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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animated > Action > Fantasy > Adventure > Literature > Science Fiction > Animals > Comedy > Musical > Great > Treasure Planet – 10th Anniversary Edition (2002)/Home On The Range (2004)/Newsies – 20th Anniversary Edition (1992/Disney Blu-rays)

Treasure Planet – 10th Anniversary Edition (2002)/Home on the Range (2004)/Newsies – 20TH Anniversary Edition (1992/Disney Blu-rays)


Treasure Planet: 10th Anniversary Edition

Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: B-     Film: B


Treasure Planet, Home on the Range, and Newsies are not considered Disney much revered Diamond Blu-ray releases, but are still of great content and quality.  Treasure Planet was created in a weird “in between” time for Disney.  Treasure Planet was created in 2002 at a time when the very successful partnership with Pixar had not fully formed yet and the Disney Renaissance era had slowly dissipated.


The film was an innovative mash-up of Science Fiction and classic literature as the well known Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island novel was entwined with modern notions of space ships, aliens, and all in between.  It was the 43rd animated feature film for Disney and is notable for being the first film to have both a ‘regular’ and IMAX theatrical release.  The animation styling was also admirable as it mashed together (rather brilliantly) 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D computer animation; delivering a visually pleasing result that displays beautifully even by today’s standards.  What wasn’t pleasing was the box office return on the film as the nearly $150 million venture made about 1/3 of that back in the US market.  In the end, it earned an Oscar nod but did not take home the statue.


The film has talented voice credits attached with the likes of Joseph Gordon Levitt (Batman: Dark Knight Rises), Martin Short, David Hyde Pierce, Emma Thompson, and Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man & The Prisoner; in his final role) each lending their unique abilities.  The story kicks off with a young Jim Hawkins (ominously) reading about a pirate named Captain Flint who raids passing ships only to quickly disappear and hide his loot on a mysterious ‘Treasure Planet.’  Flash forward 12 years and Jim Hawkins (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is caring for an Inn with his mother while getting into trouble ‘solar surfing’ (some new wind surfing-like sport).  The outcast teen is soon thrown into a whirlwind adventure when a ‘spaceman’ named Billy Bones (Patrick McGoohan) crashes (and quickly dies) giving Jim a mysterious ‘space orb’ and warning him to ‘Beware the Cyborg.’  Soon after that rattling event a band of pirates arrive only to burn Jim’s Inn to the ground, putting Jim, his mother, and dog-like friend Dr Delbert Doppler on the run.


After discovering that the mysterious space orb is a holographic projector showcasing a map, Doppler commissions a ship called RLS Legacy to seek out the ‘Treasure Planet’ that the holographic map supposedly leads to.  The ship’s captain is Captain Amelia (Emma Thompson) who along with her first mate Mr. Arrow (Roscoe Lee Brown) will attempt to lead Jim and his friends to the planet.  The crew members of the RLS Legacy are an unscrupulous bunch who are secretly led by cook John Silver (Brian Murray); Jim does not trust Silver, but unwittingly forms a bond with the rogue.  The tale quickly unfolds into one of bonds, betrayal, loss, and mutiny…leaving Treasure Planet up for grabs, but who will be the victor is anyone’s guess.


I had forgotten about this film since its original release (as most have), but I would say it is a hidden gem.  It isn’t lackadaisical like Disney’s Black Cauldron of the 1980s and far from the solid gold quality of The Lion King or Aladdin, but a solid production nevertheless.


The extras on Treasure Planet are all of the standard definition extras as found on the previous DVD release and are as follows (no high def extras included):

·         Release

·         Dimensional Staging

·         Characters

·         Animation

·         Art Design

·         Story

·         Deleted Scenes

·         Disney Animation Magic: Hosted by Roy Disney

·         Audio Commentary

·         Intro by Laurie Metcalf

·         RLS Legacy: Virtual 3D Tour

·         DisneyPedia: Life of a Pirate Revealed



Home on the Range
Picture: B+     Sound: B     Extras: C     Film: B-


Now, Home on the Range falls into that same odd “in between” timeframe as Treasure Planet, but not quite as good of a production.  The animation is still very good, but the musical numbers and storyline are a tad week.  Arriving on the big screen in 2004 Home on the Range would be the last ‘classically animated’ Disney film until the studio resurrected that department in 2009 with The Princess Frog; having focused more on its own and Pixar CGI animation ventures.


