It’s “new movie” Wednesday in the land of home entertainment and TG Geeks took a look-see at two new releases from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment: Christopher Robin and Incredibles 2.
If you didn’t catch these films in the theater, now’s the time to bring them home for private viewing because each feature is worthy of being in your physical film library. If that’s not good enough, the Blu-Ray/DVD package comes with great extras.
Quick Take: Christopher Robin brings the best of the lessons of Pooh and marries it to a live-action tale about remembering to cherish the life you have by living it while it’s happening. It’s a timely reminder from beloved characters that life is to be lived and more than a little low-key shade tossed at the “success at all cost” work ethic draining the life at more than a few of us.
You’ll laugh, frown – and if you’re a parent – recognize more than a few of the deflection tactics he uses to put off his daughter, disappoint his wife, or carelessly hurt a bear’s feelings along the way. Kids in the audience will giggle and groan as Pooh and the gang hilariously venture forth through London to “save” their Christopher Robin.
Under Marc Forster’s direction, Christopher Robin is a story of ever-increasing warmth and connection. From the opening animated montages that serve as a reminder of Christopher Robin’s life up-to-that point to Madeline’s the mad dash through London streets accompanied by talking stuffed animals, the vibe and story progression blend great visuals with drama, action, and fun.
The film’s more grown-up tone may take a bit of adjusting for those used to the brightly colored and more bouncy (pun intended) world of an animated Winnie the Pooh short; but, the look and (at turns) more ominous undercurrent in the worldbuilding create a dynamic and layered story-arc packed with wit, whimsy, and adventure. It’s a slow build carried beautifully with dry humor, high irony, a decidedly English sensibility.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD BONUS FEATURES:
• In Which … A Movie Is Made for Pooh – a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie.
• In Which … Pooh Finds His Voice – voice Winne the Pooh, from voice actors Sterling Holloway to Jim Cummings.
• In Which … Pooh and Walt Become Friends – Find out how Walt Disney and Pooh met.
• In Which … Pooh and Friends Come to Life – uncover the process of making Winnie the Pooh and Friends living stuffed animals
EXCLUSIVE DIGITAL BONUS FEATURE:
• In Which … We Were Very Young – Meet the actual, original teddy bear who, along with his best friends.
Review: The Pharr family is back and just as Super as ever. Only this time, you’re in for some role reversal as Helen steps into the limelight as the Superhero everyone wants to be and Bob tries his hand at handling the home front. Writer/Director Brad Bird brings relevance, relatability, and ridiculous high jinks to the big screen in a way that live-action films would do well to emulate.
Incredibles 2 drops the audience in the middle of a fight to stop a bad guy from making off with millions. But when that fight goes horribly awry the Pharr’s find themselves not on the wrong side of the law but facing imminent eviction and joblessness. The world isn’t looking to make being Super legal again and the government isn’t interested in funding (not-so)covert missions anymore.
But the best part of Incredibles 2 without a doubt is Jack-Jack and Edna. You’ll delight as this pair individually and collectively steal the show with insanely adorable shenanigans and right on the money commentary delivered with deadpan brilliance.
In this day and age, an animated movie taking no complicated family dynamics like who’s the breadwinner, what does being a partner really means, and how best to give attention to multiple children with extraordinary abilities but every-day needs is no mean feat. Incredibles 2 brings the entire Pharr family (and their “Super” friends) front and center in a contemporary setting that never loses it’s shine or forgets that not all super-villains are motivated by self-interest. Bob/Mr. Incredible finally grows up and Dash and Violet find their way and learn to trust each other just in time to have Helen’s back as Supers and as a family.
Although Bonus Features vary, I didn’t watch a single extra that wasn’t worth a second watch. Once again, Disney/Pixar knocks it out of the park with the animated extras and behind the scenes goodies:
- The Coolest Guy in Show Business – In this partially illustrated documentary, Samuel L. Jackson reflects how his childhood and love of comics shaped his passion for film and imaginative storytelling.
- 2 SuperScene Breakdowns – Casual commentary-style pieces looking at specific scenes in the film (The Racoon Fight and Mrs. Incredible) through a particular creative focus like action choreography, set design or story.
Blu-ray & Digital:
- All-New “Auntie Edna” Mini-Movie – When Bob Parr visits super-suit designer Edna Mode looking for help with his high-energy toddler Jack-Jack, Edna pulls an all-nighter designing a suit to harness the baby’s seemingly limitless powers.
- 10 Deleted Scenes With Introductions – Suburban Escape, Kari Revisited, Return of the Supers, Chewed Out, Late Audition, Slow Day, Frozone and Honey, Restaurant Robbery, Fashion Show and Security Breakdown.
- Super Stuff – From buildings and vehicles to costumes and props, every action movie requires a lot of really cool stuff. Meet the makers and learn what it takes to design and build such a uniquely incredible world.
- Heroes & Villains – A collection of mini-docs about the backstory and major design ideas behind the “Incredibles 2” characters — featuring voice actors, director Brad Bird, and Pixar artists talking about the many elements that make these characters feel real.
- Ralph Eggleston: Production Designer – This short piece explores the many ways a single production designer has influenced the look, feel and character of the Pixar universe, culminating in “Incredibles 2.”
- Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird – Brad Bird’s passion for animation dates back to his childhood and mentorship under Disney’s Milt Kahl, and that enthusiasm and powerful insight emanates from every film he’s made. Take a deep dive into Brad’s early years at Disney Animation Studios and his time at Pixar.
- Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes – At its heart, “Incredibles 2” is about family dynamics and the challenges of being a working parent. Meet the parents of Pixar as they discuss their personal connections to the film and their experience with stretching to balance work and family.
- SuperBaby – A documentary/hip hop music video hybrid hosted by Frankie and Paige from Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark. This piece explores how Jack-Jack came to life onscreen — from design to special effects to animation — all set to a hot beat.
- Commentary – Get inside commentary from animators Alan Barillaro (supervising animator), Tony Fucile (supervising animator, story artist and character designer), Dave Mullins (supervising animator) and Bret Parker (animation second unit and crowds supervisor).
- Theatrical Short: “Bao” – An aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy.
- Making “Bao” – Director Domee Shi shares her secret recipe for making an animated short — discussing how her rich cultural heritage, unique relationship with her mom, and her love of food all informed the making of the food-fantasy “Bao.”
- Outtakes & Stories – Raccoon Fight Story, Evelyn Animation Outtakes, Puppet Animator Interview, Outtakes Goofy Arms Story and SuperBaby Music Video.
- Character Theme Songs, Vintage Toy Commercial TV Spots , Toolkit Montage and Global “Incredibles 2” Trailers
- Theatrical Short: “Bao” & Commentary
Christopher Robin and Incredibles 2 each knock it out of the part for family entertainment. As the holidays approach and you’re wondering how to spend downtime, either film and its extras make for time well spent.
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