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DVD Releases For September 2, 2008

TRANSFORMERS debuts on Blu-ray, plus some Disney DVDs and Marvel animation on Blu-ray, all out on home video today.


TRANSFORMERS, the $700 million+ hit from DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures, in association with Hasbro, rolls out in a fully-loaded, two-disc Blu-ray presentation on September 2, giving fans the chance to discover that there's definitely "More Than Meets The Eye" to the legendary Autobots and Decepticons. The highly-anticipated release is Paramount Home Entertainment's first to incorporate BD Live capabilities.

The massive production exploded onto screens last year from the creative minds of director Michael Bay and executive producer Steven Spielberg, taking audiences by storm and becoming the top-selling DVD of 2007. The first live-action film based on the enduringly popular "robots in disguise," TRANSFORMERS features the ultimate battle between good and evil, as the peace-loving Autobots seek to protect humanity from the evil forces of the Decepticons.

The action-packed film stars Shia LaBeouf (INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL), Josh Duhamel (LAS VEGAS), Tyrese Gibson (FOUR BROTHERS) and Megan Fox (HOPE & FAITH), as well as seasoned performers such as Jon Voight (NATIONAL TREASURE) and John Turturro (THE GOOD SHEPHERD).

Still, the biggest stars are the TRANSFORMERS robots themselves -- including fan favorites Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Ratchet and Jazz -- brought to life by revolutionary vfx techniques developed by ILM.

ILM was certainly up to the challenge of creating 30-foot-tall CG Autobots and Decepticons that had to look photoreal. No easy feat considering how complex and chained together they are. Joining VFX Supervisor Scott Farrar were Animation Supervisor Scott Benza, CG Supervisor Hilmar Koch and the rest of the crew. They not only had to create 14 fully CG characters with all of their individually controllable vehicular pieces (from oil filters to axles to pistons to body panels), but also a new system that could tackle the immense rendering demands. Fortunately, ILM's new artist-friendly Zeno platform, which transparently handles file conversion, came in handy.

For Farrar, TRANSFORMERS represents a new watermark in ultra-realistic hard body surfaces. "This had to be rendered and it's terribly complicated," Farrar told VFXWORLD. For instance, in addition to Optimus Prime's 10,108 parts, there are also 1.8 million polygons and 2,000 texture maps. Which is also why ILM developed dynamic rigging so the animators could deal with the large number of parts, interacting on the fly while paying attention to certain sections that they were animating. "Let's say you had a close-up," Farrar added, "and the animator only had to deal with one arm, shoulders and a head. They basically identify the area and grab that to simplify it."

Meanwhile, there were several advancements with regard to more realistic-looking lighting. "We were very specific as far as key lights and fill lights, not including the overall reflections: that was a given for each and every robot," Farrar continued. "So we had to plus that out. But then we added key lights, and shadows and cutters and flags, so our robots would actually go in and out of narrowed lights with barn doors just like you'd do on sets. I wanted you to see that these are really big guys, so that if a robot knelt down toward camera, he actually moved out of a key on his left side and it got darker there, and he moved into a right key, and you really felt the volume lighting in ways you haven't seen before."

The TRANSFORMERS Blu-ray presentation offers consumers an incredible movie experience, packed full of bonus material that delivers excitement and fun for long-time fans, as well as for viewers who are new to the TRANSFORMERS universe. Among the extensive special features, viewers can access commentary from director Michael Bay along with two documentaries that provide an in-depth look at the human elements of the film as well as the phenomenal robot stars.

Presented in multiple parts, "Our World" and "Their War" include segments with Steven Spielberg discussing his love for the franchise and the early concept for the movie. The segments also cover the extensive casting process, the training, consultants and real-world weapons provided by the military to lend authenticity to the film, the evolution of the robots from Hasbro's iconic toy line to big-screen stars, the unique vehicles created for the movie, a discussion with ILM's legendary digital artists and much more.

The discs go even further behind-the-scenes with early sketch concepts of the robots and an in-depth look at the making of the Skorponok attack from writing and conceptualization through the creation of the stunning visual effects.

