Last year I reviewed Prep and Landing as it made its DVD and Blu-ray debut. It was an incredible featurette that originally aired as a special on ABC. I loved the show and was impressed with how detailed and thorough it was. But it was essentially a short film at the price of a feature, which might give one pause. Enter Prep and Landing Naughty Vs. Nice. It’s a whole new adventure, just as good as the first one and they are now included in one Christmas package: the Totally Tinsel Collection. Also included are short shorts Tiny’s Big Adventure, a so so bonus feature and Secret Santa, a fun Mission: Impossible style short that is every inch as good as the features.
Prep and Landing is a division of the North Pole operations that makes sure each house is prepped and secure before Santa’s arrival on Christmas Eve. Wayne (Dave Foley) is finally up for a promotion when he is suddenly passed over by santa and teamed up with a rookie. The imbittered elf must learn to rise above his pettiness and rediscover the magic of Christmas, before he ruins it for others. In the next film, Naughty VS Nice, a new division is introduced and with it, a terrorist threat from a child who intends to be removed from the naughty list. Wayne teams up with a field expert from the naughty division and old conflicts arise that must be resolved in order for christmas to be saved. My favorite reindeer, Thrasher, also returns for a cameo in this one.
In addition to the two fine specials a fun reel of North Pole commercials is included. This is a set sure to become a holiday tradition. Here’s hoping they keep ’em coming.
I had the surprising pleasure of watching the new Blu-ray Diamond Edition release of the classic Walt Disney picture Cinderella. This is one of the best told and most enjoyable of all of Walt’s fairy tale adaptations. Some of those long loved Disney Classics are so far removed from the direct to DVD sequels they’ve spawned that returning to those childhood favorites is a real treat. These films truly stand the test of time.
Cinderella has all the charm, humor and beautiful artwork you can expect from Walt Disney, but it’s also one of his best animated features. I was never too interested in Cinderella, I remember some of the comedy bits, the suspenseful climax as the mice lug the key up the tower to rescue Cinderella before the Grand Duke leaves, and the songs, but I was more interested in The Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book at that age. Returning to this film as an adult I am really able to appreciate the artistry and the very clean storytelling.
The story of the little girl condemned to a life of servitude to her wicked step mother and two step sisters is filled with wonderful characters, visions, scenes and music that demands respect from an audience that has been exposed to recent cheaper takes on the Disney classics that lack so much of the heart and depth of the originals. It takes you through a typical day in Cinderella’s life as she trudges through her chores, but when the king announces a ball is to be held as a plan to get the Prince married she must try to find time in her busy schedule to prepare. Even with the help she receives from her mice friends, the Step sisters ruin her chance to go, but the Fairy Godmother arrives just in time, to give her the magical night that will change her destiny with that memorable song “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,”. One of my favorites is Cinderella’s rendition of “Sing Sweet Nightingale” in the bubbles while she washes the floors and the devious cat, Lucifer tracks dust all around her in the mean time.
Among the special features, of which there are many, is a short documentary on the “Real Fairy Godmother” The woman the character was based on who later became the Fairy Godmother of Burbank, for all of her charity work. You’ll also be delighted to find the hilarious short “Tangled Ever After” featuring Pascal and Max as the ring bearer and flower– um… lizard. You’ll also get a sneak peek behind the scenes at the amazing expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Let me just say it’s the best use of space since the creation of the park.