ReelTalk Movie Reviews  

New Reviews
Jurassic World Domini...
Jazz Fest: A New Orle...
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue ...
more movies...
New Features
Poet Laureate of the Movies
Happy Birthday, Mel Brooks
Score Season #71
more features...
ReelTalk Home Page
Contact Us
Advertise on ReelTalk

Listen to Movie Addict Headquarters on internet talk radio Add to iTunes

Buy a copy of Confessions of a Movie Addict

Main Page Movies Features Log In/Manage

Rate This Movie
 Above AverageAbove AverageAbove AverageAbove Average
 Below AverageBelow Average
Rated 3.01 stars
by 280 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Disney: Something Old, Something New
by Adam Hakari

When it comes to the nostalgia market, Walt Disney is a tough act to follow. Movies, toys, and theme parks bearing Uncle Walt's moniker are among the first examples of pop culture that kids are exposed to, with these images having long since proven their stamina in the public eye. This becomes especially obvious when fans rejoice at an animated masterpiece being released once again from the House of Mouse's notorious "vault" or when the studio announces an old favorite franchise's return for the enjoyment of a new generation. Whether or not these movies hold up is another matter, but Disney's track record is such that whenever they release something, at least a dedicated few will be there right away to size things up. The studio likes to cover its bases, as evidenced by three of their latest Blu-ray titles, with one film being a blast from the past, another having its gaze trained firmly on the future, and the third a quick visit with some old friends.

ALADDIN (1992). Nothing ruled my generation's childhood quite like a Disney movie, and before The Lion King took over as leader of the pack, Aladdin was the one that had our undivided attention. This tale of young street thief Aladdin (voice of Scott Weinger) helping save a mythical kingdom with the assistance of a magical genie (voice of Robin Williams) dazzled our eyes, ears, and imaginations like no one's business. The setting is enchanting, the animation absolutely rich, and the tunes -- whether it's "A Whole New World" or "Friend Like Me" -- remain some of the most enduring in Disney's catalogue. The movie also introduced what would soon become one of the studio's all-time classic creations in the Genie, brought to life with just enough of Williams' signature improv style so as to keep the kids giggling without sacrificing his natural, welcoming warmth. The story is stocked with the traditional life lessons ("be yourself," "never stop dreaming," "keep others in mind," etc.), but they're delivered in earnest, wrapped up within a fascinating world that the little ones will be too distracted by to notice anything that reeks of a lecture. Bright and zany, sweet and sincere, Aladdin remains as fulfilling an experience now as it was circa 1992.


-The Genie Outtakes, featuring alternate recordings of Robin Williams performing one of his most beloved roles.

-Aladdin: Creating Broadway Magic, which traces the story's path from screen to stage.

-Unboxing Aladdin, with the Disney Channel's Joey Bragg listing off some Aladdin-related trivia.

-Genie 101, where actor Scott Weinger takes the viewer through the Genie's multitude of impressions and personality swaps.

-Ron & John: You Ain't Never Had a Friend Like Me, a discussion between Aladdin directors Ron Clements and John Musker.

-Deleted songs.

-Deleted scenes.

-Music videos.


-Behind-the-scenes featurettes.

-A DVD copy of the feature film.

TOMORROWLAND (2015).  Since the beginning of Uncle Walt's tenure, promoting the virtues of imagination has been at the top of the Disney empire's to-do list. Films of both animated and live-action origin that boasted technological innovations were frequently infused with stories meant to inspire viewers to blaze their own trails in life. Unfortunately, for a picture that had every indication of serving as the big-screen culmination of Walt's go-getting philosophy, Tomorrowland suffers from having its head too wedged in the clouds. It's clear that much optimism (and expense) was put into creating this sci-fi adventure, which features Britt Robertson as a girl who's introduced to an alternate world inhabited by society's best and brightest thinkers. But director Brad Bird (The Incredibles) and crew paint themselves into a corner by introducing such huge stakes (nothing short of the fate of the world is on the line), it's hard to buy the power of positive thinking alone saving the day. The flick is packed to the gills with retro gadgetry, big ideas, and a gee-whiz demeanor, but because so few of them influence the narrative in the slightest, its pro-progress preaching comes off with all the impact of a really shiny motivational poster. Tomorrowland's heart is undoubtedly in the right place (and the nigh-endless array of gizmos never ceases to look really cool), but its flights of fantasy only trivialize the very real concerns it wants to prepare its viewers to address.


-Remembering the Future, wherein director Brad Bird and co-writer Damon Lindelof discuss their shared optimism for the future that fueled the film.

-The World of Tomorrow Science Hour, outtakes from a proposed TV series hosted by chief villain David Nix (Hugh Laurie).

-An animated short promoting the imaginative vision of Tomorrowland's founders.

-A commercial featuring a knick-knack shop seen in the film.

-Behind-the-scenes featurettes about the casting and scoring processes.

-Production diaries.

-Deleted scenes (with filmmaker introductions).

-A DVD copy of the feature film.

TOY STORY THAT TIME FORGOT (2014). Action figure Buzz Lightyear (voice of Tim Allen) was enough of a handful when he thought  he was a real spaceman...but what about a whole army of playthings with an identity crisis? This is just the situation that Buzz, Woody (voice of Tom Hanks), and their pint-sized pals encounter in Toy Story That Time Forgot, an animated short that has the gang meeting a tribe of dinosaur warriors who've never been played with. Clocking in at just over twenty minutes, this is indeed a quick watch, but although the usual Pixar brain trust wasn't behind it, this special retains the kind of charm fans have come to expect from the franchise. The "Battlesaurs" themselves totally look like the sort of toy kids would go nuts for in reality, the laughs are consistent (the Christmas tree ornament cat is a comedy gold mine), and the plot cleverly espouses the value of creativity. The short isn't always the most subtle at what it does, but the quality of its writing and animation are enough to assure you that it's far from some cheap cash grab trying to stoke audience interest in the series before the next sequel hits screens. Toy Story That Time Forgot is a welcome treat, a funny little adventure that hits your sentimental sweet spot in a jiffy.


-A behind-the-scenes discussion with the filmmakers over creating the Battlesaurs culture.

-A featurette with the Toy Story crew taking the short to San Diego's Comic-Con.

-A karaoke song.

-An introduction to the fictional Battlesaurs cartoon.

-Filmmaker commentary.

-Deleted scenes.

© 2024 - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Website designed by Dot Pitch Studios, LLC