Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Roger and Anita meet cute through their dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita. All is wedded bliss until Anita's old college chum, Cruella DeVil, who has a psychotic obsession with fur, catches sight of Pongo and Perdita's puppies and hatches a plot to steal all the dalmatian pups she can find to make an enormous fur coat. Soon, the puppies have been dognapped and Pongo must lead a heroic cast of animals to rescue the pups before it's too late.
For more about 101 Dalmatians and the 101 Dalmatians Blu-ray release, see 101 Dalmatians Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 5, 2015 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wolfgang Reitherman
Writers: Bill Peet, Dodie Smith
Starring: Rod Taylor, J. Pat O'Malley, Betty Lou Gerson, Martha Wentworth, Ben Wright (I), Cate Bauer
» See full cast & crew
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray Review
"Yes, sir. Right-o, sir. Right away, sir!"
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 5, 2015
Credit where credit's due. It wasn't breathtaking animation, clever storytelling, filmmaking magic or Walt Disney himself who saved Disney Animation from shuttering its doors in the early 1960s. It was Xerox. After Sleeping Beauty failed to recoup its production budget at the box office in 1959, the situation was dire. Walt Disney began to entertain the notion that animated films were both too costly to produce and no longer the viable crowd pleaser they were when Snow White took audiences by storm in 1937. With the prospect of another animated film dangling in limbo, Walt Disney even considered abandoning animation in favor of traditional live-action pictures. Enter animator and technician Ub Iwerks, a shrewd innovator who came up with a way to slash costs, reduce staff, and keep the studio doors open... for at least one more production. Using a specially modified Xerox copier to transfer artists' drawings directly to the animation cels -- a technique fraught with limitations that was made much more feasible thanks to the hundred-plus black and white protagonists of 101 Dalmatians -- Iwerks whittled the film's production budget down by $2 million, paved the way for Disney's 17th animated feature, and effectively saved Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Without 101 Dalmatians, without Iwerks and his use of Xerox copying (which Walt Disney initially opposed), there might not be a Jungle Book (1967). The Fox and the Hound (1981). The Little Mermaid (1989). Beauty and the Beast (1991). Aladdin (1992). Tarzan (1999). Lilo & Stitch (2002). Tangled (2010). Frozen (2013). Or the forthcoming Big Hero 6 (2014). Without Disney Animation leading the charge, there's no telling where animation would be today, Disney or otherwise.
A charming London neighborhood is home to Roger (Ben Wright) and Anita Radcliffe (Lisa Davis), whose beloved Dalmatians, Pongo (Rod Taylor) and Perdita (Cate Bauer), have become the proud parents of fifteen puppies. But when Cruella De Vil (Betty Lou Gerson), a heartless woman with a psychotic obsession with fur, and her bumbling henchmen, Horace (Frederick Worlock) and Jasper (J. Pat O'Malley), unexpectedly appear, the pups soon disappear, along with every other Dalmatian puppy in town. Now Pongo and Perdita must rally their animal friends -- among them sheepdog Colonel (O'Malley), tabby cat Sergeant Tibbs (David Frankham), and gray horse Captain (Thurl Ravenscroft) -- find Cruella's secret hideout, and free the puppies before the villainess can make herself an enormous fur coat.
A daring rescue may provide the framework, but it's author Dodie Smith's Dalmatians, brought to expressive, bounding life by six of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men, that provides the heart, humor and vitality of the studio's 17th animated classic. Disney Animation weaves its anthropomorphic magic, and weaves it brilliantly; not only taking advantage of the scruffier, scragglier line-work of its Xerox-blessed animators, but injecting a palpable energy and spontaneity into the playful pups that translates into infectious joy on screen. Even when Pongo and Perdita's puppies get a bit lost in the litter when their numbers suddenly swell past 100, an undercurrent of vividly animated fun drives the film towards a truly climactic chase that, nearly forty-five years after its theatrical release, continues to drag parents and children to the edge of their seats. And with iconic villain Cruella De Vil buckled into evil's driver's seat, it's a chase with high stakes, big laughs and delightful rewards.
