Look for further additions to this feature through the end of February.
Please note that I do not attempt to list every single upcoming animated title. This report is to highlight notable releases for the voice casts and bonus content of upcoming releases as well as noteworthy on-camera appearances by voice actors.
And for the record, I rarely mention “best of” or volume collections of anything which include only a handful of episodes and no worthwhile bonus content. It’s obvious that such titles are marketed to families only. They’re a deliberate attempt to increase profits by selling low-content titles in a series rather than season sets, thereby ignoring DVD collectors and fans of the shows being released.
On a related note, I’ve created a Facebook group — Animated DVD Collectors — for collectors of all things animated on DVD and Blu-Ray. Come, be one of us…one of us!
– In an exclusive interview with Animation World Network, Avatar director James Cameron says fans can expect to see the film released on DVD and Blu-Ray “toward the end of April or May.”
AWN adds, “This will be followed by ‘value-added’ Blu-ray and DVD box sets for Christmas with a lot of ‘feature shock.’ There might even be a bare bones 3-D Blu-ray also released for Christmas.”
As for the possibility of an “extended cut, Cameron says there will not be one, “but rather lots of additional scenes as bonus features”:
“To me, AVATAR is the cut that I wanted to put out,” Cameron explains. “Again, no pressure from the studio… What we may do is one of these branching path things where you can sort of program your own version of the movie, so you can watch a longer or shorter version of it, as long as both are available in the same package at the same time.
“And if the seamless branching works out, and you can pre-select the 15-minute or the 10-minute longer version of the film, well, that’ll be an interesting experience because every once in a while something will pop up that you never saw before. And I think that could be kind of cool: you’re rolling along and all of a sudden, ‘Wow, what is that?’ Here’s what bothers me: I don’t like this kind of revision, this kind of rewriting of history where one version starts to replace another version. To me, the definitive version of the movie is what we released. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with the technology.”
– Via TVShowsonDVD.com: CBS/Paramount releases Barnaby Jones Season 1 on DVD Feb. 16th. This 662-minute set includes all 13 episodes and features as guest stars some voice acting notables: William Conrad (narrator on Rocky & Bullwinkle), William Shatner (Osmosis Jones, The Wild, Eek the Cat), Roddy McDowall (Pinky & The Brain, A Bug’s Life, Batman: The Animated Series), and voice icon Gary Owens (Laugh-In, Roger Ramjet, Space Quest video game series).
– Jerry Beck of Cartoon Brew reports that Warner Home Video will release two Bugs and Daffy cartoon compilations on April 27th:
Two new single disc releases are scheduled for release on April 27th – with more being planned for release later this year. The first two in the Looney Tunes Super Stars line are Bugs Bunny: Hare Extraordinaire and Daffy Duck: Frustrated Fowl. No bonus material or audio commentaries – just straight cartoons. Fifteen on each disc, restored, uncut and previously unavailable on DVD.
The Brew also lists the shorts confirmed to appear on these releases, and TVShowsonDVD.com has a related post with additional details.
– toonzone.net has the press release for the indie stop-motion animated feature $9.99 which releases on DVD Feb. 23rd. It features the voices of Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Joel Edgerton, and Claudia Karvan. The press release does not mention any bonus content.
– Via ToughPigs.com: Lionsgate releases “Song of the Cloud Forest” on DVD April 13th. This Muppets production originally aired as part of The Jim Henson Hour. Extras include Fraggle Rock episode “The River of Life” and two episodes of Jim Henson’s Animal Show: “Owl and Frog,” and “Kangaroo and Frog.” And besides the wonderful Muppeteers who performed in this production, this production is unique in that it features cameos by Muppet performers Jerry Nelson and Fran Brill.
In related news, Lionsgate will release the 5-episode volume of Jim Henson’s Animal Show: Lions, Tigers and Bears on April 13th. TVShowsonDVD.com has product details and cover art.
