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THE LONE RANGER

Disney’s The Lone Ranger rides into cinemas everywhere this weekend bringing a updated take on the classic TV show masked avenger to modern audiences. The film is a success and a failure to varying degrees. How much you feel of one or the other probably depends on your ability to just let go and have a good time. Although dark at times, the film isn’t meant to be taken too seriously and certainly pokes fun at some of the conventions we expect in a Lone Ranger story. Once you figure out who the villain is, and he reveals himself fairly early on, the pieces fall into place and the rest of the film is a can be enjoyed for what it is – well produced Hollywood fun.

Like Johnny Depp, I grew up watching reruns of the classic TV show edition of The Lone Ranger. The villains were inevitably corrupt businessmen and politicians or the standard mustache twirling dreamer up of evil plots. Tonto did his best to keep the outlaw lawman John Reid out of trouble and often swooped in for a well timed attack to save the masked avenger’s life. It was inspiring stuff to an 8 year old.

Sadly, I can’t recommend today’s 8-year olds watch this new edition of The Lone Ranger. The PG-13 rating is to be taken seriously for both violent scenes and fairly heavy subject matter.

Frankly, I don’t get why Disney is marketing The Lone Ranger to young kids with Halloween costumes, action figures, and the like. Was the part about cutting out and eating the still beating heart of one of the heroes not in the script when merchandise got their hands on it?

On the other hand, I recent sat through World War Z, a fairly graphic and bloody zombie attack movie, with a young kid right in front of me. He suffered no ill effect and was even suggesting dinner options on the way out of the theater (he must have had an iron stomach to go with his tolerance for horror and gore). But I digress.

THE LONE RANGER

Ostensibly about the journey John Reid takes to become The Lone Ranger, the movie actually dedicates more pages of the script to Tonto’s backstory. It makes sense since a large portion of the plot is driven by elements in Tonto’s life. The two start off as adversaries, but by the end of the film are ready to work together as a team to right the wrongs and bring the bad guys to justice.

bedknobs

There are few of my favorite childhood movies that hold as special a place as BedKnobs And Broomsticks. Although it was produced after Walt Disney’s death, it continued the Mary Poppins tradition of combining live action with animation, brought on wonderful actors like Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson, and was chockful of musical tunes to boot. What more could a budding Disney fan want?

How about the new Enchanted Musical Edition DVD? It’s restored and remastered and ready to occupy that empty spot on your shelf.

We have the Sherman Brothers to thank for the songs for the film, including The Age of Not Believing, Portobello Road, and The Beautiful Briny Sea. If that strikes your memory bone, then you’ll want to make sure you watch the best special feature — Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers. Inside Angela Lansbury narrates the history of the development of the songs and you’ll enjoy a rare listen at a song never before heard.

Also knew is the “Wizard of Special Effects” feature that walks viewers through the special effects of the movie and compares them with Disney’s current wizard TV show, The Wizards of Waverly Place.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a must have for any Disney fan. The Enchanted Musical Edition DVD captures the family entertainment value you expect from the team at Walt Disney Pictures.

More details of the DVD below the jump:

petesdragondvd

It’s hard to review Pete’s Dragon without conflating it with my youthful memories of being a Disney fan. I was 7 or 8 and remember wishing that I too had a dragon like Elliot. Somewhere along the way the film became closely tied to my feelings about Disney as an adult too. “Candle on the Water” has always been one of my favorite Disney songs. Plus, seeing the the Elliot float in Disneyland’s Main Street Electrical Parade always elicits a feeling of joy, because it’s such an amazing float (makes me want to shout “Brazzle Dazzle!” right now), and sadness because seeing Elliot always the parade was nearly over.
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It goes without saying that Pete’s Dragon is a family friendly film everyone can enjoy. I watched it with my son and found him humming along to the songs even though he’d never seen the move before. For a film made in 1976 the effects are remarkably advanced, you’ll want to check out the special feature narrated by Pete (Sean Marshall) as he explains the history of Disney’s technical film wizardly that allows animation and live action to mix. This goes all the way back to Walt Disney’s first “Alice” shorts featuring Virginia Davis, who just passed away.

The combination of animation and live-action bring the magical friendship between Pete, a young orphan, and his unusual best friend to life in Pete’s Dragon High Flying Edition, now out on DVD from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. Adventure, comedy and soaring musical numbers will charmed children and adults alike. And there is nearly an hour of brand-new bonus features, including a look at Disney’s live action/animation legacy, alternate versions of some of the film’s most beloved songs and much more.

Pete’s Dragon was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Music, Original Song and Best Music, Original Song Score and Its Adaptation or Best Score). The film boasts an extraordinary cast that includes Sean Marshall (“To Race the Wind”), Helen Reddy (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), Mickey Rooney (Night at the Museum), Jeff Conaway (Grease), Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure), Jim Dale (“Pushing Daisies”) and Red Buttons (“ER”), with Charlie Callas as the voice of Elliot the Dragon.

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Also among the features is a classic Donald Duck short called “Lighthouse Keeping.” It features Donald, a crafty seagull, and a light house light that just won’t stay lit. I also really enjoyed the two excepts “Disney Family Album” and “The Plausible Impossible.” Always nice to see Walt Disney in his element entertaining the audience.

Follow below the jump for a complete list of features.