Manufacturer: Walt Disney Home Entertainment Presents A Studio G Brand: Buena Vista Home Video Model: 4978107
From one of the most celebrated filmmakers in the history of animated cinema comes the most acclaimed film of 2002. Hayao Miyazaki's latest triumph, filled with astonishing animation and epic adventure, is a dazzling masterpiece for the ages. It's a "wonderfully welcoming work of art that's as funny and entertaining as it is brilliant, beautiful, and deep" (Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal). SPIRITED AWAY is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl, Chihiro, trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, she must call upon the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world. An unforgettable story brimming with creativity, SPIRITED AWAY will take you on a journey beyond your imagination. "To enter the world of Hayao Miyazaki is to experience a kind of lighthearted enchantment that is unique to the world of animation" (Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times). It's a fantastic tale the whole family will want to experience over and over again.~~(c) 2001 Nibariki -- GNDDTM
Finding Nemo (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Video / Pixar Brand: chamnan.d Model: 30078
From the Academy Award(R)-winning creators of TOY STORY and MONSTERS, INC. (2001, Best Animated Short Film, FOR THE BIRDS), it's FINDING NEMO, a hilarious adventure where you'll meet colorful characters that take you into the breathtaking underwater world of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Nemo, an adventurous young clownfish, is unexpectedly taken to a dentist's office aquarium. It's up to Marlin (Albert Brooks), his worrisome father, and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), a friendly but forgetful regal blue tang fish, to make the epic journey to bring Nemo home. Their adventure brings them face-to-face with vegetarian sharks, surfer dude turtles, hypnotic jellyfish, hungry seagulls, and more. Marlin discovers a bravery he never knew, but will he be able to find his son? FINDING NEMO's breakthrough computer animation takes you into a whole new world with this undersea adventure about family, courage, and challenges. Take the plunge into FINDING NEMO, a "spectacularly beautiful animated adventure for everyone" -- David Sheehan, CBS-TV
Jonny Quest - The Complete First Season
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers Brand: Warner Brothers Model: 2215581
Jonny Quest: Season One (DVD)Preteen Jonny Quest, the son of a renowned scientist, is a bold and brainy kid whose life is filled with intrigue, espionage, and nonstop excitement.]]> Baby boomers of a certain age, and anyone fond of classic Hanna Barbera cartoons, might find the 40-year-old episodes in Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season an exciting blast from the past. Five years before Hanna Barbera made a comedy about amateur youths solving exotic mysteries in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the animation giant captured a more serious spirit from a different era in Jonny Quest. The series played on primetime television--a very big deal for animation at the time--in 1964, and was infused with energy from sundry pop trends as well as cold war paranoia and a prevailing belief in limitless technology (largely inspired by America's race to the moon). Part intelligence thriller, part science fiction, Jonny Quest made a child's adventure out of thwarting international espionage and sabotage with super-computers, state-of-the-art transportation to every corner of the planet, an apparently bottomless budget for building fantastic weapons, martial arts, and more. The fact that schoolboy Jonny, as well as his best friend, Hadji, and canine companion Bandit, were having adventures akin to those of James Bond was terribly exciting. Young Jonny (voiced by actor Tim Matheson, later a co-star of Animal House and The West Wing) is the motherless son of government scientist Dr. Benton Quest. The latter conducts all manner of research from a remote island, where he lives with Jonny, Hadji, Bandit, and chief assistant Race Bannon, a rugged fellow who tutors Jonny but also provides muscle when the group is on assignment anywhere from the Arctic to Calcutta. The original 26 episodes (on four discs) find the team battling conspirators amidst half-sunken pirate ships in the Sargasso Sea (in the pilot, "Mystery of the Lizard Men," sans Hadji), working undercover to stop a Jahilipur manufacturer of fake gold ("Riddle of the Gold"), and foiling an effort to steal an experimental, "mind-numbing" drug (and passing off a Race look-alike as the real McCoy) in "Double Danger." (The last introduces Race's hottie girlfriend, Jezebel Jade.) The slow, deliberate animation (even more stiff than Scooby) can get a little wearing, but the uniqueness of Jonny Quest as a genuine adventure-drama makes this collection a must. --Tom Keogh
Batman: The Animated Series, Volume One (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video Brand: Batman Model: 2232560