– Via TVShowsonDVD.com: South Park: The Complete Thirteenth Season releases on DVD and Blu-Ray March 6th. Extras include deleted scenes and commentary tracks for all episodes by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
– Shout! Factory released Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XVI Collector’s Edition on Dec. 1st, 2009. It includes a limited-edition Tom Servo figurine, 4 episodes of the cult favorite TV show, and a considerable amount of bonus content.
Shout! releases MST3K Vol. XVII on March 16th with 4 more complete TV episodes and a goodly amount of extras including the bonus feature “The Main Event: Crow vs Crow” and Joel Hodgson introduction for “The Crawling Eye.”
– Via TVShowsonDVD.com: Warner Home Video releases 6 remastered Peanuts specials in a 2-disc collection on June 1st: Peanuts 1970’s Collection Vol. 2. The single bonus included is a retrospective on Peanuts in the 70’s.
– Batman: Under the Red Hood has been announced as the next animated direct-to-video DC Comics/Warner Bros Animation title. Click the title link for details.
– toonzone.net reports that Aria the Origination releases on DVD March 2, 2010. Among the bonus features on the 5-disc box set is a Japanese voice cast discussion.
– Although Shout! Factory released the massive Transformers “Matrix of Leadership” complete box set in July 2009, the last of their individual season box sets — Transformers Seasons 3 and 4 — will release April 20th. According to the official press release at toonzone.net, bonus features on this 4-disc collection include:
* The Autobots, The Decepticons & The Fans – A look at the loyal fans of The Transformers
* From the Files of Teletraan-2
* Rare PSAs
* Archival Hasbro Toy Commercials
* Art Gallery
– WordGirl: Earth Day Girl (previously reported here) releases March 30th. This marks the first time the underrated PBS kids show has been released on DVD. It includes 8 episodes and educational bonus content.
– Warner Home Video will release the third title in their series of “Saturday Morning Cartoons” with a 2-disc collection from the 1980s featuring 11 vintage shows: Mr. T, Dragon’s Lair, Monchichis, Thundarr the Barbarian, Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, Galtar and the Golden Lance, The Biskitts, Goldie Gold & Action Jack, Martin Short’s The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, and The Flinstone Kids. TVShowsonDVD.com says the title releases May 4th and includes the bonus featurette, “Lords of Light!: Thundarr the Barbarian” which “explores the animated origins of the hero.”
– toonzone.net has Disney’s press release with cover art and content details for the March 2nd DVD/Blu-Ray special edition re-releases of the Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki anime classics Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Tortoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service.
– Via toonzone.net: Warner Home Video has announced the April 6th DVD/Blu-Ray release of Ralph Bakshi’s animated vision of Lord of the Rings. It includes a 30-minute interview with Bakshi exploring “his concept for creating an illustrated film, his pioneering rotoscoping process, and inspirations for his visual storytelling.”
– Shout! Factory released Kingdom of the Spiders: Special Edition on Jan. 19th. This remastered version of the B-movie vintage thriller stars William Shatner (Star Trek, Osmosis Jones, Over the Hedge, The Wild), and bonus content includes interviews with Shatner and other cast/crew, commentary, and “rare behind-the-scenes footage.”
– Warner Home Video releases the eagerly-anticipated Halo Legends on DVD and Blu-Ray Feb. 16th. toonzone.net has comprehensive coverage of this title with press releases, interviews, movie stills and preview video clips. The 2-disc edition includes “several hours” of bonus content including a making-of featurette for each of the seven episodes, documentary history of the Halo “phenomenon,” and audio commentary by directors Frank O’Connor and Joseph Chou.
IMDb.com has a list of the voice cast for Halo Legends, which includes several notable voice talents from anime dubs and video games.
– Via toonzone.net: Canadian animated favorite Bob and Margaret: The Complete First Season releases on DVD Feb. 16th. Amazon.com says the 2-disc set has a runtime of 290 minutes, but no bonus features are mentioned.
– Via TVShowsonDVD.com: Cartoon Network releases Johnny Bravo Season 1 on DVD May 11th. This is the premiere title for the “Cartoon Network Hall of Fame” lineup. No bonus features have been announced.
