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Home Video

Paramount Announces Beavis & Butt-Head, South Park DVDs. Paramount Home Video will release Beavis & Butt-Head Do America on DVD in the US on November 23, 1999. In this animated feature, directed by Mike Judge, and based on his MTV show, Beavis and Butt-Head tour America. The DVD is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and includes two trailers. The retail price is US$29.99. The animated feature South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, directed by Matt Stone and based on his and Trey Parker's Comedy Central series, shows what happens to the South Park gang after they sneak into an R-rated movie. The DVD is letterboxed at 1.85:1 and includes three trailers. Also, Image Entertainment is releasing the movie on laser disc on November 23 for US$29.98.

A screen shot from the A Bug's Life - Collector's Edition DVD. Courtesy of Buena Vista Home Video.

Disney Announces Bug's Life Collector's Edition. Disney will release A Bug's Life - Collector's Edition DVD on November 23, 1999. The Disney/Pixar film, which crosses the Western The Magnificent Seven (a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai) with Aesop's The Ant And The Grasshopper, is about an inventive ant named Flik who hires what he believes are "warrior bugs" to defend his colony from a horde of freeloading grasshoppers. As with the Toy Story laserdisc box set, the supplemental features are plentiful:

Disc One: The Movie
Direct - digital transfer; two viewing options - widescreen (16x9 anamorphic) and full screen (1.33:1); Dolby digital 5.1 surround soundtrack; audio commentary featuring John Lasseter (director), Andrew Stanton co-director and co-writer) and Lee Unkrich (supervising film editor); isolated music track - 2.0 stereo; isolated sound effects track - Dolby Digital 5.1 surround

Disc Two: Supplemental Material
Academy Award-winning short, Geri's Game; introductions and explanations by the filmmakers; early presentation reel (Fleabie); original story treatment and pitch boards; character designs, concept art and color script; deleted sequences; storyboard-to-final film split-screen comparison; behind-the-scenes featurette on the creation of A Bug's Life; behind-the-scenes look at voice talent; early production tests; production progression demonstration; sound engineer Gary Rydstrom on the movie's sound design; trailers and posters (domestic and international); a behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was recomposed from its original widescreen presentation to a full frame presentation for home video release; plus both sets of credit sequence outtakes, and a behind-the-scenes look at their production. Retail price is US$49.99.

Disney Announces Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas. On December 7, 1999, Disney is releasing Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas on DVD. This all-new, full-length video features three tales starring Mickey, Donald and Goofy, each one about Christmas. In the first story, Mickey and Minnie recall the year they both gave up what was most important to them for the sake of the other, making for one unforgettable Christmas. In the second story, Goofy and Max remember when they experienced a series of hilarious, but faith-shaking events - and a visit from the real Santa made it a most magical holiday. In the third story, Donald's nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie learn what true holiday spirit is all about. Retail price is US$39.99.

Image Announces Iron Giant On Laser Disc. Image Entertainment is releasing Warner Bros.' The Iron Giant, the critically acclaimed film directed by Brad Bird, on laser disc on December 7, 1999. The laser disc will be letterboxed at 1.85:1 (the film was about 2.35:1), and retail for US$29.98. There will not be any extras. The Iron Giant, based on a children's book by Ted Hughes, is about a boy who befriends an alien robot in 1950s America.

Read Brad Bird's article "Director and After Effects: Storyboarding Innovations on The Iron Giant" in the November 1998 issue of Animation World Magazine.

You can also read an interview with acclaimed director Brad Bird, "Lean, Mean Fighting Machine: How Brad Bird Made The Iron Giant."

Harryhausen's Sinbad Comes To DVD. Columbia TriStar Home Video is releasing Ray Harryhausen's first color and independently produced feature, 1958's The 7th Voyage Of Sinbad, on DVD in the US on November 30, 1999. Extras include a documentary called The Ray Harryhausen Chronicles; This Is Dynamation, a documentary about Ray Harryhausen's animation techniques; A Look Behind The Voyage And Jason And The Argonauts, two interviews; and textual supplements on the cast and crew, including Harryhausen, director Nathan Juran, Kerwin Matthews (Sinbad), Kathryn Grant (the princess) and Torin Thatcher (the evil wizard). Retail price has not yet been announced, but will probably be about US$26.00.

Heavy Metal Rough Cut Comes To DVD! Columbia-Tri Star Home Video is releasing a collector's edition DVD of Heavy Metal which was supervised by Gerald Potterton and released in 1981. Those who bought the laser rot-prone laserdisc that was released three years ago will want to purchase this new release even if their LD remains in pristine condition. The movie is digitally remastered and in widescreen, with anamorphic video. Hopefully, that means it has a new transfer that, unlike the previous widescreen release, does not cut off the top and bottom of the image. It also includes a feature length rough cut with optional commentary by Carl Macek, author of Heavy Metal: The Movie. The rough cut version of Heavy Metal is said to have been significantly different from the final version to warrant releasing it. Other features include: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0; the documentary Imagining Heavy Metal, deleted scenes; production photo gallery; Heavy Metal magazine cover gallery; Neverland deleted scene, which was also included on the previous VHS and LD releases; pencil tests; a single and layered cels portfolio; a conceptual art gallery; production notes; Carl Macek reading his book, Heavy Metal: The Movie; and subtitles in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The retail price is US$27.95, and the street date is November 23, 1999.

