books, Mary Poppins Returns.  The movie is an entertaining watch, but is not the runaway success that the studio would have people believe it to be. One of the positives that keeps the movie afloat is its musical numbers.  This will be discussed shortly.  For all that the musical numbers do for the movie, its script does just as much to detract from its presentation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The sets and animation work with the musical numbers to make up a little more for the script problems.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Mary Poppins Returns.  All things considered, they make the movie a work that is worth at least one watch, but few, if any, *ahem* returns.

Walt Disney Studios’ new Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns is a respectable new offering from the studio, but is not the best work that it could have been.  That is not to say that it is a total loss.  It does have some positives, one of which being its collective musical numbers.  The musical numbers throw back to the movie’s predecessor, stylistically speaking.  They are just as bombastic as that movie’s numbers, with the full choruses, choreographed dancing and Broadway style sets.  Given, some of the musical numbers, such as the one in which the men sing about tripping a little light fantastic is one of the numbers that probably could have been cut, in hindsight.  Also, considering the plot hole created in the script (which will be discussed a little later) by Mary’s visit to her cousin, that number likely could have been cut, too.  The two numbers together, could have saved the movie at least five minutes if not more.  They could have been saved as bonus features for the movie’s home release.  That aside, the fact that the songs, their choreography and sets sound and look how they do, they will appeal to fans of Disney’s  days gone by and of Broadway musicals in general.  As a matter of fact, one could even argue that the sense that they collectively create in audiences’ minds makes it easy to see them being translated to a live stage setting.  That appeal is in itself reason for audiences to see this movie at least once.  It is not the movie’s only positive.  The other positive will be addressed shortly.  Before that positive is addressed, one must address the movie’s clear negative, its script.

The movie’s script does just as much to detract from Mary Poppins Returns’ presentation as its positives do to make it worth the watch.  The script is based very loosely on Travers’ 1935 novel Mary Poppins Comes Back.  The initial scene in which Mary makes her first appearance is true to the source material, but so much other material was changed.  For instance, Mary declares in the movie that she will leave “when the door opens.”  That is different from the novel, in which she states that she will leave when ‘the little chain to her locket breaks.”  Adding to the issues with the script is that for all intents and purposes, this movie’s script is a rehashing of the first movie.  Once again, the banks family is in turmoil as it deal with the city’s bank.  This time around, it’s Michael, all grown up, dealing with the evil bank head, and trying to save the family home from said villain. This is not the first time that a sequel has basically gone back to its predecessor for a story, either (E.g. Tron and Tron Legacy – another Disney pairing – and Blues Brothers and Blues Brothers 2000).  What’s more, it certainly is not the first time that a movie’s script has centered around an innocent land owner facing off against an evil banker/landlord figure to keep his or her land.  That is a plot element that goes back to the golden age of cinema, when so many Westerns saw their protagonists having to save their land from said bad guy.  As if all of that is not enough, there is an unmistakable plot hole involving Mary’s cousin Topsy.  While Mary and the Banks children visit Topsy in order to have the vase fixed, that story line is never re-visited (not to give away too much).  Why have that element in there if it is not going to be addressed again?  It’s almost as if it was included just to give justification for the studio bringing in veteran actress Meryl Streep.  When one considers all of this along with the movie’s pacing issues, which can be traced at least in part to the overabundance of musical numbers, it becomes impossible to argue in support of this movie’s story.  Considering this, the movie’s script does a lot to detract from the movie’s overall presentation.  Luckily though, the damage that it does to the presentation is countered again, by another of the movie’s positives, its collective sets and animation.

The collective sets and animation incorporated into Mary Poppins Returns is more proof of the movie’s creative heads trying to establish a certain sense of nostalgia in audiences’ minds.  The animated scenes, which take place when Mary and the Banks children jump into the China vase, look almost identical to those used in Mary Poppins.  This is important to note because in an age when so much animation is clearly CG or flash, the work put into those scenes makes it next to impossible to tell if it was crafted by hand or on computer.  That is a testament to the time and effort put into those scenes.  That in itself is worth its share of applause.

The sets that were crafted for the movie, as previously noted, give the movie a look that makes it easy to see the movie translated to the stage.  Again, kudos is in order for those behind the scenes in this case, too.  From the scene with the lamp lighters singing and dancing, to the exteriors of the Banks’ home to the finale in the park, the sets look just like something that could easily be presented on stage.  Even the set for Topsy’s shop, with its ability to go upside down, is something that certainly some set designer(s) can build.  The positive created from this element and that of the animation combines to make them just as important to the movie’s presentation as its musical numbers.  When these aesthetic elements are considered together, they make clear that while Mary Poppins Returns is hardly the return that many fans will expect, it does prove that there is at least still a place in today’s entertainment industry for musicals.  Simply put, they prove that this movie is worth at least one watch, but few if any, more returns.

A lot of hype was built around Walt Disney Studios’ new Mary Poppins offering Mary Poppins Returns ahead of its theatrical release late last year.  Sadly though, the movie does not entirely live up to that hype.  It is not a complete loss, though.  Its musical numbers – overly abundant as they are – its sets and its animation go a long way toward making the movie worth at least one watch.  That is especially the case among fans of musicals and Disney’s own golden era.  The movie’s script does as much to detract from the movie as its aesthetic elements, though.  Keeping all of this in mind, Mary Poppins Returns is, again, worth at least one watch, but few, if any, more returns.  More information on this and other titles from Walt Disney Studios is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.waltdisneystudios.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WaltDisneyStudios

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DisneyStudios

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.