On August 12th, Disney is releasing the animated classics Hercules, Tarzan, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and The Three Musketeers on Blu-Ray for the first time. Now before you start grumbling that you just finished re-purchasing all your Disney Classics on DVD, you should know that the clarity and beauty that Blu-Ray has instilled on these films is breathtaking and worth the expense. Not to mention these aren’t just Blu-Ray’s but Blu-Ray combo packs that include a DVD and digital copy.
Complete with several bonus features, each title is hours of fun. Even the subtle detail of the border trim (customized to each title, like Bedknobs and Broomsticks has little bedknobs, and well, broomsticks) found on each box cover continues to explain why Disney is the beloved powerhouse they are.
Now other than quality difference, there’s a few things to note with each release:
Where’s the love? This is one of the most underrated Disney animations of all-time. Hercules features a little more sass, especially where the female lead character Megara is concerned (which paved the way for Mulan and Tiana). Because of its undervalued appreciation it seems Disney doesn’t even want to try to bust out anything special for this stunning Blu-Ray release. Where this reviewer would love to dig into the songwriting and psyche behind the adaptations of this classic mythology tale, all we get is a measly “Zero To Hero” sing-a-long (the only actual NEW bonus feature), a Spanish Ricky Martin video and a short “Making of Hercules” that acts more like a press kit. But, it’s a huge step up from the previous releases of Hercules and very grateful for that!
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Has anyone been on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Disneyland and just been confused as to why the ride exists and/or what’s happening on the ride?! Good news for you – you can know learn all about Mr. Toad and his motor mania now that Disney is finally giving the 34-minute animated short The Wind In The Willows another push. Also featured is the 31-minute short The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Ichabod’s adventure) which may be even rarer to the casual Disney observer. Here’s some trivia for you: did you know that Brom Bones (the “bad guy” if you will) from Ichabod’s story is what they based Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston on?
Bonus (and we didn’t know this in advance): You also get both Fun and Fancy Free (which features two more shorts, Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk) and The Reluctant Dragon on this Blu-Ray combo pack. This is one of those gifts that keep on giving.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
A film that was originally put into motion as a back-up should P.L. Travers not give final approval for Walt Disney to make Mary Poppins, and was one of the final films Walt produced before passing away should be at the top of your must purchase lists August 12th. The most recent DVD release of Bedknobs and Broomsticks featured the reconstructed version of the film, a so-called director’s cut, running 139 minutes. This Blu-Ray combo pack release returns to the original edit of the film (a run time of 117 minutes), but includes the extended songs and deleted scenes as bonus features. For those Walt Disney purists, this is the version for you.
A film I neglected to ever watch upon release in the late 90’s as Disney animations really seemed to be hit or miss around them (Hunchback of Notre Dame, etc.), and well – we all make mistakes. The story was heartfelt, the dialogue funny and Phil Collins hit song “You’ll Be In My Heart” made a lot more sense. Not being as familiar with this release the bonus features felt plentiful and expansive and like the other Blu-Ray releases in this series, the color-grading was absolutely beautiful.
The Three Musketeers
Honestly, if grabbing five Disney Blu-Ray’s on August 12th (well, seven if you include Bears and The Muppets: Most Wanted) is a stress financially, know you can wait for this title to appear on a Black Friday sale. Otherwise the motto of the film itself describes this release adequately: “All For Fun And Fun For All!”