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March 2002 Select Animation And Visual Effects DVD Releases

From a boy whose love is real, even if he is not, to a singing, bell-ringing hunchback, March video releases have something for everyone.

March 5, 2002

A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Special Edition.Love it or hate it, you cant deny that the Academy Award-nominated visual effects in this film make it worth watching. Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law play super-intelligent robots in this futuristic fairytale from director Steven Spielberg. The DVD features include a documentary detailing how A.I. was brought to the screen, a look at the production design, interviews with Steven Spielberg, Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law, behind-the-scenes featurettes on the design, lighting and costumes, an in-depth look at the development and creation of the robots including a behind-the-scenes visit to Stan Winston Studios, the creation of various special effects on the set with effects supervisor Michael Lantieri, interviews with Dennis Muren and Scott Farrar of ILM about blending the animation with the live-action, a visit to Skywalker Sound with sound designer Gary Rydstrom, storyboard sequences, production drawings, photo gallery and theatrical trailers. Suggested retail price: Special Edition 2-disc DVD $22.95.

SCOOBY DOO AND THE RELUCTANT WEREWOLFWarner Home Video brings an all-new feature length Scooby-Doo adventure direct to DVD and VHS. Count Dracula transforms Shaggy into a werewolf. To be returned to his former self, Shaggy and Scooby must win a cross-country race against a horde of celebrity monsters. DVD special features include "How To Draw Scooby Doo," a Scooby-Doo music video and "The Race Goes On" game.DVD suggested retail price: $19.98; VHS $14.95.

JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE Special EditionSet in a fictionalized version of the recent past, a repressive Japanese government is battling the Sect, a violent revolutionary organization that uses adolescent girls they call "Red Riding Hoods" as couriers. The special edition DVD features include special edition gatefold keepsake packaging, two disc DVD set plus the soundtrack by Hajime Mizoguchi on a separate CD, trailers, interviews with the cast, director Hiroyuki Okiura and writer Mamoru Oshii among others, 12-page booklet and a production art gallery. Presented in widescreen anamorphic format.Suggested retail price: Special Edition 2-disc DVD $59.98.Movie only version also available. Suggested retail price: DVD $29.98.

Fred Patten reviews the latest anime releases including JIN-ROH: THE WOLF BRIGADE.

March 12

TOM & JERRY: THE MAGIC RING and TOM & JERRY: THE MOVIEHere are two more feature length direct-to-video releases from Warner Home Video. In THE MAGIC RING, Tom & Jerry run into all sorts of trouble when a sorcerers magical ring gets stuck on Jerrys head. DVD features include "How To Draw Tom & Jerry," two new games, a "Making Of" featurette and two bonus TOM & JERRY cartoons. TOM & JERRY: THE MOVIE special features include "The Race Is On" game and two bonus TOM & JERRY cartoons. Both films are available on DVD or VHS. Suggested retail price: DVD $19.98; VHS $14.95.

March 19

SAMURAI JACKThe feature film that introduced the Cartoon Network series tells the history of the character Samurai Jack. Bonus features include an episode of SAMURAI JACK, "Behind the Sword" documentary featuring creator Genndy Tartakovsky and "The Making Of Samurai Jack" from drawing board to television.Suggested retail price: DVD $19.98; VHS $14.95.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAMEPreviously available on VHS, the original HUNCHBACK is now being released on DVD for the first time to coincide with the new direct-to-video release of its sequel. Special features include commentary by producer Don Hahn and directors Kirk Wise & Gary Trousdale, the making of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Topsy Turvy Underground" game and sing-along with the song "Topsy Turvy." Presented in widescreen anamorphic format.Suggested retail price: DVD $29.99.

THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME II This direct-to-video sequel to the 1996 Disney animated adaptation of Victor Hugos novel finds Quasi, the hero hunchback (voiced again by Tom Hulce), falling for a magicians assistant named Madeline (Jennifer Love Hewitt). DVD features include "A Gargoyle's Life," a musical tribute to gargoyles featuring Jason Alexander, the "Festival of Fun" puppet show game and a behind the scenes featurette.Suggested retail price: DVD $29.99; VHS $24.99.

LARRYBOY AND THE ANGRY EYEBROWSThis Flash animated direct-to-video series about a superhero cucumber is brought to you by VEGGIETALES creators Big Idea Productions and animation producers Cornerstone Animation. Cornerstone recently completed work on Disney's RETURN TO NEVER LAND, and has produced several animated sequences for THE TIGGER MOVIE and the direct-to-video feature THE LITTLE MERMAID II. This is the first episode in a series of four to be released in 2002. Directed by former Disney lead animator Tom Bancroft.Suggested retail price: DVD $19.99; VHS $12.99.

Michael Hurwicz investigates the ways some animated properties like VEGGIETALES have been able to rack up big licensing and merchandising success without the usual exposure of television or a feature film release.