101 Dalmations: Diamond Edition (Movie Review)

101dalmatiansond-editionOne of the highest grossing films of all time, 101 Dalmatians boasted an animation process that saved Walt Disney and his illustrators from being rendered obsolete. Crafted in 1961, this film put Dodie Smith’s novel One Hundred and One Dalmations into motion, crafting a story about the Roger and Anita Radcliffe (Ben Wright and Lisa Davis) and their two dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita (Rod Taylor and Cate Bauer). Of course, Cruella de Vill (Betty Lou Gerson) might be the film’s most memorable character as the cruel, wealthy villain who wants to have the dalmatians’ pelts made into a coat she can wear. Put it all together, and you have an absolute knock out.

The audiences over three have probably seen the film before, about how the pups get stolen and their parents involve the “Twilight bark” in getting them back, about the parents’  love for their puppies that drives them to uncommon lengths to get them back. It’s a powerful story of perseverance and love, of friendship and community, that transcends their own time and place to be excellent … whenever they’re seen!

The Diamond Edition is ripe with puppy fodder about the film in ways that will tickle parents and entertain the younguns. First off the Blu-ray Bonus Features is a brand new short, “The Future Adventures of Thunderbolt,” starring the fictional (within the film) dog who the puppies love to cheer for while watching television. “Lucky Dogs,” an interview with several of the animators and Disney workers who efforted the film in the 1960s comes next (and is substantively more informative!) For the kiddies, Cameron Boyce hosts a “best of” featurette that explains pieces of the film with special tidbits (like the ‘Easter egg’ including the characters from Lady and the Tramp in one scene), and moves a bit faster than the more informative “Lucky Dogs.” Disney’s own affection for dogs seems proved in the 1961 special, “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World.” Here, he narrates several stories of different kinds of dogs (like the story of a sheepdog) with facts about dogs mixed in, as well as a preview of their ‘upcoming’ feature film, 101 Dalmatians.

If you’d prefer, you can check out the ‘classic’ bonus features, like trailers, radio spots, and the making-of featurette, “Redefining the Line,” thirty minutes worth of how the film worked in production (Disney’s first non-musical animated work) and the impact that it had (including on current Pixar guy, Brad Bird!) Of course, given that De Vil is one of the best villains of all time, her special will entertain most (if not all) viewers, showing how her voice, style, and animated depiction all make for a significant character in the Disney canon. There’s also a ‘re-creation’ of the correspondence between Disney and Smith, given that the letters have been made public for others to experience, like a documentary retelling of their collaboration – not unlike Saving Mr. Banks.

Overall, the movie that we loved as kids now has a stylish, informative package for us to dig into and understand. It’s solid – better than solid- and I highly recommend adding this to the Diamond Edition library that I’m sure you’re building. Rating: buy ite

On Social Media:
Stay connected with the latest news and information about ”101 Dalmatians”:
· “Like” us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Disney101Dalmatians
· Check out our Website and Mobile Site: http://www.disney.com/101dalmatians
· Visit www.Disneymoviesanywhere.com and download the DMA App at: http://di.sn/ttI

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About Jacob Sahms

I'm searching for hope in the midst of the storms, raising a family, pastoring a church, writing on faith and film, rooting for the Red Sox, and sleeping occasionally. Find me at ChristianCinema.com, Cinapse.co, and the brand new ScreenFish.net.
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