Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Hercules, Tarzan, Bedknobs and Broomsticks - Mania.com



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Blu-ray Shopping Bag: Hercules, Tarzan, Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Plus Ichabod and Mr. Toad

By Robert T. Trate     August 12, 2014
Source: Mania.com


THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD now on Blu-ray
© Walt Disney

When Walt Disney opens the vault, film aficionados, collectors, and parents usually take note. Now mix that with releasing titles on Blu-ray for the first time and Mania cannot just look away. Today Disney is releasing, for the first time on Blu-ray: TARZANHERCULES, BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS, the 10th anniversary of MICKEY, DONALD, GOOFY: THE THREE MUSKETEERS and THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD. For this critic and fan of what the mouse brings to the theatre, it was a chance to revisit a few films and see others for the first time. There is a lot of ground to cover here so let’s get started.

 
First up, let’s jump into the best of the lot. Not only do you get two timeless classics which have been released before on DVD, but you get them for one price. Disney has combined THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD and FUN AND FANCY FREE on one Blu-ray. Yet the true kicker to this collection is that The Reluctant Dragon, the complete film, as a bonus feature. 

A perennial favorite in my home is the THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949). This was required viewing every Halloween. Not only are these some of Disney’s best animated tales, but each story is narrated by a film legend. Bing Crosby handles both the story and the singing for our tale about Ichabod, whereas Sherlock Holmes himself, Basil Rathbone, narrates Mr. Toad’s story from “The Wind and the Willows”. Disney might have bigger films and releases out there, but Ichabod and Toad are Halloween musts!

It had been years since I had seen FUN AND FANCY FREE (1947) in its entirety. Growing up with the Disney Channel in its early days, features like this were often cut up. Bits and pieces were screened on various programs. Jiminy Cricket is our host and regales us with tales of Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk. Mickey and the Beanstalk is then told to us by Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. Hands down, a great collection of Disney masterworks on one Blu-ray. 

I mentioned getting The Reluctant Dragon here as well. It is only on the Blu-ray release and was Walt Disney’s way of telling people how a cartoon gets made. This 1941 film (it is 74 minutes long) features Robert Benchley as a man who takes a story idea to the Disney Studios. There, he learns all the secrets as to what goes into the making of a cartoon. You have probably seen the The Reluctant Dragon. If you have never seen the full version, you’ll be presently surprised. 

The next one, I am sad to say, I never saw before. BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS (1971) is a strange combination for Disney these days. Back then, it was just the proper way to tell Mary Norton’s story. The tale of BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS involves war orphans from London who get placed with a witch (Angela Lansbury) in rural England. They have to hunt down a chestier, Emelius (David Tomlinson), so they can retrieve the last spell needed for Lansbury’s witch to complete her witchcraft studies. There is a cat named Cosmic Creepers, an animated soccer match, and it culminates with with our cast of characters battling Nazis. I thought I would need a child’s eyes to enjoy the film, not the case. It was great fun and refreshing to see no punches pulled. The Blu-ray doesn’t reveal too many camera tricks either. Perhaps that is because one gives themselves so easily to this whimsical film.
Outside of these classics mentioned above and all their goodies, Disney released three modern day films on Blu-ray as well. It might not be fair to call these last three titles modern as the youngest is 10 years old.

1999’s TARZAN is a strange enigma when it comes to Disney movies. The film is beautifully animated. The songs by Phil Collins are more memorable than ones in Frozen (sorry to anyone under 10, but it is true). The film did a spawn an animated series, but yet it remains one of the less memorable Disney animated films. It is fair to say that the story itself is just predictable. We know the story of Tarzan and his origins. It is what happens next that needs to be enticing. The second that Clayton (Brian Blessed) appears on screen, you know he is the bad guy and a big fight will ensue between him and Tarzan. We also know that Tarzan will have to prove himself to his stepfather, Kerchak (Lance Henriksen). We also know that Tarzan will fail the first time. Wrap this paint-by-numbers story in catchy songs and it becomes one big long music video.
 
 

HERCULES (1997) was Disney’s lighter film after the not so happy Pocahontas (1995) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). So this take on greek mythology is a weird mixture of show tunes, Disney references, and James Woods hamming it up. In all honesty, Wood’s portrayal of Hades ranks up with there with Robin Williams’ Genie from Aladdin (1992). It was a role he was born to play. This makes it one of the rare instances when the villain is more interesting than the hero. Whoever thought that Tate Donavan would make great leading man had never seen him in any of his movies. It was clearly a mistake, much like giving the Muses so much screen time. It will be fun for the kids to watch. HERCULES does have some great battles and monsters. In the end, however, they will pick another film every time this one is offered. 

The baby in this big release is MICKEY, DONALD, GOOFY: THE THREE MUSKETEERS (2004). Placing these classic characters in Alexandre Dumas’ universe gives you better understanding then them playing Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. In fact, the Disney Trio is saved by those Musketeers at the beginning and it starts their lives on Musketeer career path. Sadly, they only become janitors at Musketeer headquarters, but hope one day to go further. The film, which is only 86 minutes long, has a lot of filler. There is character that inadvertently becomes the narrator. Micky, Donald, and Goofy do in fact save the day, but Peg Leg Pete has a plan B prolonging the story. This is one for the little tykes. It is packed with classic Disney blundering scenarios and a few ridiculous sword fights. If the little ones are under 6 they will love it. 