– Although Shout! Factory released G.I. Joe: Complete Series Collectors Set on Nov. 10, 2009, they have continued to release individual volumes from the series as well.
Season 1.3 released Feb. 2nd and includes PSAs, archival toy commercials and a production featurette.
Season 2 releases April 27th and includes more PSAs and toy commercials as well as a featurette called “Greenshirts: The G.I. Joe Legacy.”
– Via PixarTalk.com: While the U.S. DVD/Blu-Ray release of Dumbo 70th Anniversary Special Edition has been delayed for unknown reasons, it’s already been released in Mexico and France (with three other countries following in March).
Confirmed extras include:
* Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo (26:56)
* Magic of Dumbo: Ride of Passage (2:59)
* Sound Design Excerpt from “The Reluctant Dragon” (5:40)
* Deleted Scene: The Mouse’s Tale (5:20)
* Deleted Song: “Are You a Man or a Mouse” (3:31)
* 1941 Theatrical Trailer (2:09)
* 1949 Re-Release Trailer (1:15)
* Original Walt Disney Television Introduction (1:04)
* Cine-Explore with Pete Docter
* Art Galleries
* Featurette: “Celebrating Dumbo” (14:51)
* Bonus Shorts: “The Flying Mouse” and “Elmer Elephant”
* Games: “What Do You See?” and “What Do You Know”
– The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie! releases April 20th, and features Seth MacFarlane as the voice of “I.S.R.A.E.L.” TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art.
– Iron Man: Armored Adventures – The Complete Season 1 releases May 4th. TVShowsonDVD.com says this is a “4-disc set running 572 minutes long. 26 episodes are presented in widescreen video, with English Dolby 2.0 sound.”
On a related note, Disney releases Marvel’s Iron Man: The Complete 1994 Animated Series on March 4th. The 3-disc set includes all 26 episodes and stars Robert Hays (Airplane! film series, Starman) as the voice of Tony Stark/Iron Man. TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art.
– toonzone.net reports that Classic Media and Vivendi Entertainment will release a brand new animated direct-to-DVD title, Kung Fu Magoo, on May 11th. It features the voices of:
Jim Conroy (Celebrity Death Match, Grand Theft Auto IV) as Mr. Magoo
Dylan & Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life of Zack & Cody)
Alyson Stoner (Camp Rock)
Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live)
Kenny Mayne (Dancing With The Stars)
Fred Travalena (Bogey from Shirt Tales) [in one of his final voice roles]
Also on May 11th, Classic/Vivendi will release the 1964 Magoo classic, Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest, starring the original voice of Mr. Magoo, Jim Backus (Gilligan’s Island).
TVShowsonDVD.com has a look at the cover art for both titles.
– DVDTalk has a review of Dante’s Inferno: An Animated Epic, a direct-to-DVD release based on the upcoming video game of the same title. It features the voices of Mark Hamill, Kevin Michael Richardson, Victoria Tennant, Vanessa Branch, Graham McTavish and Grey DeLisle. Here’s an excerpt:
Though there’s some impressively stylish animation on display here, it never seems like the story gets to a place that lives up to the art. Then again, everything about this movie looks better in the game it’s based on, leaving anyone who knows anything about the game likely disappointed, as it’s lighter on both action and imagination. The DVD itself looks and sounds fine, but is light on extras, so you’ll want to give it a rental before diving in.
– TheDigitalBits reports that Astro Boy will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on March 16th: “Extras will include a pair of all-new animated sequences, deleted scenes, featurettes, a photo gallery and more.”
– TheDigitalBits.com also reports that Where The Wild Things Are will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray March 2nd. Bonus content includes “4 featurettes (The Absurd Difficulty of Filming a Dog Running and Barking at the Same Time, The Big Prank, Vampire Attack and The Kids Take Over the Picture). The Blu-ray version will add 4 more (including Maurice and Spike, Max and Spike, The Records Family and Carter Burwell), along with the HBO First Look special and the all-new Higgelty Piggelty Pop! short featuring the voices of Meryl Streep and Forest Whitaker.”