In addition to superior picture, sound and bonus material presented in high definition, the Blu-ray presentation provides consumers with sensational BD-Live features, allowing for compelling experiences around the film and the opportunity to maintain engagement with fans.

Features include a TRANSFORMERS Intelligence Mode in which an on-screen dashboard over the film provides information about the robots and weapons, their strength levels, character updates, a GPS Locator and more.

The TRANSFORMERS Profiler can be activated at any time during the film and allows viewers to access detailed information about the cast, voice talent and filmmakers including biographies and filmographies, as well as extensive production notes on the movie itself. The Menubots can be downloaded through BD-Live and give fans the option to customize their in-movie menus with Optimus Prime, Megatron or Bumblebee themes.

Additional on-disc features include the TRANSFORMERS H.U.D. (Heads Up Display), which lets viewers access running text commentary while watching the film and even view relevant behind-the-scenes footage in a picture-in-picture window; and the Tech Inspector, which delivers 360 detailed, high definition views of the heads, torsos and bases of six of the TRANSFORMERS with rotational capabilities.

The Blu-ray disc is presented in 1080p High Definition with English in Dolby True HD, and French and Spanish versions in 5.1 Dolby Digital.

The TRANSFORMERS Blu-ray includes the following special features:

Disc 1:--Feature film--Commentary by Director Michael Bay--TRANSFORMERS H.U.D. (Heads Up Display) -- In this mode, viewers can access running text-based behind-the-scenes background information on the production during the feature. Users can also watch relevant picture-in-picture b-roll and video with Bay, Spielberg and other filmmakers during select sequences.--BD-Live Features:--TRANSFORMERS Intelligence Mode--Menubots--TRANSFORMERS Profiler

Disc 2:--Our World--The Story Sparks - Steven Spielberg discusses his love for the franchise and early concept art for the film. Explores how the writers adapted the cartoon into a live-action movie and why Michael Bay is the perfect director for the film.--Human Allies - A look at how the actors were selected and their experiences on the set.--I Fight Giant Robots - An exploration of the military training that Josh Duhamel and Tyrese Gibson underwent for their roles and the various stunts that the actors were asked to perform.--Battleground - A piece on the senior officials from the Department of Defense and Air Force who consulted on the film to give it authenticity and the key locations that the U.S. government provided access to.

Their War--Rise of the Robots -- Explores the interaction between Hasbro designers and Michael Bay to bring the toy line roaring to life.--Autobots Roll Out -- Michael Bay discusses working with Chevy and its designers and the modifications that were made to the cars seen in the film.--Decepticons Strike -- The film's military advisors discuss the "toys" they allowed the production to borrow: F-22 Raptors, Ospreys and A-10 Warthogs.--Inside the AllSpark -- ILM's digital artists discuss the challenges of bringing the TRANSFORMERS to life.--TRANSFORMERS Tech Inspector -- Gives viewers an unprecedented look at the TRANSFORMERS robots through the exquisitely detailed models created by ILM artists. Users can zoom in on each detail for a closer examination and pause and change the rotation of the models.

--More Than Meets The Eye--From Script to Sand: The Skorponok Desert Attack -- An in-depth look at the making of this particularly epic and challenging scene from initial storyboarding through production and visual effects.--Concepts - Early sketch concepts of the robots.--Theatrical Trailers


Get ready for an all-new quadruple-length magical odyssey through your favorite fairytales with MICKEY MOUSE CLUBHOUSE: MICKEY'S STORYBOOK SURPRISES, premiering on Disney DVD September 2, 2008.

The stars in this latest DVD from the hit Playhouse Disney series are none other than Mickey and his pals Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto. This fun-loving gang takes on some classic fairytales, giving each their own individual twist. From enchanted spells and 100-year sleeps to magical frogs, the ingredients are all there for a thrilling journey through your very own storybook.

