The Big Freeze
(2015/Anchor Bay DVD)/Cinderella
(2015 live action version/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)/Elmo
Can Do It! (2015/Warner
DVD)/He's A Bully, Charlie
DVD)/Jack & The
Barbera/Warner Archive DVD)
C+/B & C/C+/C+/C Sound: C+/B & C+/C+/C+/C+ Extras:
C-/C/C+/C-/D Main Programs: C+/C/C+/C+/C
& The Beanstalk
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
for the latest children's titles...
The Big Freeze (2015) is
yet another solid, if a bit short collection of the talking train
adventure series with the title character and his friends. We get
six more sows running about an hour and they are just fine. The show
has yet to run out of energy and that is why its popularity
continues. Not bad.
character montages and a badge quest episode are the only extras.
Branagh's lave action Cinderella
(2015) for Disney was a hot, but there is something flat, calculated
and boring about it despite the money on the screen, singing, Cate
Blanchett as a not-as-bad-as-usual wicked stepmother and unknowns
keeping things going. Lily James is good in the title role, but
given little new to do, but we get supporting turns by Stellan
Skarsgard, Helena Bonham Carter, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell and of
course, Derek Jacobi. Fans and the curios might find more, but I was
a bit disappointed expecting at least a little more.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes
capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds the Frozen
animated theatrical short and 4 Behind The Scenes featurettes.
Can Do It! (2015) has a
main program that once again compiles some great skits and moments
from Sesame Street that holds together a bit better than some other
entries in the long-running parade of Elmo DVDs. With a few more
star appearances than expected, I thought it was decent and might
have more re-playability than usual.
small Elmo's World:
Helping segment and
hour-long Bye Bye Pacifier
program are the extras.
A Bully, Charlie Brown
(2006) sounds like it might be a new program dealing with that key
social issue, but it is a 9-year-old special revisiting the Peanuts
Gang going to summer camp and deal with nature turning on them, but
especially here, bullies. The bully here (voiced by Taylor Lautner)
is cheating young, innocent children out of their prized marbles,
until Charlie Brown finds out Lucy's young brother Rerun is one of
the victims. With the help of a 'cool' friend, he's going to get
a half-hour and not bad, it is a bit sillier and brisker than most of
the specials, but its just fine for what it is and worth a look.
Was A Short Summer, Charlie Brown
and episode of The Charlie
Brown & Snoopy Show
(with three segments) are the extras.
& The Beanstalk
(1967) was one of Hanna Barbera's rare attempts to combine live
action with animation (to save money) in this hour-long musical
version that features no less than Gene Kelly in an event special
than has not aged well or is very memorable. Thanks to Kelly and the
attempted special effects, it is a curio getting a web-only DVD
release from Warner Archive. Ted Cassidy voices the giant, animator
Alex Toth did the costumes and the team of James Van Heusen &
Sammy Cahn even wrote the sings, but it does not gel, even in a cult
way. Now you can see for yourself.
are no extras.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Cinderella
was surprisingly shot all on 35mm film, one of the reasons for its
success. Though there's plenty of digital visual effects this helps
the film from looking like a bad videogame or dated digital mess,
though the DVD version (anamorphically enhanced) is much softer than
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Freeze
(centering a 1.33 X 1 frame in the middle), plus the 1.33 X 1 image
on the Bully
disc tie for second place, even if Bully
might be a little detail and color-challenged. Because of the dated
optical printing, the 1.33 X 1 image on the Beanstalk
DVD tis with the Cinderella
DVD as poorest playback performer and its color could be a bit better
despite the print being in decent shape.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1
lossless mix on Cinderella
is well mixed and presented, a mixdown from the Dolby Atmos 11.1
The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVD version cannot match it, but
the mix is sometimes more laidback than expected, yet it is the best
on this list. The same 5.1 can be found on the Bully
DVD, but it is just trying to repurpose the original TV stereo sound
at best. We
get lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Beanstalk
and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on the rest of the DVDs and they
all land up tying for second place behind the Blu-ray. Sonics are
good, if not great overall.
order the Jack
& The Beanstalk
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: