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Cinderella Blu-Ray

Cinderella: Diamond Edition

Published November 7, 2012

By Albert Gutierrez

Bonus Features:

Cinderella's Blu-Ray does not pack many new bonus features, although a great deal of its excellent "Platinum Edition" extras turn up. We'll take a look at what's new to this disc first. Like all Disney films animated in the 1.33:1 ratio, viewers have an option to turn on the "DisneyView" option, which will provide pillarbox artwork in place of the black bars one would normally see on 16:9 presentations of 4:3 material. An introduction by Diane Disney Miller (1:16) can also precede the film if you desire. She talks briefly about the history of Cinderella, along with production material housed at The Walt Disney Family Museum. This bonus feature is also available on the DVD.

As usual, Disney's Second Screen never syncs for me. This one promises a "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-You! Personalized Digital Storybook," which inserts you (or your name?) into a storybook version, and comes with a variety of games and activities. The Blu-Ray insert highlights three: "Create a Beautiful Gown for Cinderella," "Help Cinderella Finish Her Chores," and "Which Cup Is Gus-Gus Under?" May I just say, I love that they refer to him as Gus-Gus rather than the singular Gus.


Mary Alice and Mary Alice

Under "Backstage Disney: Diamond Edition" we get over a half-hour of extras. The longest is The Real Fairy Godmother: The Incredible True Story of Mary Alice O’Connor (11:50). This piece includes interviews with O'Connor's family, animators, and Disney historians, as they discuss the philanthropic work of the woman who was the visual basis for the Fairy Godmother. Mary Alice O'Connor was the wife of Ken O'Connor, one of Disney's art directors, who had worked on Cinderella. O'Connor was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1992, while Mary Alice would be honored in Burbank with the "Mary Alice O'Connor Family Center," named after her.

Behind the Magic: A New Disney Princess Fantasyland (8:17) brings us Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White in ABC's "Once Upon a Time") as she checks out the construction of the New Fantasyland expansion in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Entirely promotional, this short had already become outdated by the time this Blu-Ray was released. If it's any consolation, we do get to see how the magic is made, showing us a land in progress. This bonus feature is also available on the DVD.

The Magic of the Glass Slipper: A Cinderella Story (10:03) is a short film (or really long commercial) jointly made with Disney and designer Christian Louboutin, who stars as himself. Louboutin has shoemaker's block, for lack of a better phrase, and cannot design a new shoe. He is then inspired by a local cleaning girl to design one based on Cinderella and the glass slipper. An animated and anthropomorphic mouse version of himself also helps. While charming, it is just as promotional as the New Fantasyland feature, and only has a slight connection to Cinderella.

Finally, there is an Alternate Opening Sequence (1:13), which has Cinderella rhyming in the beginning of the film, and giving her some semblance of a personality beyond "nice and faithful girl." As the only new bonus feature most directly related to the film Cinderella, its brevity is quite disappointing. Surely Disney has more in their archives that they could include.

Ironically, Amazon.com contains short previews of some of the new bonus features, including a piece with Imagineer Alex discussing the history and design of Cinderella Castle (1:08). However, no such featurette is included on the Blu-Ray, leading me to wonder if it was dropped or will be saved for another release. You can check out the preview here (link "here" to )

Rather than appear on a "Tangled: Special Edition" Blu-Ray (hint hint, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment!), the 2012 animated short "Tangled Ever After" (6:29) turns up on this disc. This was attached to the 3-D general release of Beauty and the Beast this past January, and focuses on the wedding between Princess Rapunzel and Eugene Fitzherbert, the protagonists from 2010's animated hit Tangled. Actually, we spend more time with sidekicks Maximus and Pascal, who are in charge of the rings. They accidentally lose them, and go on a madcap chase throughout the kingdom to retrieve them, leaving chaos in their wake. This bonus feature is also available on the DVD.

After some disappointments in the new "Diamond Edition" features, we can turn to what the disc calls "classic" features for some in-depth material about Cinderella. "Classic DVD Bonus Features" holds most of the material that formerly appeared under "Deleted Scenes" and "Music and More" from the Platinum Edition. The two deleted scenes are "Cinderella Work Song" (3:20) and "Dancing on a Cloud" (4:35), which are preceded by an introduction by Don Hahn (1:55). The work song has Cinderella imagine herself multiplying in order get her work done. While unused, the "multiple Cinderella" idea did make its way into "Sing, Sweet Nightingale." "Dancing on a Cloud" is an idea Walt tried to integrate into Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and again in Cinderella, before finally being used in Sleeping Beauty.

"Cinderella" Title Song: Original Demo (2:16) does exactly what it says on the tin. In addition, Unused Demo Songs (17:43 total) play seven demos against a static screen: "Sing a Little, Dream a Little" (2:52), "I'm in the Middle of a Muddle" (1:58), "The Mice Song" (1:41), "The Dress My Mother Wore" (2:40), "Dancing on a Cloud" (3:48), "I Lost My Heart at the Ball" (2:08), and "The Face That I See at Night" (2:36).

Three radio programs follow, all set to static screens with air dates when available. The first, "Village Store" Excerpt - Original Airdate March 25, 1948 (2:35), is an exceptional piece, literally broadcast hours after Ilene Woods was cast as Cinderella, officially announcing it to the listening public. She celebrates by singing Pinocchio's "When You Wish Upon a Star" in its entirety. "Gulf Oil Presents" Excerpt ca. 1950 (5:25) is a scratchy audio excerpt, featuring an interview with Ilene Woods about getting the part, performing some live-action reference footage (Helene Stanley did most of it), and singing "A Dream is a Wish." Finally, "Scouting the Stars" - Original Airdate February 23, 1950 (4:20) provides our third Ilene Woods interview. Truth be told, I was afraid these audio features would be dropped from the Blu-Ray, and I'm glad they were included again.

"Classic Backstage Disney" serves up all the video features from that section on the 2005 DVD. The most important feature in "Classic Backstage Disney" is the documentary From Rags to Riches: The Making of Cinderella (38:17), which looks at the film's conception, live-action reference footage, animation, voice actors, songs, and box-office/merchandise success. We get to hear from several of the original filmmakers through interviews re-purposed from the 1995 Laserdisc documentary, including such interviewees as animators Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Ward Kimball, Frank Thomas, and Milt Kahl, and Cinderella herself, Ilene Woods. From 2005, we get contemporary interviews with Lucille Bliss (Anastasia) and Mike Douglas (Prince), along with various Disney historians and animators, along with notable fans like "Good Morning, America"'s film critic Joel Siegel.

Disney producer Don Hahn hosts The Cinderella That Almost Was (14:09), which takes a look at alternate story ideas and scenes that were conceived, but not used in the film. This includes an extended music lesson scene with the stepsisters and their instructor, which would be shortened, losing the instructor in the process. Additional interviews from the "Rags to Riches" documentary, along with audio transcripts/recreations from the 1946-1948 story meetings are intermixed here, giving additional insight into how the story is shaped.

From Walt’s Table: A Tribute to Disney’s Nine Old Men (22:09) gathers a variety of talent together at the Tam O'Shanter Inn to wax nostalgic about how Walt Disney and the Nine Old Men had an impact on their own childhood and work. It's a fitting tribute, and I would be willing to hear them talk for more than 22 minutes myself. Film critic Joel Siegel acts as the moderator, with the roundtable discussion including animators Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, and Mark Henn, producer Don Hahn, Pixar director Brad Bird, and the directing duo John Musker & Ron Clements.

The Art of Mary Blair (14:59) gives us a biography of the legendary artist, showcasing her own work as well as her Disney creations in films and the parks. Of the four documentaries in "Backstage Disney," this one was always my favorite.

For a look at the live-action reference filming, Storyboard to Film Comparison: Opening Sequence (6:49) gives us just that. It actually uses a combination of storyboards and some stills from the reference footage, which help us see how the artists relied on such footage to help them capture accurate movement. I wouldn't mind watching the entire feature film with storyboards and reference stills as a picture-in-picture option.