– UltimateDisney.com has a rundown of when fans might expect to see some of Disney’s animated classics to be released from the vault:
Thanks to a tip from someone aware of Disney’s retail schedules, we’ve gotten word of the studio’s plans for its tentpole titles. This year’s anticipated Diamond Editions are still on track to make it to stores in 2010. Beauty and the Beast is slated to make its Blu-ray debut in October, with Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 following in December. Meanwhile, already heavily-marketed Dumbo, which isn’t part of the Diamond line but was clearly intended for re-release this week, won’t arrive until February 2011 (rendering its proposed 70th Anniversary Edition moniker more accurate). Beyond that, a big October 2011 splash is expected for one of Disney’s biggest all-time titles; The Lion King is set to bow on Blu-ray then. As always, all of these plans are subject to change until they’re formally announced (and sometimes even after that).
– UltimateDisney.com also reports that the live-action movie Old Dogs, which is of note here in that it co-stars Robin Williams and Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken) will release on March 9th:
…in a single-disc DVD ($29.99 SRP), a single-disc Blu-ray ($39.99 SRP), and in a three-disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack ($44.99 SRP). The DVD will include only bloopers and deleted scenes, while the standalone Blu-ray adds Travolta and daughter Ella Bleu’s “Every Little Step” music video. Besides the digital copy, the Combo will also contain two additional exclusives in Bryan Adams’ “You’ve Been a Friend to Me” music video and the featurette “Young Dogs Learn Old Tricks.”
– Also from UltimateDisney.com:
Originally scheduled for March, 1986’s The Great Mouse Detective will get a slipcovered Mystery in the Mist Edition DVD on April 13. Besides boasting an all-new digital restoration, this moderately-priced disc ($19.99 SRP) will include all-new bonus “So You Think You Can Sleuth?”, an animated look at the history of detective work through the ages with crime-solving challenge. Carried over from the movie’s initial 2002 DVD are a making-of featurette from the 1980s and a sing-along of villain Ratigan’s “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind.”
– And again from UltimateDisney.com:
Disney has announced a 2-disc Special Un-Anniversary Edition DVD of their original 1951 animated Alice in Wonderland for release on March 30, 2010 while Tim Burton’s new take on the story plays in theaters. New bonus features include the deleted scene “Pig and Pepper.”
– toonzone.net has a press release for Oscar-nominee Fantastic Mr. Fox which releases March 23rd on DVD and Blu-Ray. Bonus content includes “8 featurettes (The Look of Fantastic Mr. Fox, From Script to Screen, The Puppet Makers, Still Life, The Cast, Bill and His Badger, A Beginner’s Guide to Whack-Bat and Fantastic Mr. Fox: The World of Roald Dahl.”
– DVDTown.com has a review of The Simpsons Complete 20th Season, which lists some of the celebrity guest voices and notes that this season features a few firsts for the series: first season released on Blu-Ray, first with episodes produced in HD and widescreen and the first season for which voice cast member Dan Castellaneta is credited as a “consulting producer.”
What the review doesn’t mention, however, is the repeated complaint from fans and DVD collectors over the obvious lack of bonus features and commentaries fans have come to expect from the FOX releases.
TheDigitalBits.com calls this release “sub-par” and “a disappointment,” and adds, “Even the menus look ugly and tossed off.” But it’s particularly lacking in bonus content:
This is not one of those wonderful, extras-packed sets that we’re used to. The only bonus feature on here, if you can even call it that, is a three-and-a-half minute promo piece for Morgan Spurlock’s 20th Anniversary Special. That’s right. You get an extended commercial for a special that aired two days BEFORE this was even released.
Toonzone’s review says the release includes “a sizeable list of extras which fall a bit short, unfortunately.” Among them, two production featurettes and commentaries.
