Spring DVD Flings

Warmer weather brings crafty critters and toon classics to DVD and Blu-ray.

Alice in Wonderland

Special Un-Anniversary Edition

[Disney, $29.99]

Now that Tim Burton’s beautiful, eerie adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale has swept audiences away, it’s the perfect time to relive Disney’s 1951 adaptation of the surreal fantasy. Fans can do so by picking up the remastered two-disc edition of the feature (directed by terrific trio Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske), which is packed to the rafters with never-before-seen bonus material.

In addition to following Alice (Kathryn Beaumont) on her psychedelic adventures and thrilling to the Oscar nom-earning score, home auds can take a peak at three featurettes (Reflections on Alice, on the team behind the magic; An Alice Comedy: Alice’s Wonderland; Operation Wonderland), deleted scene and song/concept materials, One Hour in Wonderland docu, games and interactive activities, TV intros and trailers, art galleries and more to get your very own mad tea party started. It’s not 3-D, but many believe that its charms are more irresistable than Burton’s blockbuster version.

[Release date: March 30]

Fantastic Mr. Fox

[Fox, $29.99]

Wes Anderson’s detail-rich stop-motion imagining of Roald Dahl’s short story has turned plenty of heads in the film world, attracting praise for its nearly touchable visuals, eclectic sound track and expertly matched A-list cast (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe’need we continue?).

The Oscar-nominated film follows Mr. Fox (Clooney), a not-so-reformed produce thief, as he leads his family and animal neighbors in a series of daring-dos and close shave escapes while outwitting three disgruntled farmers out for revenge. DVD comes with behind-the-scenes featurettes on the making of and animation, plus Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat. The Blu-ray version ($39.99) adds on Making Mr. Fox Fantastic, The Look Of Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Puppet Makers, The Cast, Bill And His Badger and Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World Of Roald Dahl. In the words of Mr. Fox himself, ”It’s pure wild animal craziness!”

[Release date: March 23]

The Lord of the Rings

(1978 Animated Version)

[Warner, $19.98]

Toon Town wild child Ralph Bakshi’s 1978 adaptation of Tolkien’s epic adventure trilogy makes a glorious remastered arrival on DVD and Blu-ray ($29.99) this month. Bakshi fulfilled his dream of creating the animated film version after approaching rights holders United Artists in the ’70s. The result of this ambition cobbles together the storylines of all three books–and all with a $4 million budget (it can be done, Peter Jackson)–and features the voice acting talents of Christopher Guard, William Squire, John Hurt and even Anthony “C-3PO” Daniels. Though bonus features are sparse, any animation or Tolkien afficianado would be hard pressed to turn down this high-quality release. In the hours you might’ve spent watching the live-action trilogy, you can pick up Unfiltered: The Complete Ralph Bakshi and flip through the pages of concept art for this enterprising project.

[Release date: April 6]

The Great Mouse Detective

Mystery in the Mist Edition

[Disney, $19.99]

Disney’s animated take on author Eve Titus’ Basil of Baker Street series is a fondly remembered favorite for children of the ’80s. Directed by Ron Clements, John Musker, Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener, the film was well received by critics and gave a good show at the box office, reinvigorating the studio’s animation wing after the disheartening fizzle of their previous release, The Black Cauldron. The flick follows Basil, a mouse and detective extraordinaire in 1890s London with more than a passing fondness for Sherlock Holmes, who is called upon to rescue a kidnapping victim and take down his arch nemesis, Ratigan (voiced by none other than Vincent Price), who is bent on taking over as ruler of the mice of England.

The Mystery in the Mist release boasts brand-new digital restoration and extras like the So You Think You Can Sleuth game, Making Of featurette and a sing along for ”The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind.” Put on your sleuthing shoes and pick up this delightful bit of ’80s nostalgia which, unlike most ’80s nostalgia, you can actually enjoy unironically.

[Release date: April 13]

Marvel Iron Man: The Complete Animated Series

Disney releases this iron-clad action series on May 4 for $29.99. Three discs, 25 episodes, one kick-butt show.



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