(2019/Disney 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/The
Fantastic Journeys Of Karel Zeman
(1955, 1958, 1962/Criterion Blu-ray set)
Picture: B+ Picture: B/C+/B Sound: B+ & B/C+/B-
Extras: C+/B/B Films: C+/B-/B
is as old as cinema itself, starting in the silent era, becoming its
own artform and going through all kinds of innovations and
transitions. The following releases reflect that history.
we have Frozen
(2019), the inevitable sequel to the surprise hit film from six years
ago and we covered it at this link...
as big a fan of the first release myself, I took it upon myself to
see out of curiosity among other things, what would they do for a
follow up. Since we now have a 4K Ultra HD format, I was curious if
this would change anything or up thew visual ante. Well, the story
is fine and seems like a logical continuation of the fantasy-heavy
narrative and all the major voice actors have returned, the money is
on the screen in high quality, top rate CGI animation and some
sequences do look good, but it is more of the same otherwise with no
standout (or overly played out) hit record.
have managed to also continue the tone of the first film and some of
the humor even works beyond the intended young audience, yet it did
not do too much else for me, so this is for fans only at best, but
cheers to Disney for giving it their best try. You can still tell it
is not PIXAR product, but it does not need to be to be good.
include Digital Copy, while
you can also access (per the press release) Digital Exclusives like
- Meet the award-winning husband-and-wife team behind the incredible
songs from 'Frozen'
and Deleted Song 'Unmeltable
An animatic version of Olaf's celebratory song about his newfound
freedom. Both disc versions have the Sing-Along Version of the Movie
- Sing along with your favorite songs as you watch the movie, while
the Blu-ray adds...
Selection - Jump to your favorite musical moments, with on-screen
lyrics. Songs include Oscar-nominated 'Into
Things Never Change,'
I Am Older,'
in the Woods,'
Next Right Thing'
- Laugh along with the cast of 'Frozen
as they record their lines, sing their songs and have fun in the
Scenes - Check out a few scenes that never made the final cut.
- Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck offer a glimpse into their
filmmaking process with scenes that didn't make the final cut.
- A battle rages between Arendelle and the Northuldra while a
mysterious figure challenges King Agnarr.
Room - A secret room reveals even more of Anna and Elsa's past,
including a shocking revelation about their mother.
Dream - Anna's playful glimpse into Elsa's dream takes a dark turn.
Nokks - Kristoff reveals his true feelings about life in Arendelle
when the Nokk won't take no for an answer.
Place of Our Own - Elsa uses her magic to relieve Anna's lingering
doubts about their parents' faith in her.
Songs - When it comes to 'Frozen
there can never be too much music. Hear some of the songs that got
cut from the final film.
- Directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck revel in the chance to
share a few songs that didn't make it into the final film.
- Anna savors every moment as she wanders through this kingdom she
Wanna Get This Right' - Kristoff wants everything to be perfect
before he proposes, leaving Anna to wonder, 'Will it ever be just
Spirits of 'Frozen
Cast and crew explore the Scandinavian and Nordic mythology that
inspired the spirits inhabiting the enchanted forest of 'Frozen
You Know??? - Olaf asks us the question 'Did You Know' as we
fun facts, Easter eggs and tidbits about the making of the film.
a Sequel - Composer Christophe Beck combines a 91-piece orchestra
with 30 choral voices to create the compelling score for 'Frozen
Tests - They say you can't see the wind. Only its effects.
Filmmakers give it a shot while creating the playful wind spirit,
Test - A young girl and boy play tag in this fully animated effort
to 'give personality to something that's invisible.'
Gale Test - A hand-drawn test to bring the precocious wind spirit
the opening of Frozen
you see a clip of Mickey Mouse in the short animated classic
the first animated film with sound, with animation that was a
standard until abstract styles entered the picture in the 1950s with
import animation, TV animation causing necessitated animation ideas
due to lack of funds and UPA, a rival animation studio founded by
former Disney animators who went on strike and did not stay at the
company. With the counterculture in full swing by the later 1960s,
The Beatles classic Yellow
(1968) took such animation to a new height and became a permanent
style that lasted until the late 1970s (including in soda commercials
and TV shows like segments of Sesame
Python's Flying Circus).
on, one of the triumphs of this animated approach was an animated
feature film, but made for TV, which was unheard of at the time.
one music force would be behind the whole program, this time the
brilliant singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson who was already know for
his music on the great hit TV series version of The
Courtship Of Eddie's Father.
When Fred Wolf's The
(1971) was broadcast, Nilsson was as important as any of his piers in
the business from Bob Dylan to Donovan to James Taylor to Stevie
Wonder to Marvin Gaye to Paul Williams to Carole King. This was a
true TV event and one long overdue for rediscovery.
starts with a father (originally voiced by Dustin Hoffman for the
first broadcast only, three other men have redubbed the film since,
but here, it is rightly the best and my favorite choice to do it,
none ofter than Ringo Starr) wanting to tell his son (perfectly
voiced by Brady Bunch actor Mike Lookinland as the show was still in
production) a story instead of letting him watch TV. That is just
the beginning of the wit and irony we get throughout.
story focuses on Oblio, a young boy who does not fit in and has no
friends save a dog named Arrow (thus, ''Me
& My Arrow''
became the most beloved song of the many we get here) traveling
through the landscape of his surreal world dealing with prejudice,
hate, bigotry, adults who have failed us all and kingdoms that
deserve to fall and fail permanently. Cheers to the supporting voice
cast led by the legendary Paul Frees and Lennie Weinrib plus Wolf's
great animation direction. A flipside to Yellow
this is heading for its 50th
Anniversary and if you have never seen it or have not seen it in a
long time, this is the time to catch up.
include a repeat of materials form the old DVD, plus (per the press
"The Kid's Got a Point": An Interview with Mike Lookinland
(HD, 17:13, very good), NEW! "That Old Guy Wrote The Point":
A Conversation with Screenwriter Norm Lenzer (HD, 15:01), NEW!
