Cover Art and Menus: 8/10
The cover of 101 Dalmatians – Platinum Edition is a great shot of Pongo and Perdita, along with Cruella De Vil and numerous Dalmatian puppies. What is not to like about puppies? It is a colorful cover, and for a movie like this, it is perfect. My only slight gripe, and it is slight, is that the cover looks almost too modern, especially since the menus and the opening credits of the movie have a very 1960’s feel. The menus look great, with their bright colors and kitschy designs, but when compared to the cover, it almost seems like two different films. Then again, I am really, really reaching for something to gripe about here, as overall both the cover and the menus are great.
There are so many extras here on the newly released two-disc set that it is hard to list them all out. I will do my best, but trust me, there are tons of extras, but perhaps not tons of quality to some of them.
On the first disc, there are pop-ups for either the family, or for the fan, as listed on the box. Basically this works by “popping up” trivia on the screen as the movie is playing, like VH1’s Pop Up Video. It is neat to watch, for a while, but the pop ups get annoying, and take up a large amount of the screen.
Also on the first disc (besides some sneak peaks, that aren’t really extras) is a music video done by Selena Gomez. The video is a remake of the Cruella De Vil song, with a Disney “pop” feel. I can’t say that I liked the song, but then again, I have no idea who Selena Gomez is either, and perhaps she is a big star on the Disney channel. I can say that my son (who is very young) was mesmerized by the video. I am not sure if he liked it or not, but he didn’t utter one peep during the whole song.
The second disc is where the mother lode of the extras sit. The best extra is the Redefining the Line short, which runs about 30 minutes. It is an amazing making of that really goes into depth about the new style that was used for 101 Dalmatians back in 1961. There are interviews with some of the people involved, and it is amazing to hear about how the “black line” style used was done to cut costs, and that Walt Disney himself was not a fan.
Other shorts include Cruella De Vil: Drawn to Be Bad, which goes into how Cruella came about. It again is heavy on the interviews, but the Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney short is a recreation of the letters that were sent back and forth between Walt Disney, and the original author of the 101 Dalmatians book which the film was based on, Dodie Smith.
There are also numerous songs included on the second disc, including several of the unused versions of the Cruella De Vil song. I must warn you that the song will ear worm just about anyone who hears it, so be prepared to sing or hum the song for days.
Finally there are games included on the second disk, but unless you are really, really bored, they are not worth the trouble. One such game is a Puppy Profiler where you answer questions, and based on your answer, a style of dog is chosen for you to match your personality. Not exactly gripping entertainment, especially when you consider that on the other disc, a great movie awaits.
Overall there are lots of extras, but I am not sure if they are really all that great, unless you are a real die-hard 101 Dalmatian fan.
Pongo is a bachelor who basically decides that his pet, Roger the human, needs to find a mate. As he finds a way to introduce him to Anita, the pet for Dalmatian gal Perdita, both Anita and Roger, and Perdita and Pongo join forces to create one big family. All is well as the dogs have numerous puppies, until the evil Cruella De Vil decides that she simply must have the puppies for her evil plan of making a spotted fur coat. After Cruella’s henchmen steal the pups, Pongo and Perdita set across England to rescue the pups.
Such is the tale of 101 Dalmatians, and I have to admit, it had been years since I had seen the original. I am not even sure that I remembered most of it, granted it is not a tale with too many twists. I was sucked into the film right from the beginning, and I marveled at the animation from the classic tale. The original was released in 1961, but the animation really brought to life the dogs as well as the surroundings. 101 Dalmatians is a clever tale, and I really was able to sit back and get immersed in the tale. You can easily see why some people believe 101 Dalmatians was such a break through animated film for Disney back in the 1960’s. Since I scarcely remembered the original, it was as if I was watching 101 Dalmatians for the very first time, and I have to admit that it is on par with most of the new animated releases in terms of story. Of course this is no computer animated film, but it still holds up beautifully.
The movie has been updated with a restored color palate, as well as a new 5.1 surround sound mix, and it really looks and sounds great on standard DVD. For those of you with kids, or those of you who apparently can’t remember seeing the original, 101 Dalmatians is a must see.
Video & Audio: 8/10
The video on this standard DVD was amazing. I was really happy to see that the standard DVD did justice to the film, which has obviously seen a makeover. In fact, the team found an original Technicolor “dye transfer” that included the exact colors approved by Walt Disney himself, and used those colors for the restoration. The colors and lines were pristine, and 101 Dalmatians has never looked better (except for maybe in high definition).
The sound was apparently a brand new 5.1 enhanced version of the soundtrack, which sounded great, but of course was not original, as surround sound was unheard of in 1961. I did like the way the music and some of the sound was mixed to fill the room, even if there was trickery used here.
Hmmm, I loved the movie, and I loved the way it looked and sounded, but I am not sure about the extras, and the fact that this was a 2 disc set. Of course you should see 101 Dalmatians, especially if it has been years since you have done so. It is a great film, and a real gem to see the progression of animation from 1961 to now. I was truly impressed with the animation, and the way the animators were able to bring to life these dogs, but I am not sure about spending $30.00 on the DVD. Then again, for $15.99 or so, it is a great addition to your collection.
Overall Score 8/10