Sunday, November 15, 2015

Toy Story That Time Forgot!!

by Al Kessel

THEY'RE BACK!!! Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex and the gang are back and boy are they having an adventure!! 

This time around, Woody, Buzz, Rex and Trixie meet a brand new group of toys who don't know they're toys!! They actually think they're...REAL!

The set up is this: Little Bonnie (remember, our gang now belongs to Bonnie?) has a play date with a friend who has...well, LOTS of toys, including a really cool game console, which takes Bonnie's attention away from our band of heroes. 
And of course, once left alone, our heroes encounter the afore mentioned band of new toys, a group of dinosaur like creatures that believe their 'kingdom' is real. And of course, since the newbies don't know they're actually toys, they think Woody and the gang are there to invade and conquer their realm, and the Wood man, Buzz and Rex are soon captured and sentenced to...(well, this IS a family friendly blog, to I won't go any further than that), leaving Trixie the job of saving the day!!

Of course, as always, there is a LOT more to Toy Story That Time Forgot than this, but you know, no spoilers here. We want YOU to experience the movie on your own without knowing what happened. Though, by now, odds are you may have already seen this. It's actually been out since 2014, but only recently released on Blu-Ray!

As with all Disney*Pixar movies, Toy Story That Time Forgot is very well done. The story is cute, the writing is classic and the acting is top notch. All the original voice cast is back: Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Wallace Shawn as Rex, Joan Cusack as Jessie, Kristen Schaal as Trixie, Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants and of course, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head. Also joining the cast for this adventure is the awesome Scottish actor Kevin McKidd as Reptillus Maximus - one of the new toys!

All in all, Toy Story That Time Forgot is definitely a great addition to your collection. While not as great as any of the theatrically released Toy Story movies, it's sure to be classic. Running time is about 22 minutes.

Bonus Features on the Blu-Ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere include:

  • Reptillus! - In this behind-the-scenes look at “Toy Story That Time Forgot,” the filmmakers share a peek at the origins of the Battlesaurs world and culture, and explain the character design and development of its greatest hero, Reptillus Maximus.
  •  Commentary with “Toy Story that Time Forgot” director, Steve Purcell, and head of story, Derek Thompson, on the process of making “Toy Story That Time Forgot.”
  • My Unexpected Friend - Feel the power - and sing along - as Reptillus Maximus expresses the depth of his feelings for Trixie in this 80's-inspired karaoke video for his soulful ballad, "My Unexpected Friend."
  • Battlesaurs Animated Opening - A 2D animated opening for the fictional animated TV series, "Battlesaurs."
  • Deleted Scenes with Intros & Outros – “Toy Story That Time Forgot” director, Steve Purcell, introduces scenes that were developed and storyboarded for the special, but were ultimately cut from the final version:
    • Battlesaurs Christmas
    • Light of Play
    • Prisoners of Bone
    • SOS
    • Trixie’s Proposal
  • Toy Story Goes to Comic-Con - The “Toy Story that Time Forgot” team heads to San Diego to unveil the project to the public, led by their own longtime Comic-Con veterans, director Steve Purcell and head of story Derek Thompson.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Inside Out...Review

by Al Kessel

Emotions. We have have them. Those little 'voices' inside our heads that drive us. Have you ever looked at someone and wondered, 'what the heck is going on inside THEIR head?!'. Yeah, me too. Sometimes it's almost as if...there's ACTUALLY living beings inside our heads, controlling us!

Disney/Pixar's newest hit, Inside Out, doest just that - takes an exciting and HILARIOUS journey inside the mind to find the answer to the question: 'what the heck is going on in there?'.  

In, Inside Out, Disney/Pixar tackles two different worlds that actually relate to one another. First, we have the external world, in which we meet new born baby girl Riley and her parents. Then, we have the internal world, where we meet the REAL genius of our characters, the EMOTIONS. Based in Headquarters (get it? in, in the mind?), the control center of Riley, five emotions are hard at work helping Riley grow up into a wonderful woman: Fear (voiced by Bill Hader), Anger (voiced by comedian Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by The Office's Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (voiced by The Office's Phyllis Smith). They're led by Joy (voiced by Parks and Recs Amy Poehler). Joy is, of course, the 'peppy' and positive emotion. Together, the five emotions guide Riley's responses to her external world.

