All original 14 episodes of NATIONAL LAMPOON PRESENTS MR.WONG bows Feb. 17 on DVD (Maverick Ent., $19.98), along with a never-before-seen bonus episode and lots of extras, including guest stars Robert Evans and Troy Hurtubise, audio commentary, outtakes, recipes and more.
Category: Home Entertainment
Since its Tuesday release, Walt Disney Pictures' THE LION KING 1 1/2 has sold more than 3 million combined DVD/VHS units in North America. Based on this sales figure alone, THE LION KING 1 1/2 is now positioned to be the best-selling direct-to-video DVD of all time.
King Features Syndicate announced that Academy Award-winner Kathy Bates (MISERY, TITANIC) has joined the cast of the 3D animated POPEYES VOYAGE: THE QUEST FOR PAPPY. Bates will take on the role of Popeyes nemesis, the Sea Hag/Siren. She joins voice over veteran Billy West (REN & STIMPY), who will bring the 'arrgh!' to Popeye. In addition, Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh (PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE, RUGRATS, GROOVEIANS), has been brought on to provide the project's score and to produce an updated version of the classic Popeye the Sailor Man theme song.
The STAR WARS trilogy is finally debuting on DVD in a four-disc set on Sept. 21, 2004 from Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Home Ent. (for an estimated retail price of $50). All three movies, STAR WARS, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI - a.k.a. EPISODES IV, V AND VI - are the special editions that have been digitally restored and remastered. Per George Lucas' request, the original theatrical versions will not be included, to the dismay of many fans.
THE LION KING legacy continues with THE LION KING 1 1/2, a DVD premiere sequel produced by DisneyToon Studios released Feb. 10, 2004 (Walt Disney Home Video, $29.99). Directed by Bradley Raymond (THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME II), the story puts a fresh spin on THE LION KING by going back and retelling the original story (admittedly with some humorous revisionism) through the eyes of Timon (Nathan Lane) and Pumbaa (Ernie Sabella). But since LION KING was an animated riff on HAMLET anyway, the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-like shtick seems very appropriate.
The Walt Disney Co. has confirmed that it will be releasing a restored Platinum Series edition of ALADDIN on DVD, Oct. 5, 2004. The two-disk set will feature a remixed 5.1 surround sound home theater track, a deleted song called "Proud of Your Boy" by Academy Award-winning songwriters Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the original pencil tests of a scene featuring Aladdin's mother and a virtual carpet ride.
It only took a week for AMERICAN SPLENDOR to arrive on DVD (HBO Video, $27.95) after snagging a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination, but now you can own one of the indie faves of 2003. AMERICAN SPLENDOR intersperses fact and fiction in telling the story of Cleveland comic book artist Harvey Pekar (portrayed by Paul Giamatti) as the ultimate everyman. Directed by Shari Stringer Berman and Robert Pulcini, the movie is acclaimed for its Flash-animated forays by Gary Leib and John Kuramoto of New York's Twinkle studio.
Stargate Digital, which recently opened a new facility in London, is currently revamping of all the visual effects for Highlander 2, to be released on DVD this spring through Artisan Home Ent.
Walt Disney's ALICE IN WONDERLAND (1951) may not be to everyone's liking, but it at least deserves careful consideration, since it really shines on the new two-disc Masterpiece Edition (Buena Vista Home Ent., $29.99) that hits stores Jan. 27, 2004. The feature has been cleaned up and remastered and shows off more vividly the work of the many talented animators (including Mary Blair, Bob Carlson, Marc Davis, John Hench, Ub Iwerks, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Fred Moore and Frank Thomas).
The CRITIC - THE COMPLETE SERIES comes to DVD Jan. 27, 2004 (Columbia TriStar, $49.95) in a three-disc set featuring all 23 episodes with its dry wit intact. Created by Al Jean and Mike Reiss of THE SIMPSONS, the ill-fated CRITIC bounced around from ABC to Fox to Comedy Central to the Internet, attracting a small but devoted following that adored the movie parodies. Jon Lovitz voices the animated Jay Sherman, the sad sack of TV film critic who gives thumbs down to every pathetic movie he's forced to review.
Extras include:* Commentary on eight episodes
DILBERT - THE COMPLETE SERIES from '99 comes to DVD (Columbia TriStar, $49.95) Jan. 27, 2004. Check out all 30 episodes on this four-disc set from the first and second seasons and discover why the most popular comic strip of the decade made a smooth transition to animated series, thanks to irreverent writer/producer Larry Charles (SEINFELD and MAD ABOUT YOU).
SPIDER-MAN THE ANIMATED SERIES may have been dropped by MTV last year, but the good news is that all 13 episodes of season one have arrived in a terrific DVD set with plenty of extras (Columbia TriStar Home Ent., $29.95). Mainframe Ent.s computer-animated series (written and exec produced by Michael Bendis, who was responsible for the ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN comic) puts a new spin on Peter Parkers plight, putting him in college opposite Harry Osborn and Mary Jane Watson. Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris, the animated SPIDER-MAN had its fans and foes.