Structurally, though, 101 Dalmatians isn't quite as sturdy as other Disney classics. Not unlike the children's novel on which it's based, there's a segmentation to the story that makes its lean 79-minute runtime somehow seem padded. It doesn't help that a lone song manages to wriggle into the mix. "Cruella De Vil" may be a beloved toe-tapper, but it feels forced and out of place, particularly as no other musical numbers grace the film. (Several were planned, each of which was either abandoned or deleted.) But it hardly matters, does it? There's a fluidity and finesse to the adventure that carries Pongo and Perdita to their pups with an effortless ease that's pure, unadulterated Golden Age Disney. Wit, surprises, unforgettable personalities, and a taught third act come together to make 101 Dalmatians the timeless animated classic it is. No, it's not perfect. But it'll warm your heart, earn a big ol' grin and leave you cheering, anxious to share the movie with your children, who, in turn, will one day share it with theirs.
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Diamond Edition Blu-ray release of 101 Dalmatians features a solid 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation. Grain has been completely scrubbed from the image, yet again, but anyone bracing for a Sword in the Stone-level fiasco or a Mickey's Christmas Carol-esque nightmare can rest easy. The noise reduction utilized results in a slight uptick in softness, as well as an even slighter blurring of a few fine lines and background elements, but there's little here that calls for objection, much less serious concern. Otherwise, all is as it should be. The film has never been a vividly colored production, with its overcast skies, dusty farmhouses, and snowy streets, and, in that regard, the remastered Diamond Edition presentation doesn't alter the original animators' intentions. Not that it's all black and white gloom and puppy doom. The warm hues of the Radcliffe residence, the flashy pinks, purples and reds of Cruella De Vil's bedroom, fashion accents, and car, and the puppies' dog collars introduce welcome splashes of bright, playful color. Contrast is consistent throughout too, black levels are deep and satisfying, and clarity is decidedly decent (particularly when taking into account the nature of the original line art). Better still, there aren't any significant instances of macroblocking, banding or aliasing. Ultimately, purists will be disappointed to find another Disney classic has been subjected to noise reduction, yet relieved to see the ramifications aren't disastrous. Everyone else will wonder what all the fuss is about, happily declaring that 101 Dalmatians has never looked better than it does here.
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, Audio Quality
101 Dalmatians offers two main audio options, though only one -- Disney's primary DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track -- is lossless. The other, a lossy Dolby Digital presentation of the original mono mix, will still please purists wishing to savor the film as Uncle Walt intended... just not as much as it might have had it been delivered via a second DTS-HD MA track. Ah well, the 21st century marches on. Like previous 7.1 Disney remixes, the 101 Dalmatians audio remaster walks a fine line between reverence and revisionism, but (mostly) maintains its balance. Voices are clean, intelligible and carefully prioritized, with subtle directional effects, a handful of notable low-end crashes and booms, and full, engaging music, all of which makes for a meticulously crafted, problem-free experience. Rear speaker activity and LFE support are never overwhelming or contrary to the tone and tenor of the original audio elements, and hiss and other inconsistencies have either been dealt with or eliminated judiciously. It's not exactly a revolutionary remix, but it's primed to win over fans and audiophiles alike.
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
101 Dalmatians finally arrives on Blu-ray, allowing its lifelong fans to add one of their favorite Disney classics to their collection. The film holds up quite well and will surely continue to delight audiences, new and old, from this generation and the next. The Blu-ray itself is just as good, with a solid video presentation, a strong DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track, and a generous selection of extras. This one comes recommended.
101 Dalmatians: Other Editions
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to 101 Dalmatians. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to 101 Dalmatians in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: February 10-17 - February 8, 2015
For the week of February 10th, Universal Studios and Open Road Home Entertainment are bringing the thriller Nightcrawler to Blu-ray. Other titles include the new Disney upgrade of 101 Dalmatians, Universal and Jon Stewart's docudrama Rosewater, and Criterion's ...
• 101 Dalmatians Blu-ray: Exclusive Giveaway - February 5, 2015
Blu-ray.com and Walt Disney Home Entertainment are offering members the opportunity to win a copy of the Diamond Edition Blu-ray release of 101 Dalmatians (1961). Disney's 17th animated feature arrives via a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack on February 10th.
• 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition Blu-ray - November 3, 2014
Walt Disney Home Entertainment has officially announced and detailed the Diamond Edition Blu-ray release of 101 Dalmatians (1961). Disney's 17th animated feature arrives via a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack with an all-new, never-before-seen animated short on ...
» Show more related news posts for 101 Dalmatians Blu-ray
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
101 Dalmatians Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to 101 Dalmatians Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2015 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.