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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animated > Children > Fantasy > Fairytale > Comedy > Animals > CGI > Superhero > TV > Cinderella: Signature Edition (1951/Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Dumbo 4K (2019/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*both Disney)/P.J. Masks: Birthday Cake Rescue (2019/EOne/Fox DVD)

Cinderella: Signature Edition (1951/Blu-ray w/DVD*)/Dumbo 4K (2019/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/*both Disney)/P.J. Masks: Birthday Cake Rescue (2019/EOne/Fox DVD)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B & B-/B-/C+ Sound: B- & C+/B & B-/C+ Extras: B+/C/C- Main Programs: B/C/C+

Here's the latest children's and family releases...

Disney is about to issue the recent live-action Cinderella in 4K, so they have decided to reissue the original animated classic as a Blu-ray/DVD set similar to one we reviewed years ago. This time, it is called Cinderella: Signature Edition (1951) and is from the exact same remastered materials and has almost the same extras (deleted scenes and unused songs are the odd omissions) plus an update of Digital Copy. You can read more about it here:


I don't know if it just has not aged as well or if the recycling of the older masters just do not look as good here, but we do get a new featurette in In Walt's World: The Envisioning of Cinderella which offers a new way to see the film, but the original theatrical cut is already here. Why this is not arriving in 4K itself is odd, but maybe they're taking their time to do it correctly and thoroughly so it looks great. We'll see.

Disney is not reissuing the original Dumbo (it was not that long ago it finally arrived on Blu-ray), but here is the new live action remake directed by Tim Burton. Dumbo 4K (2019) is set just after WWI, is much darker looking than the animated classic and has Colin Farrell as a soldier who has survived and wants to get his family back together. The circus has come to town run by a flashy guy (Danny DeVito, in the film's best performance) who is about to discover he has a new act born right under him. The title character is an elephant who can fly.

Unfortunately, the film tries to be dark and magical and the way it approaches the two never meld and even contradict, with the former best saved for Horror cinema and the latter formulaic at best. It never works, there is not any fun, none of the humor works and even the digital animation is a little lackluster. Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Alan Arkin are part of the supporting cast, but they cannot lift this above its flat script and dull directing.

Since his awful 2001 Planet Of The Apes remake (forget reimagining, I never bought that bit either), Burton has been on auto pilot when he has directed anything and I have been waiting to see if hew would come alive again as a filmmaker since. He has talent and can actually achieve a distinct vision, but this is one of his biggest missed opportunities yet. Disney certainly gave him enough cash and there is some fine talent here, but it now stands as the poorest of the live action remakes from Disney, even in 4K. Too bad.

Extras include Digital Copy and (per the press release) CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo's cast share their experience of making the film - and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney's most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling, BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film's production and costume design, DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film:

Roustabout Rufus

Pachyderm Plans

The Other Medici Brother

Monkey Business

A Star Is Born

Where's Dumbo

Elephant Heist

A Seat at the Show

EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumbo in this narrated tribute to the Disney classic, CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set, ''BABY MINE'': Visual video performed by Arcade Fire and a DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: DREAMLAND - ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of 'grand intimacy' in the film. Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.

On the other hand, the original animated classic is still one of the most important animated films Disney or anyone else ever made. You can read more about it at this link...


Finally we have P.J. Masks: Birthday Cake Rescue (2019) that last about an hour, has a tiny bit of extras for a change and offers four episodes of the hit show that is superhero enough to be part of the genre, albeit for young children. Its more of the same, but at least it is consistent and fans should be happy. Nice to see thew show is so successful that they keep issuing DVDs of it. It has one of the better titles and covers too.

Two music videos are the only extra.

Now for the playback performance of the newer releases. The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Dumbo is the best of the two presentations, but it has a softness beyond any style Burton and company were going for, so this is the best way to watch, but partly by default. Needless to say this is not a total 4K production and the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the blu-ray is harder to watch and has more detail issues. It all adds to the disappointment, though my expectations were only so high to begin with.

At least the 4K discs' Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown for older systems) plays well enough and is better than the image, but it gets nearly gimmicky, which you can also here on the Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix. The music was not memorable either.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Masks is good for the format with the same decent color as the previous DVDs in the series and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is also fine for the old format. It makes me wonder if thew show will ever make Blu-ray. Bet it would not be bad there.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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