All is well, until now 11 year old Riley is uprooted from her home in Minnesota to San Francisco by her parents. Of course, this throws Headquarters into a flurry of conflict! 

As Riley gets...well, riled up, by the move and the inability to fit in, her emotions get a little confused as well, and, as Joy is off tackling a pretty serious issue, the other emotions decide to take matters into their own hands. And that's not good. Ever. 

Now, of course, that's all you're getting as far as plot. Remember, No Spoilers Here! 

We learned about the project Inside Out at the D23 Expo in 2010. They didn't share a great deal of detail at that time, but we were really interested in this project. So, when Inside Out was finally released, we had high expectations for it. And we were not disappointed. This film has everything we've come to expect in a Disney/Pixar movie and more. The animation is, of course, superb, and the story is actually quite endearing. It touches everyone, on ever level. From a child to an adult. There are some scenes that only adults will understand, yet, the movie remains perfect for viewers of all ages. 

And in true Disney fashion, there are morals to the story, that are very important for the entire family to understand. Growing up isn't as easy as it seems! Often times, we have very conflicting emotions that we must sort through, and now, Inside Out shows us exactly what those emotions are doing!

With most Disney/Pixar movies these days, there are a plethora of wonderful extras. Inside Out is no different. Bonus Content includes:

* Riley's First Date - Animated short. Riley, now 12, is hanging out at home with her parents when potential trouble strikes. A BOY! Who asks to see Riley!! In this hilarious short, we get to see inside Riley's fathers mind as he deals with the prospect of his little girl, growing up!
Riley's First Date

* LAVA - Animated short. Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands, and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, LAVA is a musical love story about a lonely volcanic island, who grows over the ages and shelters many animals, many who have love. Our hero wishes for nothing more than to find true love himself, so he sings to the gods in the hopes of finding love.
LAVA Animated Musical Short

* Story of the Story - Director Pete Docter talks about the evolution of Inside Out, from the ideas and memories that inspired the story through the hurdles, explorations and experiences that helped shape it into the film it is today

* Paths To Pixar: The Women of Inside Out - Inside Out filmmakers, from voice actors to animators to production crew, talk about their paths, their goals, the challenges they've faced and the lessons they've learned along the way

* Mixed Emotions - Inside Out's filmmakers talk about how they decided which emotions to focus on in the story and how they went about creating each one's distinct personality and visual identity

* Mapping The Mind - Inside Out's artists take you through the years-long process of designing and creating a world everyone knows, but no one has ever seen - the human mind

* Deleted Scenes

* Mind Candy - A montage of toolkit and interstitials produced for Inside Out

Of all the bonus content, our favorites were Riley's First Date and LAVA. Riley's First Date is a funny look inside a fathers head, as he learns his 'baby girl' is no longer his baby girl. LAVA is a wonderfully charming story told through a beautiful Hawaiian style love song about the quest for true love, through eons. Both are without a doubt worth watching several times!

All in all, Inside Out is a great family movie and worth adding to your (growing) Disney library. Don't miss out. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron

by Al Kessel

They're BACK! Earth's Mightiest Heroes have returned to save the day in Marvel Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and unfortunately, all is not well with our favorite band of heroes!

"Marvel Studios unleashes the next global phenomenon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. Good intentions wreak havoc when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) unwittingly creates Ultron (James Spader), a terrifying A.I. monster who vows to achieve “world peace” via mass extinction. Now, Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)—alongside Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) —must reassemble to defeat Ultron and save mankind… if they can! This action-packed adventure is a must-own, mind-blowing blast!"! Ok, anyone who's read any of our reviews, or listened in on our Tales From The Mouse House Disneyland podcast knows, WE DON'T SPOIL! Our intention is to let you know what WE think about a movie then give you some production details. We figure you'll want to see the movie for yourself without the added pleasure of knowing how it turns out! So, with that in mind, here's our take on this AWESOME movie!

