October 30, 2013

A Classic and a Clunker hit Netflix

The much-loved compilation film, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, has arrived on Netflix for digital streaming. Fans will be pleased to find it's the good version, not the awful cable TV edition from years back that substituted Tigger Too with the cheaply-made Day for Eeyore.

This happy arrival completely makes up for the other new addition: Hunchback of Notre Dame II, one of the awful video sequels that boggles the mind and shames the studio name with its very existence. The best thing I can say about HoND2 is that its production gave employment to animators. Hooray for that, at least.

October 22, 2013

Huge Disney Music Collection on the Horizon

Disney Classics new soundtrack music album four disc theme park
Disney Classics, a four-disc overview of the company's vast, eclectic musical landscape arrives on iTunes and CD November 12th.

Each disc features a different theme:

Disney Timeless Classics
Disney Modern Classics
Disney Television Classics
Disney Theme Park Classics

The set boasts an interesting lineup of tracks, ranging from "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" to the theme from "Wizards of Waverly Place". Some picks are obvious standards while some are surprisingly (in a good way) out of left field. In many ways, this set seems to be the spiritual successor to the Randy Thornton-produced collection, The Music of Disney: A Legacy In Song from 1992, as it aims at covering the entire spectrum of Disney's music catalog while picking no more than one song from any particular film or show...with a couple of exceptions this time around.

For die-hard Disney fans, quite a few tracks will evoke smiles. Whether never-before-released or haven't-been-available-in-ages, here are a few of the tracks for the Disneymaniacs:

The Triple R Song
Darkwing Duck Theme
Minnie's Yoo Hoo (The Mouse Factory version)
Aloha, E Komo Mai (the only good thing about the Lilo and Stitch TV series)

For readers of this site, here's what you're really interested in: The theme park tracks on Disc 4

The Tiki Tiki Tiki Room
Yo Ho
Splash Mountain Medley (Disneyland version)
Bear Band Serenade
Grim Grinning Ghosts
It's a Small World
There's a Great, Big Beautiful Tomorrow (Rex Allen)
The Great Outdoors
Space Mountain (Dick Dale)
It's Tough To Be a Bug
California Screamin'
The Best Time of Your Life
Space Mountain (Michael Giacchino)
Universe of Energy
Kitchen Kabaret Medley
One Little Spark (the original)
Golden Dream
Finale (Fantasmic exit music)

I'm mainly pleased to see Dick Dale's 1996 surfer-guitar "Space Mountain" score and "The Best Time of Your Life" landing on iTunes for the first time.

Check out this link for the complete track list. Overall, it looks like a solid collection. There are too many current-era Disney Channel tunes for my tastes, but many younger fans will feel as nostalgic for those tracks as I am for "Scarecrow" and The Mouse Factory. It truly does seem to be a set aimed at the entire fan base.

There's one fly in the ointment: In preview mode, the set is listed as being an album-only collection, meaning single track purchases (except for a single new pop medley) are not offered. I certainly hope that changes by November 12th, as--like many fans--I've already bought 95% of these.

October 15, 2013

Towering Tinkertoys

As we've mentioned before, the Pixar Play Parade at DCA is one of the most charming day parades Disney's ever produced. Today we've got a look at the Tinkertoys man, strutting happily with the assistance of two very courageous cast members stuck in the goofiest costumes on Earth.
Talk about team players; Give these guys a raise!

Like many elements in this parade, this scene makes the crowd smile with its clever, unpretentious way of focusing on the pure fun of childhood toys. It's one of DCA's most pleasant surprises--Just watch out for the water spray from his fingers!

Photos by Lana Whitham

October 5, 2013

More Tricks Than Treats as Netflix Adds Four Video Sequels

Netflix Disney Video sequels Kronk Groove Stitch Leroy Bad
As October rolls in, let's all remember Netflix currently hosts a terrific collection of Disney films. It's also helpful to recall they recently added the excellent Lilo and Stitch and The Emperor's New Groove to the lineup...because they've just ushered in a big pile of mediocre video sequels. These pale follow-ups serve as a reminder of the bad old days when Disney was shoving Stitch in the public's face over and over again and running a once-fresh concept like New Groove into the ground.

No, you weren't dreaming, Disney really did release a sequel called Leroy and Stitch.

It's a crummy pill to swallow, especially considering Netflix recently dropped The Muppet Movie from its streaming lineup. Despite that loss and this influx of ickiness, the majority of the Netflix Disney library remains very impressive.

If you're in the mood for a good laugh, I highly recommend streaming the original Lilo and Stitch and The Emperor's New Groove. Let the low-budget video sequels gather virtual dust.