LOST IN SPACE - THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON (Fox Home Entertainment, $79.98) lands on DVD Jan. 13, 2004 in an eight-disc set containing all 29 black and white episodes of the Space Family Robinson from '65. Cheesy effects, but producer Irwin Allen offered a fun sci-fi romp that took place in '97. The first season was definitely the best. Includes the unaired pilot, "No Place to Hide" with no Dr. Smith (Jonathan Harris) and no robot.
Disc 1The Reluctant StowawayThe DerelictIsland In The SkyThere Were Giants In The Earth
THE MATRIX REVOLUTIONS, the last of the Wachowski brothers' groundbreaking trilogy and vfx feast (supplied by ESC Entertainment a host of other houses) debuts on DVD April 6, 2004 (Warner Home Video, $29.95). The two-disc set will include the following bonus features in an attempt to top its predecessors:
On March 2, LOONEY TUNES BACK IN ACTION comes to DVD (Warner Home Video, $27.95) with special features such as a brand new Looney Tunes animated short, a personalized on-set tour with Bugs and Daffy and additional scenes. The live action/animated feature directed by Joe Dante stars Bugs, Daffy, Tweety, Taz and Jenna Elfman, Brendan Fraser, Steve Martin, Joan Cusack, Heather Locklear and Timothy Dalton.
The LOONEY TUNES BACK IN ACTION DVD will include the following features:
* Additional scenes not included in the theatrical version.
Vampires and werewolves wage war in UNDERWORLD, which comes to DVD Jan. 6 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.95), boasting VFX from Framestore CFC and Luma Pictures. Think ROMEO AND JULIET meets THE MATRIX, starring Kate Beckinsale and Scott Speedman, and you get the gist of this indie sensation directed and co-scripted by Len Wiseman, which will spawn both a prequel and sequel from Lakeshore Ent. and Screen Gems.
THE LAST UNICORN, the beloved 1982 animated feature directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr., appears headed to DVD on March 16 through Artistan Home Entertainment, according to online retailers such as DVD Planet (www.dvdplanet.com) and DVD Empire (www.dvdempire.com), which are currently taking pre-orders. Featuring the voice talents of Alan Arkin, Rene Auberjonois, Jeff Bridges, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury and Christopher Lee, THE LAST UNICORN concerns a brave unicorn and magician that battle an evil king bent on destroying all unicorns. Peter S. Beagle adapted his novel for the screen. A live-action version produced by Continent Film Ltd. (also scripted by Beagle) is in the works for a holiday release in 2004. Lee, Farrow, Lansbury and Auberjonois co-star. All but Farrow reprise their roles. Farrow, who voiced the unicorn in the animated feature, portrays Molly Grue. Julian Doyle and Michael Pakleppa share directing duties.
The big-screen version of S.W.A.T., starring Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell and Michelle Rodriguez, comes to DVD on Dec. 30, 2003 (Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, $28.95) with enough gunfire and other explosions (with vfx help from Pixel Magic) to satisfy action-movie junkies as well as fans of the '70s TV series.
Fans of the animated Nickelodeon series, THE WILD THORNBERRYS, can now join Eliza Thornberry and her family on their cross-continental adventures with an exclusive offer through National Geographic. The two VHS sets follow the Thornberrys as they trek through Africa and Australia filming wildlife documentaries and getting mixed up in their crazy adventures along the way. Available exclusively through National Geographic, the two video sets can be purchased by calling 1-800-627-5162 or by ordering online at www.nationalgeographic.com.
Worldwide sales of the direct-to-video BARBIE OF SWAN LAKE have topped more than two million units through Entertainment Rights (excluding North America), via its home entertainment division, Rights Ent. This includes more than 400,000 units in the U.K., where the title has remained at number five on the children's chart after debuting at number one.
These figures follow the trend that began with Barbie's first direct-to-video feature, BARBIE IN THE NUTCRACKER and continued with BARBIE AS RAPUNZEL, which were also distributed through Entertainment Rights.
Described as a combination of Joan Miró, Buster Keaton, Chuck Jones, Gene Kelly and Felix the Cat, the iconoclastic animator, actor, dancer, cinematographer and editor Grant Munro is paid tribute on the new DVD CUT-UP: THE FILMS OF GRANT MUNRO (Image, $29.99). Presented by The National Film Board of Canada (where Monroe worked) and Milestone Films, the disc features 109 minutes of significant hand-drawn and pixilated animation, live action and documentary shorts covering 1945-1983.
SEABISCUIT, writer/director Gary Ross' acclaimed screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's revered bestseller about the legendary race horse and his place in American lore, comes to DVD Dec. 16, 2003 (Universal Home Entertainment, $26.98) with several noteworthy extras: commentary from Ross and director Steven Soderbergh, production notes, three featurettes ("Racing Through History," "Bringing the Legend to Life" and "Anatomy of a Movie Moment: From Script to Screen") and co-star Jeff Bridge's on-set photographs.
Finally, with SOUTH PARK'S pivotal third season, released on DVD on Dec. 16, 2003 (Paramount Home Entertainment, $49.99), fans get actual episode commentary - or "commentary-mini" - by creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who riff for five minutes before all 17 episodes. Called a turning point by Parker and Stone, the third season from 2000 was actually produced while making the feature, SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT. The creators proclaim "Tweek vs.