Age Of Ultron picks up shortly after the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where S.H.I.E.L.D. is torn apart
and our Heroes are now on their own (sort of) to defend the world from the bad guys. As a direct result of Hydra resurfacing and the recent alien attack on NYC (see the first Avengers movie), Tony Stark, a.k.a. Ironman, has come up with a plan to protect the world from not only internal threats, but in the inevitable attack from 'out there'. To do this, he and Bruce Banner, a.k.a. HULK! have developed the Ultron project, an artificial intelligence that they intend to patrol and bring about world peace. However, and you know there's ALWAYS a however, things don't go as planned, and Ultron comes to life with plans of his own. (this is where you're encouraged to get your own copy and fill in those blanks!) 

After Joyce and I saw the first Ironman movie, then the first Avengers movie, etc, I thought, wow, this is flipping awesome. HOW can they top this? They did. In a BIG way. In a lot of super hero movies, when they try to do too much, try to introduce so many characters in the same movie, it often becomes very muddled and difficult to watch. Not so with Marvel. In this movie, there is SO much going on, so much action and SO many HUGE characters, the initial fear is 'how am I going to keep up?'. Trust me, that's not an issue here. Age Of Ultron is done so well, that, although there IS a lot of action and arcing character stories, you're never lost, or left feeling like something was glossed over. You'll find yourself needing to watch over and over again, but because it's THAT good. 

As is typical in an MCU movie, there is a great balance of action, drama and humor - and believe me, the humor is awesome. Of course, Tony Stark has most of the greatest one liners in this movie, especially in his interactions with Hulk. Which brings me to another point: the Hulk is much different than I remember him when I was a kid. And I don't mean that in a bad way at all. They've taken this giant green wrecking ball and turned him into a thinking beast. There are times when I could see Hulk actually contemplating things, working them out and not the mindless monster that's been presented to us in most other media. 

They've also expanded the character of Hawkeye (Clint Barton) in this movie, which I was very glad to see. In the first Avengers movie, Hawkeye was kind of a throwaway character almost. I never really liked him. But in Age Of Ultron, he comes in to his own. We also learn a bit more about the Black Widow in this movie. 

With an all-star cast (all of the original actors return, with some great additions), Age Of Ultron hits a home run. Robert Downey Jr. returns as Tony Start/Ironman and does his usual awesome job - great with the quips and one liners. Chris Hemsworth returns (along with his gigantic arms) as Thor, and actually ramps up the humor a bit as well. Mark Ruffalo is back as Bruce Banner/Hulk, and I've got to tell you, out of all the actors who portrayed Banner, Ruffalo is by far my favorite. He just...IS Bruce Banner. Chris Evans returns as America's favorite Super Soldier, Captain America, Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye AND...bringing his wonderful voice talents to the fray is James Spader as Ultron...who, by far, gets THE best one liners! Of course there are a LOT more cameos in this Avengers movie, and many references to other areas of the MCU, which sets up the upcoming movies, quite well. The great thing about the Marvel Universe (both cinematic and small screen) is that it all ties together. 

The CG effects once again are phenomenal. You'd be hard pressed to tell the CG from the real thing - and rounding it all out is a great musical score by the incomparable Danny Elfman. 

If you're a fan of Marvel, or even just a fan of GREAT movies, Marvel Avengers: Age Of Ultron is a must have addition to your movie collection. 

On a scale of 1-5 HULK SMASHES, I give Marvel Avengers: Age Of Ultron a 5! Yeah, it's THAT good!

Marvel Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


by Al Kessel

Ok, I'll admit...I did NOT want to see this movie. I mean, sure, Cinderella IS a Disney CLASSIC, and, as a kid, I (think) I enjoyed the animated version. But, a live action version? Well...I was never really a fan of the story so much, so nah. Joyce wanted to see this at the movies, but we never made it. And yeah, I was a little relieved. So, when we received the Blu-Ray version to review, to say I was hesitant to watch it with Joyce would be an understatement. But...I. Was. Wrong. I completely LOVED this movie!!