411Mania.com’s review says of the ‘A World of Hurt’ feature that it’s “your basic DVD making of/production featurette and runs about 22 minutes. This goes a lot into the animation production and interviews with the production crew. I would’ve liked to have seen some more interview footage with the voice actors, but this was still good.”
– JustPressPlay.net has a review of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown: Remastered Deluxe Edition which released on Jan. 26th. A retrospective on the production of this 1985 animated TV musical is included as a bonus feature.
The voice cast includes:
– Brad Kesten as Charlie Brown
– Kevin Brando Charlie Brown (singing voice)
– Michael Dockery as Marcie
– Jeremy Scott Reinbolt as Schroeder
– Tiffany Reinbolt as Sally
– Jessie Lee Smith as Lucy van Pelt
– Bill Melendez as Snoopy, Woodstock
– Robert Towers as Snoopy (singing voice)
– David Wagner as Linus van Pelt
Originally posted 1.28.2010:
– DeseretNews.com has a review of Legends of Laughter: Abbott & Costello (released on DVD Jan. 26th), calling it “a blast from the past…a treasure trove of tidbits” from the legendary comedy duo Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.
The 6-disc set retails at $29.98 and includes the movies “Africa Screams” (1949) and “Jack and the Beanstalk” (1952), and old time radio nostalgia buffs will be pleased to see included “audio recordings of 17 of the pair’s radio show (1942-49) and 14 episodes of “The Colgate Comedy Hour” that Abbott and Costello hosted from 1951-54,” one of which includes guest star (and legendary cartoon voice actor) Mel Blanc.
Bonus features include a blooper reel, a WWII PSA and 20 movie trailers.
– TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that Season 4 of the vintage TV detective series Simon & Simon will be released on April 6th. The 6-disc set will include all 21 episodes, including what I’m told is an appearance by cartoon voice acting legend Frank Welker who guest-starred in the S4 episode “Almost Completely Out of Circulation” in 1984 as a “Dubbing Actor.”
I’ve been trying to catch this episode in reruns for years, so I’m very pleased to see this released on DVD.
Update: 1.29.2010, 1:45AM (EST) — Doreen Mulman, webmaster of the official Frank Welker Homepage, confirms that Frank does appear on-camera in this episode, “albeit briefly.”
John Astin (voices on Tazmania, The Addams Family, Disney’s Recess, Duckman, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes) also guest-starred in season 4 of the show as the Simon brothers’ Uncle Ray in the episode “Revolution #9 1/2.”
– The toonzone reports that Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release The Princess and the Frog on DVD and Blu-ray on March 16, 2010.
The voice cast features (from the press release):
– Anika Noni Rose (Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, 2004,“Caroline, or Change”)
– Keith David (Crash)
– Jenifer Lewis (“Strong Medicine”)
– Jim Cummings (“Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”)
– Michael-Leon Wooley (Ghost Town)
– Bruno Campos (“Nip/Tuck”)
– Peter Bartlett (The Producers)
– Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow)
– Jennifer Cody (Broadway’s “Shrek: The Musical”)
– Oprah Winfrey
– John Goodman (Monsters, Inc.).
Bonus features include:
• Deleted Scenes
• Audio Commentary by John Musker and Ron Clements (co-writers and directors) and Peter Del Vecho (producer)
• “Never Knew I Needed”- Music video by Ne-Yo
Games and Activities
• What Do You See: Princess Portraits — A bayou-style quiz tests viewers’ knowledge of all of Disney’s beautiful princesses. Ray’s firefly family creates twinkling portraits of each princess and if the player correctly identifies her, they can enjoy a tongue-cheek mini re-telling of that character’s story.
The Blu-ray Combo Pack edition:
• Magic In The Bayou: The Making of A Princess — Co-writers and directors John Musker and Ron Clements take a freewheeling, behind-the-scenes look at the making of Disney’s newest animated film as it grows from an initial concept to a lavish animated film set in the enchanting world of New Orleans and the surrounding bayous.