The original "Cinderella" Laugh-O-Gram (7:26) is included, which has always been a chore for me to sit through. I generally enjoy watching vintage animation, but this one always seems to test my patience. If you want a better look at Disney's Laugh-O-Grams, Beauty and the Beast's Blu-Ray includes three others, and "The Four Musicians of Bremen" is the best of the bunch, in this reviewer's humble opinion.

Reference model Helene Stanley visits the Mouseketeers in a "Mickey Mouse Club" excerpt (3:57), which originally aired January 24, 1956. She dresses up as Cinderella, recruits the Mouseketeers to be her mice, and re-enacts a scene, complete with "The Work Song." Don't be too concerned if you hear strange squeaks from your television, that's just the Mouseketeers acting.

Finally, six theatrical trailers (9:18 total) round out the set: 1950 Original Release Trailer (0:27), 1965 Reissue Trailer (2:23), 1973 Reissue Trailer (1:26), 1981 Reissue Trailer (1:34), 1987 Reissue Trailer #1 (1:59), 1987 Reissue Trailer #2 (1:29).


A sampling of material not included on the 2012 Blu-Ray

While the Blu-Ray does preserve a variety of material from the 2005 DVD, there are several features omitted, some thankfully, others regretfully. The most important exclusion are the Cinderella Galleries, which gave us 373 stills ranging from visual development and character design to backgrounds, production photos, and publicity. Although galleries were commonplace on Disney's Laserdisc and DVD releases, few of their Blu-Rays include them. Sadly, most of their recent releases opt to drop the galleries rather than re-render the images in HD. An appearance by Ilene Woods and the Fontaine Sisters on "The Perry Como Show" (6:37) also failed to make the jump to Blu-Ray.

Another exclusion from the Blu-Ray is also one of the strangest tie-ins I've ever seen with the film: "Cinderella Stories, Presented by ESPN Classic" (33:40). Amusingly charismatic Joe Namath hosts and narrates ten different "Cinderella Stories" in which a sports underdog manages to be the victor, featuring several interviews with the sports figures, friends, and historians. This always felt like Disney's intent to include some "masculine" material on a decidedly-feminine title, and always felt awkwardly shoehorned into the set, even though it is in the spirit of the film.

A variety of fluffy material also are lost, but not missed by me: music videos for "A Dream is a Wish" and "Every Girl Can Be A Princess," a making-of for "A Dream," the "House of Royalty" (17:05) which taught us how to look, live, and act like a princess, a DVD-ROM design studio, the interactive "Princess Pajama Jam," and a "Dreams Come True" public service announcement.

Final Words:

Disney's version of Cinderella has the potential to be a lot of things. At its heart is a timeless romance between a young girl and the mysterious man who can offer her a new world. The supporting characters provide hilarious physical comedy made popular in cartoons. Lady Tremaine and the shadows that seem to follow her bring the film to almost noir-ish territory at times. All these properties come together to create a nicely-told, if unfocused, fairy tale. I don't think it's particularly the best fairy tale told by Disney, but definitely one of the sweetest. There's something nice for everyone to enjoy, even though they may have problems with certain aspects of the tale.

The "Diamond Edition" Blu-Ray does not include enough new extras to provide incentive to upgrade, even though it faithfully preserves most of the extras from the DVD. In addition, restoration errors aside, this is a great HD transfer and audio mix. They can easily be improved with a fresh re-visit through quality control, but overall, I'm satisfied with the look and sound. Its color palette is not something that can be helped (unless you want to fiddle with the settings on your television), and will have its fair share of fans and detractors. Whether or not you care for such things, the Blu-Ray still comes with a high recommendation.

Film: 4.25 out of 5 Mickey Heads

Video: 3.5 out of 5 Mickey Heads (5 out of 5 if Disney fixes the errors)

Audio: 5 out of 5 Mickey Heads

Bonus Features: 3.75 out of 5 Mickey Heads

Average: 4.125 out of 5 Mickey Heads (4.5 if Disney fixes the errors)

 

Your Thoughts:

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Disc 1 Review

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