For those who don't know the story of Cinderella, I'll quickly summarize it here for you (but remember, NO SPOILERS! We try to NEVER spoil these things. We want you to experience them for yourself). Ella (played perfectly by Lily James), is born to very loving parents and they live in a beautiful (and LARGE) house in the countryside, and they have an idyllic life. Until Ella's mother falls ill and (gulp) dies. As the years go by, Ella's father becomes lonely and a bit down, and, through his business travels, he meets who will become Ella's Stepmother (played BRILLIANTLY by Cate Blanchett). After she and Ella's father marry, they all move in to Ella's family home, even StepMonster's two 'lovely' daughters...And that's all I'm telling you! Hey, this isn't a book report you know! 

Anyway, the cast put together for Disney Cinderella is
amazing. Lilly James (Downton Abbey) plays Ella, Richard Madden (Game Of Thrones' Richard Madden - Rob Stark) plays The Prince,  Helena Bonham Carter (The Red Queen from Disney's Alice In Wonderland) wonderfully plays Ella's Fairy Godmother, Cate Blanchett (Lord Of The Rings) plays the Stepmother, Hayley Atwell (Marvel's Agent Carter) plays Ella's mother, Ben Chaplin (The Truth about Cats and Dogs) plays Ella's father, and Stellan Skarsgard (Marvel's Avengers and Pirates Of The Caribbean) plays the Grand Duke. Of course, there are many more in the cast. They all embrace their roles and bring them to life in a way that really endears them to you. And the BEST thing: This is NOT a musical! Not that I have anything against musicals....ok, that's not true. I'm not a huge fan of them. 
Finally, let me just say that I am 100% elated that we watched Disney Cinderella because it really is a beautiful movie. The cinematography, the musical score, even the CG effects and characters. Nothing less would be expected from a Disney movie though. 
Disney Cinderella is chock full of bonus features:
  • On The HD/SD, Blu-Ray Combo Pack & Disney Movies Anywhere:
    • A Fairy Tale Comes To Life - filmmakers and cast reflect on Cinderella's enduring power, and the joys and challenges of bringing this iconic tale to life
    • Costume Test Fun - see the work of Academy Award Winning costume designer Sandy Powell
    • Staging The Ball - you're invited behind the scenes for the making of the Palace Ball sequence
    • Ella's Furry Friends - Discover how the movie's animal stars honed their memorable performances
    • Alternate Opening: Ella's Childhood
    • Frozen Fever - it's Anna's birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever - but when Elsa catches a cold, her powers may put more than just the party at risk in this Disney Short
  • DMA Exclusive: 
    • Deleted Scenes
  • DVD
    • Ella's Furry Friends
    • Frozen Fever
Rated PG and running at approximately 105 minutes, Disney Cinderella is now available. 

Joyce and I both give Disney Cinderella 5 out of 5 Stars!

Download Cinderella Host A Royal Ball

Monday, September 21, 2015

Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles

by Al Kessel

A Long Time Ago...

How COOL?! Legos AND Star Wars? This four episode DVD chronicles the events surrounding the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, and starts with how Yoda, Obi Wan and their band of 'warriors' rescue the HOLOCRONS, the sacred crystals needed to complete Luke Skywalker's Jedi training. Years later, at the direction of Jedi Master Yoda, Luke searches Tatooine for the mystical crystals. But of course, where there's good guys, can the bad guys be far behind? NOPE, cuz the mean old nasty Darth Vader wants those crystals for himself! Through the four 22 minute episodes, Luke and company search for the crystals while battling Darth and his group of nefarious characters. (Of course, I'm not going to spoil anything here, so, get the DVD and find out for yourself who wins! Hint: the good guys always win. Right?)

Although created for kids, with LOTS of corny type gags and jokes, fans of the Star Wars franchise, and fans of the Lego Star Wars franchise, will love this, corn and all. They take pokes at the original Star Wars trilogy, the second trilogy, and even other movies like Spaceballs, Terminator and Taken! 

Originally broadcast on Disney XD in 2014, Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles takes up where the Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles left off, and brings us up to speed with the entire Star Wars Universe - well, from the Lego perspective anyway!

