Since I was a small child Disney has been a key part of my life by helping me escape to those far off fantasy places and whimsical lands were song and dance were as common as speaking. Of course I was ecstatic when I heard there would be an Anniversary release of 101 Dalmatians. No longer would I have to rely on my old worn out VHS copy.
Still I had my reserves. Disney, as of late, is notorious for added scenes to classic movies (Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, Pocahontas) and those these additional scenes are done well they tend to feel odd because they are not what you are used to. Not only that but Disney rarely puts Special Features on their DVDs that are worthwhile save maybe 'The Making of Featurette', given this isn't a total rehash of a special that aired years earlier on ABC of course.
Now on with the actual review...
The animation cell restoration is excellent. I imagine I was viewing it as the first audience did back in 1961. The sound fair, though to be honest I could tell very little difference between the VHS and the DVD copy. For some reason our spotty friends weren't offered to be viewed in wide screen which irked me, a huge wide screen fan. I can only assume maybe the animation cells would allow this or Disney was just to lazy to provide both wide screen and full screen. This was only a mild irritation of which I got over the moment the charming opening credits began.
My biggest concern was that the original masterpiece would have been tampered with, and while there was a deleted song, it were located properly in the Deleted Scenes section. The scene which looked to have been nearly included in the film (the scene itself seemed fairly far in development) "March of the One Hundred and One." There was two abandoned song included in the second disc as well as an extended "Dalmation Plantation" and demo/alternative versions of Cruella De Vil.
A plethora of Bonus Features littered this DVD and of course I had to check each one out.
For any of you who have ever played Nitendogs, this is basically the same just with The Dalmatian pups. For those of you not familiar with the DS Game this reminds me greatly of a bonus feature that was released on the Special Edition Lady and the Tramp not too long ago. Much like the two games it resembles, it is fun, cute but eventually gets boring, at least for an adult like myself. I'm sure the little ones could squeeze hours and hours out of entertainment from this simple concept; Adopt a dalmatian puppy and care for it.
101 Pop-Up Trivia Facts For The Family and Collector:
For all the older people out there, remember VH1 Pop Up Video? Where music videos were shown while random bubble pop ups about the song and artist would appear on the screen. This is essentially what this bonus feature is. It's pretty interesting, though I felt torn between the trivia and the actual movie, I like this bonus feature.
Cruella De Vil: Drawn To Be Bad:
Really...who doesn't like Cruella? Sure she wanted to make a fur coat out of adorable puppies but the Disney villainous is just so flamboyant, charismatic character is just impossible to hate. This featurette explains how the iconic two toned she devil came to be. Well worth a watch, one of the better bonus features.
Not much to say on this one, it's essentially the same thing you can find on Quizilla or Quizfarm, 'What dog breed are you?' still the Disney flare is something new and the quiz is quickly completed so no time is really wasted if you decided to give it a try.
The Making Of 101 Dalmatians:
Of course there is the obligatory Making of Featurette! What type of DVD would it be without out it? Always a personal favorite of mine this one doesn't disappoint. Not only will you learn about the magic behind the scenes but you will also learn about Xerox, the new (at the time) technology that was first used on this film!
Cruella De Vil Music Video:
Preformed by some young girl by the name of Selena Gomez, though I've heard of her before I'm not too familiar. Regardless I checked out the Music Video and I can say I much prefer the one preformed in the film though I suppose this video was, after all, for the younger crowd.
Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney: Experience Walt Disney and Dodie Smith's :
Letters sent between Walt and Dodie Smith, the author of the original novel. I only watched a bit of this, so my full review would be useless. From what was watched, it seems promising. I'll have to watch the full thing very soon.
Now for my over all thoughts on this DVD. Like most Classic Disney films, the movie is sure to please both adults and children. This DVD will surely garner a new generation of fans for it's hard not to love those dotted pooches. The downfall, as always, is the extra features. Though I enjoyed a few I felt most were a rehash and/or thrown together at the last minute. Not to mention the good bonus features are awfully short cut.
Really this is my only complaint which isn't bas considering this movie is forty seven years old and still somehow manages to hold on to his uncanny ability to charm.