In never-before-seen episode "Minnie's Mystery," the gang needs your help to solve the mystery when some things mysteriously go missing from the Clubhouse. Who's been eating the cookies? It's time to help our heroes figure it out! In "Donald the Frog Prince," there's a twist on a magical tale as Donald is turned into a frog and only a kiss from the imprisoned Princess Daisy can rescue him. Inspired by another classic story in "Minnie Red Riding Hood," Mickey and Minnie set out to visit a sick Goofy, but face challenges along the way they must solve with imagination and teamwork. In "Sleeping Minnie," Mickey must collect the right tools to rescue Minnie from a 100-year sleep.

This DVD includes bonus interactive story telling game "Tales from Toodles" that allow you to create your own fairytales at home and read along with the gang. Toodles is waiting to show you the way.


Bring home the best trick-or-treat of the season with MY FRIENDS TIGGER & POOH: HUNDRED ACRE WOOD HAUNT, premiering on Disney DVD September 2, 2008.

No case is too hard for the Super Sleuths this spooky season! From scary thunderstorms to the quest for the perfect pumpkin, Tigger and Pooh and the gang are ready for action. With four Halloween-inspired stories and a bonus Halloween HANDY MANNY episode, Hundred Acre Wood haunt is the perfect gift for all little trick-or-treaters this fall.

In "Piglet's Lightening Frightening," it's fright time for Piglet as the Sleuths try to cheer him up during a scary thunderstorm. Join in with the songs and fun and help Piglet smile again. Competition is in the air with "Rabbit's Prized Pumpkin" when Rabbit finds a perfect pumpkin growing in his garden -- but can he protect it before the fair? It's off, off and away in "Eeyore's Trip to the Moon" when the Sleuths find a moon rock and build a rocket ship to return it to the moon.

The fun keeps going at home, where kids and parents can play along with the immersive game "Super Sleuth Fall Harvest Festival" where characters are dressed in their favorite holiday costumes, dunk for apples and more fun. Joining in the holiday mischief is everyone's favorite hombre HANDY MANNY in a bonus Halloween episode. Come celebrate Halloween with Manny and his gang of talking tools in Sheetrock Hills with spooky episodes the family will enjoy.


Could 2008 be the year when the Great Pumpkin arrives? Warner Home Video will let you stay up all night with longtime believer Linus to keep watch on All Hallow's Eve with the re-mastered release of IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN Deluxe Edition on DVD in an all-new packaging on September 2, 2008 for $19.98 SRP. The classic Peanuts Halloween TV special originally aired in 1966 and has remained a favorite, ranking #1 in its rebroadcast in 2007 amongst women 18-49.

PEANUTS has been one of the most beloved comic strips in the world since its birth in 1950 by creator Charles M. Schulz. Charlie Brown, Linus, Snoopy, Lucy and Sally captured the hearts of America on paper and were later starring in their very own TV specials. IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN Deluxe Edition has the gang in the spooky spirit, dressing up to go trick or treating and to crash Violet's spooktacular Halloween party.

While the crew goes out to collect their candy -- Charlie Brown in a ghost costume (with more eyeholes cut out then needed), Lucy dressed as a witch and Snoopy in a World War I fighting ace costume, Linus decides to hold vigil in the pumpkin patch as he awaits the Great Pumpkin. Sally was excited for Halloween, but is convinced by Linus to stay put with him for the evening and keep a look out. Will the great pumpkin arrive or will this be another spoiled Halloween for Linus and the pals? This beloved tale even has a new jack-o-lantern glow in this remastered deluxe edition with improved picture and audio.

Special Features Include:

--"We Need a Blockbuster, Charlie Brown" -- Documentary featurette focusing on the myth and tradition of the Halloween staple television program, IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN. Revealed along the way through original interviews with the Schulz family and producers are the pressures and challenges of following up an underdog hit with a bigger and better TV special.


From Warner Home Video, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy learn there are things even scarier than homework in this feature-length field trip into mystery and mayhem in SCOOBY-DOO AND THE GHOUL SCHOOL. The academic adventure begins when the boys sign on as gym teachers at Miss Grimwood's School for Ghouls -- only to discover the pupils are (zoinks!) daughters of the world's most frightfully famous monsters. But when the girl-ghouls are kidnapped by the evil Revolta and her spider-bat flunkies, our heroes spring into action to rescue their fiendish little friends in spectacular Scooby-Doo style.

