Valiant, Kronk, Simpsons on Disc

As the holidays approach, the studios are turning out plenty of gift ideas for the animation fan on your list. Today alone sees a plethora of debuts that leads off with Disney’s presentation of Vanguard Animation’s Valiant, Disney’s new direct-to-video spin-off, Kronk’s New Groove, and the complete seventh season of The Simpsons. And let’s not forget the new Mystery Inc. adventure, Scooby-Doo in Where’s My Mummy?

Reased theatrically by Disney over the summer, Valiant did little business at the North American box office but should fare better in the lucrative family home video market. The adventure-comedy tells the story of a lowly wood pigeon who overcomes his small size to become a hero in Great Britain’s Royal Air Force Homing Pigeon Service during the Second World War. Ewan McGregor (The Island, Star Wars Episodes I-III) voices the title character, leading a star-studded cast that includes Sir Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog) Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge), Rupert Everett (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe), John Hurt (Harry Potter films) Hugh Laurie (ABC’s House) and Ricky Gervais (HBO’s Extras). DVD bonus features include a blooper reel and a Valiant Training Challenge game with three different levels to play. The Buena Vista Home Entertainment release lists for $29.99.

Disney’s 2000 animated theatrical release, The Emperor’s New Groove, introduced audiences to loveable henchman Kronk, who takes center stage in this sequel of sorts, which recently received an Annie Award nomination for Best Home Entertainment Production. Patrick Warburton reprises the role of Kronk, who has realized his lifelong dream of becoming a chef and camp counselor. But when his father (voiced by John Mahoney from TV’s Frasier) comes to visit, he has to win Pop’s approval by pretending he has settled down with a wife and family. David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt and Wendie Malick also revisit their respective roles for this outing, which also features the voice of Tracey Ullman. The disc’s $29.99 suggested retail price also includes such extras as a making-of featrette and the interactive activities Kronk’s Brain Game and Pyramid Scheme.

The Simpsons: The Complete Seventh Season is a four-disc set offering 23 episodes from the 1995 season of the long-running FOX animated series. Featured installments include ‘Treehouse of Horror VI,’ in which Homer enters a 3D world and becomes a CG model. Packaged in a limited-edition Marge head box, the set offers episode commentary, animation showcases, deleted scenes, a sketch gallery and the featurettes Invitation From Matt Groening, Homer and the Third Dimension and Paul and Linda’s Lentil Soup. Fox Home Entertianment lists the set at $49.98.

Those meddling kids and their snack-scarfing Great Dane are back in another direct-to-video feature titled Scooby-Doo in Where’s My Mummy? Produced by Warner Bros. Animation, this latest mystery takes the gang to Egypt, where archeologist Velma discovers the hidden tomb of Cleopatra and unleashes the cursed army of the undead. Bonus materials include Raiders of the Lost Lunch, a National Geographic Kids featurette, which has Scooby-Doo and Shaggy discover King Tut’s tomb in Egypt while in search of an ancient banquet. There’s also a behind-the-scenes look at voice recording sessions with Casey Kasem (Shaggy) and other cast members, a Scooby-Doo rap music video and the interactive challenge Escape From The Ankh Chamber. The Turner Home Entertainment release carries a suggested retail price of $24.98.