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101 Dalmatians

Animation and Kids & Family movie

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Puppies, Puppies, and Puppies Galore!

  • Mar 1, 2008
Rating:
+3
Based upon a story by Dodie Smith, 101 DALMATIANS is the story about a Dalmatian couple, Pongo and Perdita, and their litter of fifteen puppies. The wicked Cruella De Vil has a keen interest in the Dalmatian puppies because she wants to make a Dalmation-skinned coat, but only her henchmen, Horace and Jasper, are aware of her plans. Something doesn't seem right and the dogs' owners refuse to part with the animals. So, Horace and Jasper steal the puppies and bring them to the old De Vil mansion in the country where they prepare to kill the pups. Scotland Yard is called to investigate, but when it becomes clear that the humans won't be able to locate the stolen pups, the dogs take matters into their own hands.

I vaguely remember seeing 101 DALMATIANS in theatres when it was re-released in 1985. Before watching the movie again recently, the main impression I had about it was the interaction, communication, and relationship between the animals, as seen best in the "Twilight Bark" and was unaware of much of the history of the film. Watching the Platinum Edition DVD of the movie has given me a much greater appreciation for the movie. This edition consists of two separate DVDs. The first contains the movie and a "Cruella De Vil" music video with teen singer Selena Gomez. Besides just watching the movie, the disc also includes two options, "101 Pop-Up Trivia Facts for the Family" and "Trivia Pop-Up Facts for the Fan" that have little pop-up trivia spots appear throughout the viewing. Personally, I just like watching movies without the distraction of pop-up windows, but these options are full of trivia, random facts, and even a few juicy stories.

The second disc is a special features disc. It contains the documentary "Redefining the Line: The Making of One Hundred and One Dalmatians", the short featurette "Cruella De Vil: Drawn to Be Bad", a dramatic presentation entitled "Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney", tv and radio spots from the various theatrical releases of the movie, numerous art galleries, deleted songs, a virtual puppy game, a "puppy" profiler (a personality profiler for kids), and "Fun With Language" game.

Out of all the special features, I most enjoyed "Redefining the Line", "Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney", and some of the deleted songs. Watching "Redefining the Line" I learned that the movie was first released for Christmas 1960 and is considered a classic among animators. The movie became a transition film for the Walt Disney Company. The company's previous feature animated film, SLEEPING BEAUTY, almost bankrupted the company and was only a moderate success. Hand-drawing and inking every component of a full-length animated picture had become too expensive. Enter Xerox. Using similar technology that anyone who has worked in an office is now familiar, the Walt Disney Company was able to copy an animators actual drawings onto a cell. The process was much faster and very inexpensive and ended up saving the animation division of the company, yet also brought about the demise of the inking department.

I also learned that the movie brought about a very different style to Disney animated features. Before 101 DALMATIANS, Walt Disney's feature length animated movies were drawn in a vast, romantic, epical style. 101 DALMATIANS was a more modern story. The setting is the present day and the backgrounds aren't as defined and the colors not quite as brilliant, giving the movie a more realistic tone.

"Sincerely Yours, Walt Disney" is a dramatic reading of some of the actual letters written between Walt Disney and Dodie Smith. This feature offers some insight into Disney's character and shows a warm side of his personality.

I enjoyed listening to some of the deleted songs from the movie, especially the original song that had been written for Cruella De Vil. The song is labeled as the "Spooky Version" and has completely different lyrics and a completely different musical tone than the bluesy version that most everyone is now familiar. It's a fascinating piece of movie music history.

The features I disliked most on the DVD set were the "Virtual Dalmatians Set-Up" and the "101 Dalmatians Fun with Language" game. The "Virtual Dalmatians Set-Up" allows viewers to pick their own Dalmatian and have it do activities. I'd much rather see a child do activities like this with a real dog because not only is it more fun, but it also might teach them responsibility instead of animals are just toys. The "Fun with Language" game is nothing more than a very simple English-language game. The only reason I can think of even including something like this is because the company wants to sell a bunch of these DVDs to illegal immigrants and this might help them and their children learn a few English words.

Overall, 101 DALMATIANS is a movie that Disney fans will want to own and a nice family film that displays positive parent child and husband and wife relationships. If you're in for the special features, it's a mixed bag with some really good ones and a few that aren't worth the time to even look at.

Oh, and for the trivia buffs out there, there are over 6,000,000 spots in the movie.

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More 101 Dalmatians reviews
Quick Tip by . March 20, 2010
Fun Disney animated film, later remade as live action. The animation is fun and the dogs are great!
review by . August 03, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I'd forgotten how wonderfully enjoyable this Disney classic was! 101 DALMATIANS was remarkably the highest-grossing movie of 1961; and although Walt Disney himself was said to have been disappointed by the look and quality of the animation in the film, the design of the production holds up just as beautifully as it did 40 years ago.     Based on the book of the same name by Dodie Smith, the story follows dalmatians Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor), Perdita (Cate Bauer) and their …
review by . March 04, 2008
Note: This review is of the most recently issued (2008) version.    I find it difficult to believe that it has been 47 years since this film first appeared. (I also find it difficult to believe that I now have ten grandchildren with whom to watch it.) Credit the Disney organization with providing with this latest restored version a generous selection of bonus features that substantially increase the pleasure of seeing this classic film once again. They include a DVD-ROM of a …
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About this movie

Wiki

Back in 1961, Walt Disney got a little hip with101 Dalmatians, making use of that flat Saturday morning cartoon style that had become so popular. The result is a kitschy change in animation and story. Pongo and Perdita are two lonely dalmatians who meet cute in a London park and arrange for their pet humans to marry so they can live together and raise a family. They become proud parents of 15 pups, who are stolen by the dastardly Cruella De Vil, who wants to make a fur coat out of them. Cruella has become the most popular villain in all of Disney; she's flamboyantly nasty and lots of fun. But it's the dalmatians who shine in this endearing classic, particularly those precocious pups. Telling the story from the dogs' point of view is a clever conceit, a fundamental flaw of the live-action remake. --Bill Desowitz

On the DVD
This two-disc platinum edition features great sound and incredibly bright, intense colors thanks to the restoration process, but its most impressive selling point is the huge assortment of bonus features designed to delight children, families, and the most serious Disney fans. Kids will have fun caring for their very own puppy in the virtual Dalmatian game for television or on DVD ROM and can find out just what kind of puppy they're most like and which human Disney character they're most compatible with in the puppy profiler game. The fun with language game is geared toward the very young preschooler and teaches numbers and the names of ...

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Details

Genre: Family
Release Date: 1961
DVD Release Date: March 4, 2008
Runtime: 79 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment
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