"Everybody's Got a Point: Kiefo Nilsson and Bobby Halvorson on
Adapting the Point" (HD, 15:50), NEW! "Nilsson on Screen":
Biographer Alyn Shipton and Friends on Harry Nilsson's Film Projects
& Appearances (HD, 1:01:13), The
Making of The Point:
Four-part featurette including: "Who Is Harry Nilsson?",
"Pitching The Point", "Making The Point" and
"Legacy of the Point" (SD, 26:40) and a nice Collectible
we have a triple feature of restored classics thanks to the great
people at Criterion. Three
Fantastic Journeys Of Karel Zeman
features the influential work of the Czech filmmaker who was as
creative as Disney, Melies and The Fleischer Brothers, this set
offers three different approaches to animation and fantasy
filmmaking, now finally restored and presented in their original,
unabridged versions. You may have seen watered down U.S. releases of
his work, but here finally are the real things.
To The Beginning Of Time
(1955) is a full color live action film with some charming and
effective stop-motion animation as four young boys take a boat trip
in their spare time and land up seeing and discovering prehistoric
cave writings and actual creates that have not been seen for
centuries. If only those busy adults had more spare time on their
hands. A child and family-friendly work, this holds up very well and
I was impressed at the heart and soul it has to it. See it and be
(1958) is a remarkable adaptation of Jules Verne's Facing
which predicted the atom bomb to some extent, takes us underwater ala
Leagues Under The Sea
and is done with an amazing combination of obvious, outstanding
pencil/ink drawings that give us everything form the ships to the
seas to the rooms live action humans inhabit and some of those human
even get animated in shots. The result is flawless and almost
surreal, but also more starkly effective since this is in black and
white (a lighthouse shot instantly reminded me of the recent film of
the same name, if not as dark) and just has a surprise, shot after
shot after shot. You have to see it to believe it.
but not least is The
Fabulous Baron Munchausen
(1962) which is in color, but instead of full color, the film is
tinted (light parts of the film gets the color) and toned (dark parts
of the film gets the color) in various solid colors throughout as the
film tells the tales (and wacky adventures) of the title character
(running counter to the Agfacolor Nazi-era film of the same material
and inspiring the Terry Gilliam film of the same character a few
decades later) in situations words could not do justice to. As
effective as any version of the story to date, there are little
touches of animation and visual effects here and there too. Yet
another gem that rounds out one of the best Blu-ray sets of the last
poster pullout with tech info, some illustrations and an essay by
film critic Michael Atkinson, along with limited-edition deluxe
Blu-ray packaging featuring pop-up art that is worth going out of
your way for, while the discs add new programs with animation
filmmaker John Stevenson and special-effects artists Phil Tippett and
Jim Aupperle discussing director Karel Zeman and his complex visual
trickery, four early short films by Zeman: A
Horseshoe for Luck
(1949), and King
Adventurer: Karel Zeman,
a 2015 documentary about the director, featuring filmmakers Tim
Burton and Terry Gilliam, illustrator Ludmila Zeman, and others,
Short Documentaries by the Karel Zeman Museum profiling the director
and detailing the production and effects of all three films,
U.S.-release version of Journey
to the Beginning of Time
from 1960, alternate English-dubbed soundtrack for Invention
and the opening sequence of the 1961 U.S.-release version,
Restoration Demonstrations and an interview with restoration
supervisor James Mockoski and Trailers.
for playback performance. Though the film was shown in select
theaters in 12-bit Dolby Vision, the 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra
HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Frozen
still looks the best of anything on this list, though these all have
good footage and even demo moments, but is not that different from
the first film. It also has better color, detail and depth than the
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray.
4K edition has lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for older
systems) sound, but it does sound a little tame, something a few
other 12-track releases from Disney have been criticized for, but it
still sounds good and a little better than the still-impressive
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on the regular Blu-ray.
was originally produced on 35mm film, but amazingly, no such print
could be found for this Blu-ray edition, but MVD has secured a
solid-enough 16mm reduction print here from a 2K scan in a 1080p 1.33
X 1 color digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of
the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all
previous releases of the film despite vertical scratches, some other
flaws and some softness in spots. Though I was hoping for lossless
sound, especially with Nilsson music involved, the disc only has
Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo mixes, but the 5.1 is just a little
films are all new 4K scans of the original 35mm negatives, though
had some damage, so a 35mm duplicate positive was used when
(albeit tinted and toned) are in color, produced in
Agfa/ORWO-like color, here looking amazing and fresh in 1080p
1.33 X 1 color digital High Definition image transfers. The same can
be said for the 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High
Definition image transfer on Invention, which looks great and is a
one of a kind treat. All sound is here in PCM Mono off of the
original optical mono 35mm soundmasters.