Of course, the only original voice cast member that shows up for this from the Star Wars Universe is Anthony Daniels as C3PO, but the rest of the voice cast does an awesome job of making you believe that Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine have been transformed into Legos! Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles is chock full of familiar sights and sounds that make the Star Wars Universe come to life once again, and gives kids (and adults!) something to laugh at, while providing long time adult fans of the franchise with some great stories that help fill in some 'gaps'. The animation is very well done, and there's just enough campiness to make these episodes worth watching again and again. 

1 - Escape From The Jedi Temple
2 - Race For The Holocrons
3 - Raid On Coruscant
4 - Clash Of The Skywalkers

And, there is a special bonus feature on this DVD: Clash Of The Skywalkers has an alternate ending!

With a total run time of about 88 minutes and rated TV-Y7, Lego Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles is a must have for kids and adults who love Star Wars or Legos! OR, just plain good fun. Available now everywhere. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey's Monster Musical

by Joyce Kessel

The Director of Return to Never Land, Donovan Cook and Executive Producer of Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Rob LuDuca, brings another fun Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Adventure.  The DVD, released on September 8, 2015, will surely get the little ones excited for Halloween.  The DVD includes an exclusive Mini tote trick-or-treat bag.

Mickey needs help solving a spooktacular mystery!!  Can you help him out?

Put on your favorite Halloween costume and get set for a spooktacular full-length adventure. Visit the creaky castle of kindly “Count Mickula” and help your Clubhouse pals solve a puzzling riddle: Who, or what, is making a curious clanging, banging noise? With the right Monster Mouseketools and help from YOU, this mystery will soon be history! Then, enjoy two more exciting episodes as you search for pirate treasure with Captain Mickey and don your dungarees for delightful fun down on the farm. Packed with singing, dancing, laughter and surprises, Mickey’s Monster Musical is a high-spirited treat that can’t be beat.

Joyce's Thoughts:
Mickey’s Pirate Adventure was my favorite episode and I liked joining Mickey and friends on the beach for a day of adventures.  How amazing would it be to catch some waves with Mickey, even if you wipeout!!!  One of my favorite scenes was the duo with Goofy and his Grandpappy.  Will they be able to tune the island?  You have to watch to find the answer.  

My least favorite episode was the Monster Musical.  I can’t really pinpoint what I didn’t like about the episode, but I am sure that it will be a favorite of many.

Voice Cast:  Bret Iwan as Mickey; Russi Taylor as Minnie Mouse; Bill Farmer as Goofy and Pluto; Tony Anselmo as Donald Duck; and Tress MacNeilleas Daisy Duck.

The DVD has a running time of 115 minutes and includes the following episodes:
Mickey’s Monster Musical 
Mickey’s Pirate Adventure
Mickey’s Farm Fun Fair
Bonus: Minnie’s Bow-Toons: Tricky Treats

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"I Had Strings, But Now I'm Free....THERE ARE NO STRINGS ON ME!!"

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is now available on Amazon Video and Microsoft Movies & TV Access and Apps as Disney Movies Anywhere significantly increases digital footprint!
This means, more ways to Marvel (get it??) at the newest Avengers Adventure!!

You can now watch MARVEL’S AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON wherever you go with Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) as it expands this week into Amazon Video and Microsoft Movies & TV, with Roku and Android TV following on September 15th! Plus, when you buy Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron through DMA, you can take a deeper dive into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the exclusive bonus feature “Connecting the Universe.”

The latest ULTRA exciting Avengers movie is soon to be released for home enjoyment! Disney Movies Anywhere now offers consumers even greater access to their digital collections of Disney*Pixar, Marvel and STAR WARS movies at home and on the go with the addition today of two retail partners: Amazon Video and Microsoft Moves & TV to it robust digital footprint. DMA is also available via iTunes, Google Play, and Walmart's VUDU, and adds more devices next week as Roku and Android TV come on aboard! YAH!!

For more information visit or download the app at 

Hey gang, check out this awesome exclusive clip from 'Connecting the Universe', and exclusive feature that explores the EPIC network of intertwining story lines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, highlighting the intricate links between the worlds of the MCU characters and their comic history:

Monday, August 24, 2015

Miles From Tomorrowland: Let's Rocket!

by Al Kessel

On August 11th, 2015, Disney Junior released Miles From Tomorrowland: Let's Rocket on DVD, and it's sure to be a HIT!