• The Return To Hand Drawn Animation
• The Disney Legacy
• Disney’s Newest Princess
• The Princess and the Animator
• Conjuring The Villain
• A Return To The Animated Musical
• Bringing Life to Animation, with an introduction by John Musker and Ron
• Deleted Scenes introduced by the filmmakers
• Art Galleries — A collection of storyboard art traces the visual development of The Princess and the Frog’s rich gallery of
characters and settings.
– The-Trades.com has a review of Super Friends! Season One, Volume One which released on Jan. 5th. Although skimpy on content (only 8 episodes and one “trivial” bonus feature), this early 70s series is still a nostalgic favorite for many DC Comics fans. The show features the voices of:
– Sherry Alberoni as Wendy
– Frank Welker as Marvin
– Danny Dark as Superman
– Shannon Farnon as Wonder Woman
– Norman Alden as Aquaman
– Olan Soule as Batman
– Casey Kasem as Robin
– Ted Knight as Narrator
– The toonzone has a review of Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side which released in Dec. 2009. Seth MacFarlane and other of the show’s principal cast are included in what toonzone reviewer Chad Bonin calls a “surprising number of extras”:
“Family Guy Fact-Ups” are Pop-Up Video/A.D.Vidnotes notes that come up throughout the episode explaining some references or pointing out how many voices Seth MacFarlane does in the special (25, to be exact), and would be a welcome addition to the DVD releases of the main series. A crew commentary is nice as usual, and gives you another reason to watch the special all the way through. There are two table reads from a pretty poor angle for the most part, one covering two acts of the special found on this disc, and one a preview of the next parody, “We Have a Bad Feeling About This”. The final two features are some animatics with commentary alongside the finished footage, and a featurette about the art behind the poster design.
– TVShowsOnDVD.com reports that Warner Home Video will release The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: The Complete 5th Season on May 4th. The 3-disc set offers 25 episodes with some voice acting guest stars of note: Isaac Hayes (South Park) as a Minister in the episode “The Wedding Show (Psyche!),” Pat Morita (Disney’s Mulan, Kingdom Hearts series, Robot Chicken, SpongeBob SquarePants) as Mr. Yoshi in “Love Hurts,” Nancy Cartwright (The Simpsons, Kim Possible) as Ruby Jillette in “Save the Last Trance for Me,” and Brad Garrett (A Bugs Life, Ratatouille) as mafia thug John ‘Fingers’ O’Neill in “Fresh Prince: The Movie.”
– TheDigitalBits.com has a rundown of the all-new bonus features produced for the March 23rd DVD/Blu-Ray combo special editions of Toy Story and Toy Story 2:
Toy Story disc will include 8 featurettes (The Story: An Exclusive Sneak Peek at Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: Blast Off, Paths to Pixar: Artists, Studio Stories: John’s Car, Studio Stories: Baby AJ, Studio Stories: Scooter Races, Buzz Takes Manhattan and Black Friday: The Toy Story You Never Saw), plus BD-Live movie chat, movie mail, movie challenge and more. All-new bonus features due on the Toy Story 2 release include director’s commentary and 8 featurettes (Characters: An Exclusive Sneak Peek At Toy Story 3, Buzz Lightyear Mission Logs: International Space Station, Paths to Pixar: Technical Artists, Studio Stories: Toy Story 2 Sleep Deprivation Lab, Studio Stories: Pinocchio, Studio Stories: The Movie Vanishes, Pixar’s Zoetrope and Celebrating our Friend Joe Ranft), plus BD-Live movie chat, movie mail, movie challenge and more.
The late Joe Ranft was a writer and storyboard artist for Toy Story, A Bug’s Life and Cars (which he also co-directed) who voiced Wheezy the Penguin in Toy Story 2, Jacques the Shrimp in Finding Nemo, Heimlich in A Bug’s Life and three characters — Red, Jerry Recycled Batteries, Peterbilt — in Cars.
Related post: 7.22.2009 — VAs on DVD: Coraline, G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformers, Tinker Bell, and More