Pinocchio 3K, 3 Wise Men Arrive

With Star Wars: Episode III–Revenge of the Sith sure to dominate DVD sales this week and beyond, distributors Lions Gate Family Home Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment are hoping there are some consumer dollars left over for their respective direct-to-video animated releases, Pinocchio 3000 and The 3 Wise Men. There’s more fun in threes as a trio of Alvin and the Chipmunks holiday specials hit disc, along with episodes of anime favorite Duel masters.

Produced by CinéGroupe, the CG-animated Pinocchio 3000 features the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Howie Mandel and Malcolm McDowell in a futuristic retelling of the classic story of a puppet who longs to become a real boy. In this version, Pinocchio is a super robot who is tricked into helping the evil Scamboli (MacDowell) turn all children into automatons. With the help of friends Geppetto, Spencer (Mandel) and Cyberina (Goldberg), our hero must challenge Scamboli and learn valuable lessons about what it means to be real.

Pinocchio 3000 is directed by Daniel Robichaud, a renowned animation director and digital artist whose credits include Titantic, The Fifth Element, Terminator 2: 3D and Apollo 13. The DVD lists for $19.98.

Available today exclusively at Wal-Mart stores is Disney’s The 3 Wise Men, a DVD premiere Christmas feature that employs 3D animation to tell the tale of the three wise men who followed the Star of Bethlehem to the birthplace of Jesus. Co-produced by Arenas Ent., Carrère Group and Tele Madrid, the family flick is directed by Antonio Navarro and animated at Mexico’s Animagicstudio by a crew led by Disney veterans who worked on Fantasia 2000, Hercules and Tarzan.

Taking some liberties with the biblical story, The 3 Wise Men has Melchior, Gaspar and Balthazar set out on a journey across the dessert to retrieve the royal gifts designated for the King of Kings before tyrannical ruler Herod takes them for himself. Along the way, they meet up with a handsome soldier and a beautiful rebel warrior who help battle the deadly scorpions, vicious wolves and giant dragons conjured by Herod’s evil counselor, Belial. The 76-minute film screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004 and had a limited release in Europe last year.

The film’s English-language voice track was recorded by Martin Sheen (TV’s The West Wing) and son Emilio Estevez (The War at Home). Other voices were provided by platinum recording artist Lupillo Rivera, Latin Grammy winning Christian recording artist Marcos Witt, Spanish-language TV star Jose Luis Rodriguez, Mexican TV star Kuno Becker, Christian recording artist Jaci Valesquez and popular Latino theatre troupe Culture Clash. The original Spanish-language track is also available on the disc, which can be purchased only at Wal-Mart for $19.99.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: A Chipmunk Christmas includes three holiday episodes that originally aired in 1981, 1988 and 1989. In one of the adventures, Alvin gets into the giving spirit and offers his cherished harmonica to a sick little boy, unaware that Dave has booked him to perform a harmonica solo at Carnegie Hall. The Paramount Home Entertainment release carries a suggested retail price of $14.99.

Also from Paramount comes Duel Masters: The Day the Duel Stood Still and Duel Masters: Frankly Shobu, I Don’t Give a Duel. These compilations of episodes from the hit anime TV series offer bonus adventures, demos of the Duel Masters trading card game and bloopers and outtakes from the show and list for $16.99 each on DVD.