The story (set in the Wild West) focuses on a group of dairy cows on the trail of infamous cattle rustler named Alamida Slim to collect the $750 bounty that comes with his capture.  Who better to catch a cattle rustler than a group of cows right?!  So the three cows from Patch of Heaven Farm named Maggie, Mrs. Calloway, and Grace (respectively voiced by Roseanne Barr, Judi Dench, and Jennifer Tilly) set out for the glory and bounty, taking Lucky Jack an aggressive peg-legged rabbit along for the ride.  To their dismay an energetic /rude horse named Buck and his (Bounty Hunter) owner Raco are hot on the trail as well…possibly ending the cows’ chances of getting the $750 that would save their farm.  For a simple case of cow versus cattle rustler Home on the Range takes many twists and turns that are creative for a seemingly straightforward Disney tale, but falls short of the epic, classic Disney adventures fans are accustomed to.


Like Treasure Planet, Home on the Range has no High Definition extras, but has ported over all standard definition extras from the DVD release: Extras are as follows:

·         Audio Commentary

·         Art Review

·         Deleted Scenes

·         Trailblazers: The Making of ‘Home on the Range’

·         Music Video

·         Yodelmentary

·         Joke Corral: Herd of Jokes

·         A Dairy Tale: Three Little Pigs



Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: B     Film: B+


I have an overwhelming sense of nostalgia when it comes to Newsies as it was a film that I must have watched 1,000 times as a child and my sisters were/are even more obsessed with the film than I; perhaps having to do with the fact that a young Christian Bale is the film’s lead.  The 1992 musical drama takes place in 1899 and centers on the newsboy strike of the day.  Christian Bale plays Jack “Cowboy” Kelly who is the main protagonist of the newsboys and the one to initiate the uprising.  Jack is the top newsboy in New York selling a hundred newspapers daily, embellishing headlines to sell more ‘papes’ and keep his belly full.  The story focuses mainly on Jack and his new found friend David (David Moscow) as they form a partnership in the paper selling business.  David is a smart kid who dropped out of school to help support his family after his father lost his job.  David’s little brother Les (Luke Jacobs) tags along for the ride and quickly begins to idolize the charismatic, cool Jack; much to David’s chagrin.


Robert Duvall plays big time baddy Mr. Pulitzer who raises the prices on newspapers; raising the prices for newsboys to buy, not for the public.  Taking money out of the already impoverished newsboys’ pockets is the final straw and they go on strike.  The film is a very cheery, romanticized take on a hard time for Americans as Newsies sings and dances its way to glory it fails to focus on the down and dirty.  There are glimpses here and there of the hardships of 1899, but the unemployed, starving, illness stricken society takes a back burner to Disney-fied song and dance.  In other words if you are looking for a true, fact based account of the day read a book, because you won’t get it here.


Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Newsies for both nostalgic and just pure, ‘good movie’ reasons; but it is certainly not a true, true fact based film.  It is full of catchy, well written songs with fun choreography that stands the test of time.  Both new and old fans alike will enjoy this film.


Extras for Newsies are all ported over from the 2002 DVD release and include the following ‘standard definition’ features:

·         Audio Commentary

·         ‘Newsies: The Inside Story’

·         ‘Newsies: See All About it’

·         ‘The Strike: The True Story’

·         Story Board to Screen Comparison

·         Trailers

·         Sing-A-Long Subtitles


Technical Features

The technical features on all three of these films are all oddly similar, animated or not.  Treasure Planet and Home on the Range are presented in a 1.66 X 1, 1080p image that boasts brilliantly vivid colors and crisp, clean image from beginning to end.  Both films (more so Home on the Range) have bumps along the way with image quality though they are far and few in between, even with the picture looking great they ARE NOT ‘Diamond Edition’ quality.  The image on Newsies is the least impressive of the three and though supposedly a 1080p image it feels soft at times.  Crispness and color quality vary as the film still feels like FILM and hasn’t been wiped clean or sanitized; not to say it doesn’t still need some work, but Disney did a nice job on this 20+ year old film. The sound presentations on all three films are in the same vein as the picture quality in their 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless presentations using the full sound spectrum to bring the films to life.  The audience will feel fully immersed in the action, adventure of each film especially when the surrounds kick in for the musical numbers (the most noticeable being Newsies).


Again Disney delivers three solid films, proving that Disney’s “worst” is better than the most studios “best.”



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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