Disney’s ‘Princess’ holds court over DVD releases
BY SEAN O’CONNELL
HollywoodNews.com stays on top of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases so you know which films are worth your time and money. This week, we recommend:
‘The Princess and the Frog’ (Blu-ray)
Too much was made in the media about Disney’s decision to introduce its first African-American character as the lead of “The Princess and the Frog,” now out on spectacular Blu-ray and standard DVD. That seemingly groundbreaking “news” overshadowed the real story: “Princess” is less of a trendsetter and more of a return to the traditional, character-driven animation the Mouse House made in its early 1990s prime.
“Dreamgirls” star Anika Noni Rose voices Tiana, a Bayou beauty whose dreams of operating her own restaurant are derailed when she kisses a frog and grows her own flippers. The animation (by Ron Clements and John Musker) is vivacious, the Oscar-nominated tunes (by Randy Newman) possess the right tinge of New Orleans sass, and the humorous life lessons are universal.
As per usual, Disney pulls out all of the stops for its Blu-ray treatment. As I’ve written in the past, animation looks amazing in pristine Blu-ray, and “Princess” is no exception. The three-disc set includes a digital copy, a DVD print and a Blu-ray conversion. Supplements include deleted scenes, “Making of” clips, segments on 2-D animation and the Disney legacy, art galleries, music videos, “Portraits” games and much, much more.
The movie – *** out of 4
The DVD – **** out of 4
Less sophisticated than Disney’s “Princess,” the sci-fi comedy adventure “Planet 51” casts Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as an astronaut out of place on a distant land populated by civil (but scared) green aliens.
Scientists argue that there’s intelligent life in outer space. You won’t find much of it in “Planet,” however, as director Jorge Blanco and writer Joe Stillman allow outdated toilet jokes and gross references to ground the production. The DVD sort of makes up for the disappointing film, packing three extended scenes, two featurettes, a music video montage, a “Run Rover Run” game and more onto a single-disc release from Sony.
The movie – ** out of 4
The DVD – *** out of 4