Disney Junior's "Miles from Tomorrowland" is an intergalactic adventure that charts the outer space missions of young adventurer Miles Callisto and his family – mom and ship captain, Phoebe; mechanical engineer dad, Leo; tech-savvy big sister, Loretta; and best friend robo-ostrich pet, Merc – as they help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Miles, Merc and the Callisto family explore wondrous and diverse new worlds, taking young viewers and their families on a futuristic journey designed to fuel kids' natural interest in space, and at the same time reminding them of the importance of what lies close to home – the family bond. 

Join Miles, his family and his best friend and pet Merc on a super-galactic adventure!  This value-packed DVD includes the premiere episode plus 4 additional episodes, nearly two hours of fun! Plus FREE inside every DVD is an exclusive Clip-on Blastboard Flashlight that you can’t get anywhere else! 

And, in case you missed it, this Disney Junior series stars a young boy named Miles Callisto and his family who are always going on some sort of adventure, because, you know, they work for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and that has them fixing all kinds of problems throughout space, as they travel in their spaceship home (I WANT ONE!!!). Of course, as you know by now, we won't spoil anything for you, so if you want DETAILS about this fun adventure, you'll need to pick up your very own copy. Don't worry, it's WELL worth the price for the DVD. And actually, you're getting a lot for your dollar here: TEN episodes with a total running time of about two hours,'s pretty darned educational, as well as fun for the entire family. Seriously. I found myself getting kind of caught up in their adventures. But then, I'm a geek that way! 

Honestly, as with most everything made by Disney, the animation and colors are very well done and vibrant, and the stories are engaging as well as educational. OH, plus, with each DVD, you get a really COOL gift: a sweet clip-on "Blastboard Flashlight" (made of that puffy plastic material) that's actually quite bright. I used it the other night while operating the train. Cool!!! YOWZERS!!

With a great voice cast including Cullen McCarthy (from Mr. Peabody & Sherman) Olivia Munn (Ironman 2), Fiona Bishop (Disney Junior's Sofia The First) and Tom Kenny (SpongeBob SquarePants), this is a must have addition for anyone's Disney library. 

Miles From Tomorrowland: Let's Rocket is now available on DVD everywhere.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


by Joyce Kessel 

“They’re not bad.  They’re just born that way!!!”

From the Emmy Award-winning director and choreographer Kenny Ortega (High School Musical) comes this original contemporary story of classic Disney characters reinvented and the introduction of modern Disney lore. Enter this new epic universe of relatable tween characters on a journey of self-discovery. New on Disney DVD, and complete with never-before-seen bonus and a FREE bracelet!

Synopsis:  The movie starts with Prince Ben, the teenage son of Queen Belle and King Beast, about to be crowned King.  He wants his first official proclamation to free 4 chosen children of their sworn enemies to live on Auradon.  He chose Mal, daughter of Maleficent; Carlos, son of Cruella De Vil; Jay, son of Jafar and Evie, daughter of the Evil Queen to attend Auradon Prep School.  

The villain’s kids set out to get revenge on behalf of their parents because they have been banished to the Isle of Lost for 20 years without magic, wifi and NO WAY OUT!!!  To keep this spoiler-free, the kids are given the chance to prove there is good in their hearts and they are deserving of a second chance. 

When I first started watching the movie, I did not think it would be a movie I would like, but I enjoyed it.  I give Disney Descendants 4 magical wands out of 5.  

