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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Drama > Teens > Telefilm > Animation > Fantasy > Literature > Children > Comedy > Music > TV > Ghoul (2012/Chiller/Image DVD)/Peter Pan (1953/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West (Nickelodeon DVD)

Ghoul (2012/Chiller/Image DVD)/Peter Pan (1953/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)/Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West (Nickelodeon DVD)


Picture: C/B & C+/C+     Sound: C+/B- & C+/C+     Extras: C-/B/D     Main Programs: C/B/C



Here are some new children’s titles, including a classic expanded…



Aired as a telefilm on the Chiller cable channel, Gregory M. Wilson’s Ghoul (2012) is a mixed, problematic, failed adaptation of the book by Brain Keene about three teens who have to deal with being outsiders but fans of pop culture in the 1980s.  One has an abusive alcoholic father, the other has a weight problem and they all are about to discover people are being killed by an unknown force that turns out to be something terrifying and maybe supernatural.


However, despite some interesting moments and a good cast, the directing is not good, acting not believable enough, script formulaic and predictable, plus I thought it trivialized domestic abuse by the makers simply not being able to handle the basics.  It seems it wants to at least echo Monster Squad or Stand By Me, but in more serious ways that do not work, failing in this respect too.  We will likely see some of these actors again, but I found the 81 minutes too short and forgettable.


The only extras is a behind the scenes featurette.



In a continuing series of HD upgrades, Disney has reissued their 1953 classic Peter Pan in a new Diamond Edition with a DVD and new extras to go with the old ones.  The previous DVD release was a 2-disc set we covered seven years ago at this link:





The DVD here is a repeat of the main film DVD from the first set, but with new trailers, et al.  The Blu-ray is much better, but more on that below.  Looking at the film after several other films and TV programs have taken on the material, this animated feature film remains the gold standard of all the adaptations (helped by the fact Mary Martin never filmed her stage version of Peter Pan and had it theatrically released) and though it may not be an adult version (which would merit a separate essay, but nothing sexual is insinuated by that term) or perfectly faithful adaptation of the book (needing its own essay), it remains the one with the most energy, most natural flow, most magic and most iconic images associated with the legend.  That is why it is nice to revisit it, even if I do not remember most of the music.  It remains one of the most important animated features Walt Disney himself ever made and this is a welcome upgrade, despite some reservations.


Extras repeat the DVD set including a then-never before seen Alternate Opening, Deleted Songs and an excellent ‘Why I Made Peter Pan’ featurette starring Walt himself.  New extras include Tinker Bell: A Fairy’s Tale, new optional introduction by Diane Disney Miller, Growing Up With The Nine Old Men featurette, never before scene Deleted Scenes and Digital Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices.



Finally we have the latest Nickelodeon theme compilation DVD featuring several of their hit shows with episodes connected by a topic.  Rootin’ Tootin’ Wild West is a seven-episode set with Western-themed half-hours from Bubble Guppies, Team Umizoomi, Dora The Explorer, Fresh Beat Band, two from Wonder Pets! and one from Go, Diego, Go!  Not a Western fan and not as big on some of these shows as others, I just felt it was flatter than the usual and might even bore some children.  But there are bound to be fans just the same.  There are no extras.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is softer than usual throughout Ghoul, partly due to some style choices, but not what it could or should be despite some good color.  Shadow detail is also an issue and overall, it does not look as good as the 1.33 X 1 episodes on the Wild West DVD.


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Peter Pan is definitely clean and clear without detail issues, especially versus the older 1.33 X 1 DVD transfer which has aged more than expected.  Despite the money being put into cleaning up and fixing the film, there is one issue I have with the transfer and that is color, not so much it is bad or wrong, but its range is slightly muted throughout most of the presentation and that bothered me.  I would rate it lower if it were any weaker or duller.


The original film was produced in dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor and on the best stills and clips, plus any such film prints you can get your hands on (complete copies are very expensive and valuable), you can see the full range of color intended.  The range here on the Blu-ray does not play through the color scale Technicolor has except in the climax where the color looks like it has suddenly turned on.  Not that it looks so off or bad the rest of the way, but it looks more held back than it should be and just seeing the climax and comparing it to the rest of the disc will show my point.  Hope this is not why teasers, trailers and a poster gallery were not added to this new set.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Ghoul is really more like simple stereo being spread around and it is no better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the various Wild West DVD episodes.


The clear sonic champ is the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Peter Pan upgraded from the original theatrical mono as well as the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 from the DVD.  It is as warm and clear as the music and sound elements will ever be and reveals sonics that no previous DVD, LaserDisc or soundtrack of the film in any format could, so that should satisfy fans, even if the image might underwhelm a bit.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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