101 Dalmations Review

Colin Polonowski has reviewed the Region 2 DVD release of 101 Dalmations

Disney have certainly made a big splash by releasing so many of their so-called ‘classics’ on DVD at the same time. Some would say that the discs have not got the treatment they deserve being released with no extras to speak of.

The presentation of all of the discs is top notch – each one is attractively packaged and every disc features a full colour label making them especially appealing to kids. The picture and sound quality are as good as they get for all of these discs and 101 Dalmations is no exception.

It’s a classic story and there is little doubt that almost anyone reading this review will already know the basics so it’s not worth me going over them here. Suffice to say its the usual mixture of a great story brought to life by the high-quality Disney animators. As with most Disney movies both kids and adults will find something of interest – although unlike the more modern hits the jokes are far more subtle.

Buena Vista haven’t made any extra effort in bringing the movie to DVD. The IMDB lists the movie as being 1.33:1 Pan & Scan, whether or not this is accurate is open to debate and considering the age of the movie I’m enclined to believe we really a full frame transfer on our hands. Of course, it’s not anamorphic and it is as good as we can expect. There are some minor flaws with the master used, but these don’t really detract from the overall picture quality.

The sound has been remixed in to Dolby Pro-Logic (most likely for one of the numerous earlier video releases). There is very little in the way of surround action but its nice to see that a little extra effort has been expended here. The soundtrack itself is reasonable with dialogue taking precedence throughout and the usual Disney tunes and songs sound as good as ever.

As I’ve already mentioned in my review of Mulan, it is a real shame that Buena Vista haven’t done any of their latest movies justice. There must be a wealth of extra material which could be included so why hasn’t it been? One other thing which is bugging me is the fact that the disc is dual-layer. Surely there is no need for this, the movie is short and with no extras there must be a lot of unused space on this disc. While I don’t mind putting up with a layer change, there is no good reason for one in the case of this disc.

All in all not a bad disc. The picture and sound aren’t going to win any awards but if you’re looking for a release to keep your kids quiet then you could do a lot worse than 101 Dalmations.

The major drawback is the unjustifiable £19.99 pricetag – it reeks of big companies trying to get as much money out of their popular titles. These discs are going to sell well, and Buena Vista are charging a premium for a disc which, quite frankly isn’t worth it.

Colin Polonowski

Updated: Feb 27, 1999

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