Backstage Dance Rehearsals — Join the cast for their rigorous dance rehearsals conducted by director Kenny Ortega.
Bloopers — Kristin Chenoweth and the cast crack-up on set.
#Mal – #fakeaccounts #bestofMal #funnymoments #VideoAndGraphics2TellMoreOfHerStory

Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent
Dove Cameron as Mal the daughter of Maleficent
Wendy Raquel Robinson as Cruella de Vil
Cameron Boyce as Carlos the son of Cruella de Vil
Maz Jobrani as Jafar
Booboo Stewart as Jay the son of Jafar
Kathy Nijimy as the Evil Queen
Sofia Carson as Evie the daughter of the Evil Queen
Mitchell Hope as Ben the son of Beast and Belle
Melanie Paxson as Fairy Godmother
Brenna D’Amico as Jane the daughter of Fairy Godmother
Sarah Jeffery as Audrey the daughter of Princess Aurora
Zachary Gibson as Doug the son of Dopey
Jedidiah Goodacre as Chad Charming the son of Cinderella
Dianne Doan as Lonnie the daughter of Mulan

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection

by Al Kessel 

What's better than a Disney Animated flick? TWELVE DISNEY ANIMATED FLICKS!!! Ok, well, TECHNICALLY, twelve Disney Animated Short Films, to be exact.  Today, August 18, 2015,Walt Disney Animation Studios released a collection of twelve animated shorts, in an extraordinary new collection of award winning and beloved short films. These shorts range from a continuation of the hit films Frozen and Tangled, to some original shorts, destined to be classics. 

Ok, here's the scoop: These animated shorts aren't new, with the exception of Frozen Fever, which was shown in front of the 2015 live action version of Cinderella. But that doesn't mean they're not worth watching. The great thing about this collection is that Disney has compiled several fan favorite animated shorts into one pretty great presentation. However...out of the twelve, there were a few that, although cute, well drawn and interesting, were not shorts that we would watch over and over. Ok, on with the review...

Now, if you've ever read any of our reviews, you know that we don't like to add anything that would spoil the movie for you. So, with that in mind, here we go:

Here are the twelve animated shorts, in order as they appear on the Blu-Ray, with a short (yeah, pun) synopsis and my (our) thoughts on it.

 * John Henry

    Originally released on October 30, 2000, John Henry is a musical short that celebrates the life and legend of a great African-American folk hero. As viewed through the eyes of his widow, Polly, the film explores Henry's tall tale adventures as he challenges a powerful steam drill in a climactic confrontation of man versus machine. We really did enjoy this short, even the musical numbers didn't bother me too much! The only odd thing was that in a lot of the scenes, the animation style was kind of strange, they left in some of the guide lines in the characters, like it was almost an unfinished piece. 

* Lorenzo 

   Well, THIS one was strange. Originally released on May 28, 2004, this very colorful short centers around a pompous, pampered cat named Lorenzo who teases the neighborhood felines, until he faces cat-astrophic consequences when he's hexed by a rival cat. Ok, when I say strange, I mean, kind of like someone on a drug trip strange. Really don't know how else to say it! You'll have to see this one for yourself. 

* The Little Matchgirl 

  Originally released on September 7, 2006, The Little Matchgirl is a retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen classic tale about a poor homeless young girl whose burning desire to find comfort and happiness. Very richly animated, and honestly beautifully scored with some great classical music, this one is a tad depressing. If you know the story, then you know what I mean. Although we enjoyed it for it's style, it was kind of a bummer. 

*How To Hook Up Your Home Theater 

   Originally released December 21, 2007 in front of National Treasure: Book of Secrets, this is probably one of our favorite shorts in the collection. Disney's beloved animated "everyman," Goofy, returned to the big screen for the first time in 42 years to entertain and educate viewers about the challenges of modern technology and following directions when it comes to hooking up a home entertainment system.  The enthusiastic but clueless Goofy is confronted by a huge instruction "manual," and has to deal with a gargantuan universal remote as he tries to install a new home theater in time to enjoy the big game. Voiced by the very talented Bill Farmer, Goofy once again proves his name! This is without a doubt an instant classic, as far as I'm concerned! I've always loved these Disney shorts. 

* Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa 

   Yeah, we LOVE the Prep & Landing movies!! Originally released December 7, 2010, "Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa” follows the further comic adventures of Santa’s stealthiest elves, Lanny and Wayne (who debuted the previous year in the Emmy® Award-winning ABC-TV special).  With Christmas only a few short days away, Mrs. Claus (voiced by Betty White) and Magee (Sarah Chalke) enlist Wayne (Dave Foley) and Lanny (Derek Richardson) on a secret mission to retrieve a mysterious item hidden deep within the office of Santa Claus!  Can the intrepid duo acquire the target in time, or will they be discovered by the Big Guy (Morgan Sheppard) and doomed to placement on the Naughty List? How can you NOT love this?! This will be a welcome addition to our Holiday traditions. 

* Tick Tock Tale 

   Originally released on June 8, 2010, Tick Tock Tale is a Walt Disney Animation Studio's computer animated short film that transports audiences to the foggy streets of Victorian era London, when, after the shop closes, the clocks all come to life, and one discarded old clock has to save the day from a burglar!! We liked this one a lot as well. Great animation and a great story. 

* The Ballad Of Nessie 

    Originally released on July 15, 2011 in front of Winnie The Pooh. Have you ever wondered where the Loch Ness Monster came from? Well, wonder no more! Set in the 'bonny blue highlands' of Scotland, this is a cute, whimsical and very colorful (literally) tall tale about how the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie to her friends, came to be in the Loch Ness! Narrated by the wonderfully talented Billy Connolly, The Ballad Of Nessie is another short for the entire family! 

*Tangled Ever After 

   Originally released on January 13, 2012 in front of Beauty And The Beast 3D, Tangled Ever After picks up where Tangled left off, and we see Rapunzel and Flynn tying the knot...but, when Pascal and Maximus are in charge of delivering the wedding rings, well, suffice it to say, a very funny and raucous time ensues! We LOVED this animated short and are sure most will as well.  

* Paperman 

   Originally released on November 2, 2012 in front of Wreck-It-Ralph, Paperman is one that we've seen before. This one introduces a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer generated and hand drawn animation techniques. Presented in a minimalist black and white style, this short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman. The animation in Paperman is truly spectacular, and, although it IS animation, it's kind of easy to get caught up in it! 

*Get A Horse! 

  Originally released on November 27, 2013 in front of Frozen, this is another one we've seen previously, BUT, will gladly watch over and over. Get A Horse !” follows Mickey, his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow as they delight in a musical hay wagon ride—until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road. With both classic black-and-white, hand-drawn animation and up-to-the-minute technical wizardry (often in the same frame), this groundbreaking short takes a sharp turn when Mickey finds himself separated from Minnie and must use every trick up his sleeve to find his way back to her. THIS is a MUST SEE! It starts off as all classic Walt Disney Mickey Mouse cartoons did, and in fact, truly looks like one. A very groundbreaking and unique short, and the coolest thing about this one? Walt Disney was the voice for Mickey Mouse!!

* Feast 

   Originally released on November 7, 2014 in front of Big Hero 6, Feast is the story of one man's love life as seen through the eyes of his best friend and dog, Winston, and revealed bite by bite through the meals they share. Ok, cute doesn't even begin to describe Feast. The animators got the actions, expressions and well, everything PERFECT on Winston that it looks and sounds so lifelike. In fact, our dog Kate got so excited when we watched Feast, she actually thought Winston was a real dog! Seriously! She jumped off the couch, ran up to the TV and started barking and wagging her tail!! An instant classic. 

* Frozen Fever 

   Originally released on March 13, 2015 in front of the live action Disney movie Cinderella, it's Anna's birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but when Elsa catches a cold, her powers may put more than just the party at risk. This original continuation of Frozen is 100% pure cute and fun. All the original voice actors return for this short, and honestly, it may even be better than Frozen. Yes, there is a musical number through it, and yes, Elsa does sing, but not Let It Go!! And they even poke a little fun at Frozen! 

Like I said, all of these shorts have been around awhile, and odds are you've seen at least a few of them. But the cool thing is that now they're all in one easy to view collection. Without a doubt, Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection is a must have addition for any Disney fan, or, for anyone who loves a great short animated film! Two Thumbs Up from us!!!!

Each short runs at about 5-9 minutes, so it's simple to watch all at one sitting, or watch a few and continue later. 

Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection is available everywhere now, on Blu-Ray and Digital HD/Disney Movies Anywhere.