In SCOOBY-DOO AND THE LEGEND OF THE VAMPIRE, on vacation in Australia, Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang attend a music festival held at Vampire Rock. But the music goes flat when the gang learns that a legendary Australian creature called the Yowie Yahoo is kidnapping the musical acts and turning them into vampires. Masquerading as a heavy metal band, Scooby-Doo and the gang must survive a trio of rock-and-roll vampires if they want to crack the outlandish Outback mystery surrounding The Legend of the Vampire.

ROBOTECH: SHADOW OF CHRONICLES Collector's Edition on Blu-ray

From Funimation Ent., Scott Bernard and Vince Grant fight to end a decades-long struggle against an enigmatic alien race known as the Invid. However, the mysterious disappearance of the legendary Admiral Hunter will unfold in a treacherous mystery that could tear apart our young heroes -- and threaten their very survival.

Featuring the voices of Mark Hamill (STAR WARS) and Chase Masterson (STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE), the animation of ROBOTECH: THE SHADOW CHRONICLES also takes a generational leap into the future through a technological marriage of CG graphics beautifully composited with vibrant anime characters. The heightened production values showcase high-definition video, 5.1 digital surround sound, and an incredible musical score performed by the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.


Marvel Enterprises and Lionsgate have released the DVD and Blu-ray debut of a new generation of super heroes in the Marvel Universe -- NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW. Make way for the rebirth of Earth's mightiest crime fighting organization as the children of the original team join forces in this new epic animated feature with greater kid appeal than ever before. NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW marks the very first PG-rated movie in the history of Marvel's animated features franchise and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on September 2, 2008 for the suggested retail prices of $19.98 and $29.99, respectively.

The new film introduces a younger generation of heroes: orphans bound only by their parents' former alliance known as The Avengers. Fostered by the misbehaved billionaire bachelor Tony Stark (aka Iron Man), four amazing teenagers with lineage to some of the most revered heroes of all time including Captain America, Black Widow, Thor, Black Panther, Wasp and Giant Man suddenly find themselves the earth's only hope in stopping a deadly foe. With the help of Marvel juggernaut The Incredible Hulk, the team will hone their powers and go head to head with the very enemy responsible for their parents' demise.

With an animation style and a storyline that stays true to its hugely popular comic roots -- a constant theme across all Marvel animated features -- the NEXT AVENGERS: HEROES OF TOMORROW DVD and Blu-ray special features include a unique behind the scenes look at the popular comic franchise with the featurette entitled "Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow." In addition, both the DVD and the Blu-ray will include the "Kid Power: Next Gen Marvel" featurette. The bonus features also include first looks at the upcoming titles HULK VS. WOLVERINE and HULK VS. THOR.

DVD and Blu-ray Special Features Include:

--"Legacy: The Making of Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow" featurette--A First Look at Hulk Vs. Wolverine--A First Look at Hulk Vs. Thor--"Kid Power: Next Gen Marvel"


The ironclad hit from Marvel Studios and Lionsgate, THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN, comes to Blu-ray September 2. The animated feature, originally released in January 2007, was one of the first releases in the successful Marvel Animated features series. Since its debut, this direct-to-DVD release has sold more than 1 million copies. THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN is an origin story that follows billionaire inventor Tony Stark as he raises a long-buried city in China and awakens an unspeakable evil that only the armor-clad Iron Man can destroy in a battle of modern technology versus eastern mythology.

The Blu-ray features a "marvel-ous" host of bonus features including an alternate opening sequence, an origin featurette, conceptual art and a gallery of Iron Man armor plus first looks at the upcoming Marvel Animated features, HULK VS. WOLVERINE and HULK VS. THOR.

Special Features Include:

--Alternate opening sequence--"The Origin of IRON MAN" featurette--The Hall of Iron Man Armor--IRON MAN Concept Art--A Look at Doctor Strange--First look at upcoming Marvel animated feature HULK VS. WOLVERINE--First look at upcoming Marvel animated feature HULK VS. THOR--Trailer Gallery