November 30, 2013

Frozen Review: A Home Run for Disney Animation

Full of surprises, intense emotions, dazzling art and terrific music, Frozen is Disney's best non-Pixar animated film in ages. The studio publicists have been advertising it as their best movie since The Lion King, and I agree; Disney hasn't produced such a powerful, crowd-pleasing and memorable film since that 1994 hit.

November 15, 2013

Netflix Invaded by Pirates of the Caribbean

Disney Netflix Pirates Caribbean Black Pearl instant streaming
Rejoice, all ye fans of swashbuckling, dark comedy and undead scallawags. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (the one truly great Pirates of the Caribbean movie) has landed on the shores of Netflix for instant streaming.

If I'm not mistaken, this actually marks a return of the film to Netflix, following a lengthy absence that began when the Netflix/Stars agreement ended. This new appearance falls under the terms of the more recent Netflix/Disney arrangement.

One way or the other, it's great to see this film available once again. Even if you feel a bit burned out by all the sequels, over-exposure and classic ride makeovers, Black Pearl remains a fresh, imaginative and (thanks to outstanding performances by all four leads) tremendously likable film.

November 12, 2013

New Disney Collection Arrives With Great Park Tracks

Disney Classics Music Collection iTunes New Park Soundtrack
That enormous 4-album Disney Music set we previewed earlier is now available for purchase and download on iTunes. The best news for park fans is the happy confirmation that all but one of Disneyland/Walt Disney World Tracks on disc 4 are available for individual purchase (Disneyland's Splash Mountain is the only album-only park track). Collectors can now pick out any tracks they need without having to pay $39.99 for a massive set of tunes they probably already own.

I'm very happy to finally have a great recording of "The Best Time of Your Life." Happy music browsing!

November 5, 2013

Netflix Delivers a Holiday Mouse-Fest

Netflix Disney Three Musketeers Christmas House Mouse
I wasn't planning on another Netflix post so soon, but the service has just added a quartet of Mouse Flix, all direct-to-video productions, to their instant streaming service.

The highlight of the bunch is the wonderful, hilarious and very under-appreciated  Three Musketeers, which places the Disney Fab Five in a fast-paced, fan-pleasing feature-length send-up of the classic tale. In-jokes, great animation and unique character moments abound, plus Pete gets his peg leg back! If you haven't caught this beauty, you're in for a treat. This could have (and should have) been a theatrical release.

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas is a trio of well-done tales. In the first, Huey, Dewey and Louie wish every day was Christmas and soon realize not all wishes should be granted. The second finds Goofy trying to give young Max a perfect Christmas in spite of a belief crisis. In the finale, Mickey and Minnie play out their own version of Gift of the Magi. Watch for Mortimer Mouse and an animated version of Firehouse Five Plus Two!

I'd love to see the entire run of the wonderful House of Mouse series show up on Netflix someday. In the meantime, the two compilation specials, Snowed In at the House of Mouse and Mickey's House of Villains will do. Both combine new animation with classic clips to create entertaining hour-long Disney mash-ups.

Gather the family, cook up some Mickey pasta and settle back for a good time. What a great way to start the Holiday video season!