This is great mix of classics, “modern” Disney films, and something for every Disney fan at home. All the Blu-ray Combo Packs come with DVD, Digital HD Copy and those ever so important Disney Reward points for Disney’s mobile app. Check out all the details and special features HERE on Mania.com.
 
 
Top 5 Picks of the Week:
1. Young Justice: The Complete First Season
2. Batman: Assault on Arkham
3. Bedknobs & Broomsticks 1971
4. Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad / Fun & Fancy Free
5. Island Of Dr Moreau


ACTION / ADVENTURE / KUNG FU/ THRILLERS / WESTERNS

Avengers

Breakheart Pass 1975
 
Decline of an Empire
 
Filth 2013
 
Girl in Gold Boots

Rage
 
Locke
 
Tekken: Kazuya's Revenge
 
The Unforgiven 1960
 
The Wild Geese 1989
 
ANIME
 
Beyblade: The Classic First Season 1, Volume 1

Fantasista Doll: Complete Collection
 
From the New World: Collection 2

Shuriken School: The Complete Series
 
CARTOONS
 
Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad / Fun & Fancy Free
 
Batman: Assault on Arkham
 
Dragon Hill: A Dragon Adventure

Hercules 1997
 
Looney Tunes: The Platinum Collection 3
 
Tarzan 1999
 
Young Justice: The Complete First Season
 
CLASSICS

Out Of The Past

Viva Las Vegas 50th Anniversary

CRITERION COLLECTION
 
Love Streams 1984
 
HORROR
 
A Haunted House 2
 
Bloodsucking Freaks 1976
 
Blood Orgy of the She Devils
 
Bunnyman Massacre
 
THE BUTTERFLY ROOM
 
Crawl Or Die
 
Cry Wilderness / In Search of Bigfoot
 
Dark Space 2013
 
Eko Eko Azarak: The First Episode of Misa Kuroi

Empty
 
Hell's Caretaker
 
Island Of Dr Moreau

The Midnight Game
 
Mondo Magic
 
Motel Hell 1980

Other Side
 
Proxy 2013
 
Santa Sangre
 
Seed of Darkness
 
The Toxic Avenger 1984

Worm 2013
 
SCIENCE FICTION / FANTASY

Agency of Vengeance: Dark Rising

Bedknobs & Broomsticks 1971
 
Master Of The World
 
Power Rangers Megaforce a Battle to the Finish

Turtle Power: Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

TV LAND

The Blacklist: Season 1

Bitten: Complete First Season

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 10
1 
redhairs99 8/12/2014 11:17:32 AM

 Bedknobs and Broomsticks is one of my all time favs.  I even place it higher than Mary Poppins, which I rewatched recently and couldn't quite recapture the film I remembered from my youth.   The question I have with Bedknobs and Broomsticks is, are the features ported over from the dvd?

RobertTrate 8/12/2014 2:03:14 PM

 Shelton, check the link to the post with the special features. There you can make the comparison. It doesn't say anything ont he box about new special features. 

hanso 8/12/2014 2:30:54 PM

I know you were going for all the animated stuff Disney released today, but they also released Disneynature: Bears.

I picked up all the Disney releases today, looking forward to giving them a look at some point.  I also got the Batman: Assault on Arkham steelbook.  

Today was an expensive day.

hanso 8/12/2014 2:32:01 PM

 Btw, I'm really bummed that Amazon didn't ship me Young Justice.  WTF, they don't have an estimated release day for it yet, and I didn't see it at Target this morning.  I don't think any store is carrying it, has to be online to get it.

karas1 8/12/2014 3:27:25 PM

I always loved Bedknobs and Broomsticks.  The animated parts are lots of fun but I think the best part of the movie for me was the part at the flea market.  The song Portabello Road is exceptional and the dance number is sprightly and fun.

redhairs99 8/13/2014 8:17:05 AM

 Same here, Kara.  That part and the song was amazing.  I always felt this was more of a classic than Mary Poppins yet it barely ever gets mentioned.

redhairs99 8/13/2014 8:18:41 AM

 Oh and I picked up Batman Assault on Arkham but not the steelbook.  I got he Best Buy one with the figurine.  I'm gotten most of those.  I missed the one that came with Justice League War because I waited until like Friday that week to go and pick it up and it was already sold out at every location.

karas1 8/13/2014 12:04:19 PM

I know Redhairs.  I don't know if it's better than Mary Poppins but it's easily just as good.

And Angela Lansbury was one hot chick back in the day!

hanso 8/13/2014 12:21:17 PM

Redhairs, I never got the Best Buy exclusives because the box with the figurine takes up too much space imo. 

This year I started picking up the Target exclusive steelbooks, they've done four (The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League War, Son of Batman, and Batman Assualt on Arkham) so far but I started wit the Son of Batman steelbook.  Hopefully Target keeps doing it with the future DC animated titles.

redhairs99 8/13/2014 12:37:13 PM

 I just toss the over-sized box and put the figurines on the shelf.  I know it goes against all the geek-boy collector's mantras, but I don't care about the extra box.  The bluray inside still has the regular slipcover.

1 

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