Some Additional Announcements About The Iron Giant DVD. In our previous announcement about the Iron Giant laser disc release, we said that it will have a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, whereas the film was released with a 2.35:1. In addition, when we announced the DVD and VHS releases three weeks ago, we neglected to mention that the DVD, as well as the widescreen VHS release, will also be 1.85:1. It's unfortunate that none of these will be 2.35:1 because Brad Bird designed The Iron Giant partly in homage to the CinemaScope films of the 1950s, and he even wanted to include "CinemaScope" on the movie poster as a gag, but Fox, owner of the trademark, refused permission. Here is the information about the releases again, which includes some new information. The VHS will come in three versions. One version will be pan & scan, another will be pan & scan in a clamshell box with an Iron Giant action figure, and there will also be a widescreen version. The Iron Giant DVD will include letterboxed (1.85:1) and pan & scan versions of the movie, be 16X9, have AC3 and 5.1 surround sound, and be region 1 (North America) encoded. It will also include the following extras: The Making Of The Iron Giant, the 22-minute documentary that was shown on television the week before the film was released; a "Cha Hua Hua" music video; a theatrical trailer; and for DVD-ROM players: screen savers, posters and games. Also, we are now being told that the DVD will "possibly" include an audio commentary, deleted scenes and gags. The Iron Giant DVD and VHS will be released on November 23, 1999. Each VHS version will retail for US$22.99 and the DVD will retail for US$24.99. For definitions of DVD technical terms such as "16X9" and "aspect ratio" visit the DVD Lexicon at www.dvdjournal.com.

Image Releases Three Hubley DVDs. The Hubley Studio has created some of the most innovative and challenging animation in the history of the art form. Beginning with the partnership of John and Faith Hubley, and continuing with Faith and Emily Hubley, they have received countless awards and international acclaim. Earlier this year, Image Entertainment released their first Hubley DVD, Art And Jazz In Animation. Now, they offer three more. Hubley Collection #1 includes Enter Life (1981), Upside Down (1991), Who Am I? (1989), Blake Ball (1988), Time Of The Angels (1987), People, People, People (1975), W.O.W. Women Of The World (1975), Amazonia (1989), Yes We Can (1988), Moonbird (1959), Tall Time Tales (1992), Windy Day (1967), and Cloudland (1993). Hubley Collection #2 includes Seers And Clowns (1994), Sky Dance (1979), Cockaboody (1973), Hello (1984), Step By Step (1978), Rainbows Of Hawai'i (1995), The Big Bang And Other Creation Myths (1981), Zuckerkandl (1968), Whither Weather (1977), and Her Grandmother's Gift (1995). Everybody Rides The Carousel: The Hubley Collection includes the 72 minute Everybody Rides The Carousel (1975). The film, which was made for and shown on CBS television, is based on the theories of psychologist Eric Ericson and depicts the life stages through which everyone must pass. The DVD also includes the Academy Award-nominated A Doonesbury Special (1977), a TV special based on Garry Trudeau's comic strip, and My Universe Inside Out (1996), Faith Hubley's animated self-portrait. Unlike the earlier Art And Jazz In Animation DVD, which includes several films transferred from faded and somewhat worn prints, even the older films on each of these collections look great. It's especially nice to see that Moonbird, one of the most celebrated of the Hubley films, and the oldest of the films on these three collections (1959), looks almost new, a significant improvement over its previous home video appearance which was on Academy Award Winners: Animated Short Films. Each collection retails for US$24.99 and none are region coded.

AtomFilms Releases Short Film Compilations. AtomFilms, which distributes short films both online and offline, has released two compilations of short films: Definitely Not Hollywood: The Dark Comedy Edition and Definitely Not Hollywood: The Extreme Comedy Edition. The former is exclusively live-action, but the latter is a collection of both live-action and animated shorts. The animated films, which are in the sick and twisted tradition, are Louie The Fly and Dog Fishing by Joe Byrnes, Living With Ridalyn by Ron Noble, The Hangnail by Shane Acker, and several short installments of a series called The Sid The Sidesplitter Show. However, the best films on the collection are live-action, including Fast Food, a Martin Scorsese spoof, and Boy Next Door, in which a brother and sister compete for the affection of the title character. The other films are Saving Ryan's Privates and Jackpot. Most of these films will also be available for viewing at a later date on the AtomFilms website at www.atomfilms.com. Meanwhile, the VHS retails for US$14.99 and the DVD retails for US$19.99

Note: Readers may contact any Animation World Magazine contributor by sending an e-mail to editor@awn.com.