Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Animals > Children > 101 Dalmatians: 2-Disc Platinum Edition (1961/Animated/Disney DVD Set)

101 Dalmatians: 2-Disc Platinum Edition (1961/Animated/Disney DVD)


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



Probably one of the most beloved Disney animated features is 101 Dalmatians (originally One Hundred and One Dalmatians).  101 Dalmatians was a turning point for Disney Studios in their animation department using a new style with xerography (to lighten the animation load) from the art direction of Ken Anderson.  Walt Disney did not approve of this style at first citing it as being too sketchy, but later learned to embrace it and the use of xerography was utilized in Disney animations all the way up until 1989’s The Little Mermaid.  Being the first Disney film to stray from its format of using the distant past to emphasize its storylines, 101 Dalmatians used the present day (at the time) to create a current and more believable atmosphere.  The film is detailed, fun, and managed to create some of the most memorable characters to ever come out of animation (mainly in the form of Cruella De Vil).


The animated film that was based on an original literature work by Dodie Smith follows the adventures of mom and dad dog (Pongo and Perdita) as they try to save their puppies from the evil dog-napper and fur connoisseur Cruella De Vil.  The story of the film starts out as nice as any other Disney film with a pair of Dalmatians falling in love, and in turn their owners falling in love.  Not before long the happy foursome is joined by 15 more little faces as Perdita gives birth to an astonishing 15 puppies; enter Cruella De Vil.  A known wealthy eccentric around London, Cruella demands to purchase the beautiful 15 Dalmatian puppies; but to her dismay Roger and Anita (the owners) say they are not for sale.  Cruella De Vil is not the type who takes no for an answer and soon hires a couple of bumbling crooks (Jasper and Horace Badun) to dog-nap the puppies.  Roger and Anita attempt to locate the puppies, but to no avail their efforts are lost.  Pongo and Perdita soon put out the ‘Twilight Bark’ (basically a dog phone chain) all around London in an effort to recover their stolen pups.  Eventually Pongo and Perdita find their puppies at Cruella’s creepy hideaway, known as Hell Hall.  The puppies are found, but the journey back won’t be an easy one; you can bet your tail on that.


The 17th Disney animated feature, admittedly, never caught this reviewer’s attention as a child and looking back I have no idea why.  The storyline of 101 Dalmatians is solid, the animation style is inspiring, and the overall sense of adventure and fun is intriguing.  This reviewer is glad that Disney did not wait until the film’s 50th anniversary in 2011 to re-release the doggy feature, but be sure that 2011 will most likely be the Blu-ray release.  The lack of songs in the film is an odd choice, but exploring Disney’s history one will quickly discover that not only did Disney suffer a huge loss from the unpopularity of Sleeping Beauty (now a classic), but at the time let go over 400 employees.  From this we can see that maybe Disney had bigger things on his mind than music; he may have been hearing the funeral march more clearly than Dalmatian music.  With that said, 101 Dalmatians manages to surmount to an instant classic that any child, adult, or furred friend can enjoy.  Not only does this Platinum release offer another chance to see the same old greatness that is 101 Dalmatians, but gives the audience a restoration job that is equally as impressive.


The technical features on this 2-Disc DVD definitely have both bark and bite, with the much publicized restoration job being quite excellent.  The picture is presented in an odd choice for Disney as an un-Anamorphically enhanced 1.33 X 1 Full Screen.   To this reviewer, however, with the slight image debacle that was The Jungle Book and having the tops and bottoms of the picture somewhat missing, this reviewer is happy to see a full screen that is not seemingly missing a thing.  With all dogs accounted for, the quality of the picture is both bright and fluid throughout, having a good picture flow with little too no darkness or grit.  This reviewer is confident in saying that this is the best 101 Dalmatians has ever looked since its 1961 release and can’t wait to see what Blu-ray can do for it and its original three-strip Technicolor.  The sound quality is excellent (though not as good as the picture) and falls in line with the other Disney Platinum releases, being presented in the Disney staple of Disney 5.1 Enhanced Home Theater Mix.  The film does not have a great number of songs (only three), but the dialogue is clear and crisp with the action sequences also holding their own demonstrating a fair bit of ‘pop.’  The technical features of this release may be surrounding dogs, but are definitely not made for the dogs.


The extras are also nice and cater to both children and adults alike.  The extras include for children a ‘Virtual Dalmatians Game’ that allows the person to create and take care of their very own Dalmatian puppy, and a second game that is entitled ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians Fun With Language Game’ that centers on teaching children languages.  The two children’s game features did not excite this reviewer, but who knows the kids may get a kick for a second or two.  The more adult features include such featurettes as ‘Redefining the Line: The Making of 101 Dalmatians,’ ‘Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney,’ ‘Cruella De Vil: Drawn to be Bad,’ and a fun ‘Pop-Up Trivia Facts’ feature to watch during the film.  The first two ‘more adult’ features center on the actual creation process and Walt Disney’s work with the author of the original The Hundred and One Dalmatians, and the third feature is just pure fun to learn a little more than you may have know while enjoying the film (think Pop-Up Video).  Overall, the extras are very nicely presented and contain a good amount of new and insightful content.


Animation is a dog eat dog world, this release is sure to gobble up all the competitors.



-   Michael P Dougherty II


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com