Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “101 Dalmations (2-Disc Platinum Edition)”

(Disney. 1961/2008. 79 minutes. 2 Discs. Color. Rated G.) Voices of Rod Taylor, Betty Lou Gerson, Cate Bauer, Lisa Daniels, Ben Wright, many others. Available 3/04.

If the only version of 101 Dalmatians your kids (or you) know is the live-action movie with Glenn Close, you should still enjoy this Disney classic. With digital restoration and enhanced sound, plus tons of extras, there’s plenty to savor. The movie marks a change from the “romantic” style of animation to the “flat” style that had become popular on Saturday morning TV (think Fred Flintstone). The Xerox machine was also new at the time, and the Disney animators made use of the technology in order to make cartoons faster and cheaper, saying goodbye to the all-hand-drawn, hand-inked method. Still, the film is very enjoyable and boasts one of the most fun and clever opening title sequences ever. Needless to say, you also get Disney’s best villain, male or female: Cruella De Vil, flamboyant as she is nasty, out to kidnap those 101 doggies in order to make fur coats out of all those spots. Interesting extras include making-of featurettes, deleted songs, games, and pop-up trivia facts. Unsurprisingly (and unnecessary), there’s a new video version of the “Cruella” song. Skip it. Watch the rest.

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