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 1]]> Warner Brothers' Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995) remains a striking, stylized program that helped to revitalize the familiar comic book hero. Drawing on such diverse influences as Frank Miller's graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the Fleischers' Superman cartoons of the early '40s, and contemporary Japanese animation, the filmmakers stress interesting designs and cinematography. The Caped Crusader prowls a sinister, Art Deco-styled world of tall verticals, sharp angles, silhouettes, searchlights, and grid-like shadows cast by window frames. Its visual pizzazz eclipses Filmation's pallid kidvid, The Batman/Superman Hour (CBS, 1968), which ran off and on in various incarnations through 1981. Many of the same artists worked on the Batman animated features (e.g., Mask of the Phantasm (1993), Batman Beyond--The Movie (1999)), which display similar strengths and weaknesses. Ironically, Batman: The Animated Series looks better in stills than it does in motion. The artists fail to stylize the movements of the characters to match the dramatic settings, as Genndy Tartakovsky and his crew did in Samurai Jack. Batman uses sophisticated computers to combat the well-known villains--the Joker, the Penguin, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman--as well as some less celebrated baddies: Manbat, Clayface, The Mad Hatter. The bad guys cram a lot of plotting and scheming into each 22-minute episode, but the violence is kept to a broadcast standards minimum. The Dark Knight's First Knight easily ranks as the most interesting of the extras. Producers Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski recount the genesis of the series, and show their mini-pilot, which is more violent and more fully animated. If the complete episodes had matched the pilot, the series would have been much more exciting. (Unrated, suitable for ages 8 and older: violence, mild grotesque imagery) --Charles Solomon
Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Two (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Manufacturer: WarnerBrothers Brand: Warner Brothers Model: 2232536
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 2]]> The early-'90s Batman series was probably the best animated superhero show ever, mixing stylish animation with a dark tone appropriate for the Dark Knight. The second volume, comprising four discs of 28 episodes and vastly preferable to the many single-disc releases, features familiar characters the Joker, Catwoman, the Penguin, Two-Face, Poison Ivy, as well as the first appearances of the Riddler, and Ra's Al Ghul and Talia. The episodes are highlighted by the Emmy-winning two-parter "Robin's Reckoning," which recounts the origin of the Boy Wonder and his chance for revenge years later. In "Perchance to Dream," Bruce Wayne finds his parents alive and another Batman patrolling Gotham City, the two-part "Something" pits Batman against Miyazaki-styled robots, and Batman revisits the samurai training of his past in "Night of the Ninja" and "Day of the Samurai." Give the series credit for not talking down to kids--Japanese characters spoke in Japanese with English subtitles, and one episode, "Almost Got 'Im," was styled after a '50s black-and-white variety show. It employed smart humor and characterization even to the point where it could let villains carry an episode. Certain stories were based on comic books, and the series involved comics veterans such as Denny O'Neil and Len Wein. Also camp-master Adam West appears as the voice of the Grey Ghost. --David Horiuchi
Batman: The Animated Series, Volume Three (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video Brand: Warner Brothers Model: 2210524
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 3 (DVD) (Multi-Title)]]>
Batman: The Animated Series, Volume 4 (DC Comics Classic Collection)
Manufacturer: Warner Home Video Brand: Warner Brothers Model: 2210525
Batman: The Animated Series Vol. 4]]> The fourth and final volume of Batman: The Animated Series is a little uneven but still encompasses some great episodes. Start with "Over the Edge," a nightmarish scenario in which Commissioner Gordon dedicates himself to hunting down Batman following the death of his daughter, Batgirl. "Critters" is a tribute to Japanese monster movies, "Mad Love" recounts the origin of Harley Quinn, and "Legends of the Dark Knight" animates both a '50s-styled Batman adventure as well as a scene from Frank Miller's Return of the Dark Knight. This run of 24 episodes has a lot of Batgirl, too little Nightwing, and a lot of the new Robin, Tim Drake, whose origin is explained in "Sins of the Father." Drake gets a mostly solo adventure, Batgirl teams with Supergirl, and there's still a sense of fun, with goofy humor that includes an appearance by the Three Stooges as the Joker's henchmen. Guest voices include Sela Ward as Calendar Girl and Tippi Hedren, and Mark Hamill continues the excellent work as the Joker that created some early rumors about his taking the live-action role in the sequel to Batman Begins. By this time, Batman had become part of the Batman/Superman Hour, so viewers can choose the opening sequence for either that or the original animated series. That, as well as the unbalanced number of episodes in the seasons (e.g., the first season of the animated series was 60 episodes), is why Batman: The Animated Series was released in volumes rather than as single-season sets. --David Horiuchi
Whisper of the Heart
Manufacturer: Walt Disney Home Entertainment Brand: Buena Vista Home Video Model: 02535000
From the creators of the Academy Award(R)-winning SPIRITED AWAY (Best Animated Feature Film, 2002) comes a tale based on the screenplay from the legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki. During summer vacation, a schoolgirl named Shizuku, who longs to discover her true talents, observes an ordinary-looking cat riding by himself on the train. Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku's exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination. Featuring extraordinary storytelling, enchanting animation, and an all-star voice cast, this 2-disc set will inspire dreams and warm hearts of all ages. ~~(c) 1995 Aoi Hiiragi/Shueisha Nibariki GNH Based on a manga by Aoi Hiiragi, the gentle coming-of-age story Whisper of the Heart (1995) was scripted and storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki, and directed by the late Yoshifumi Kondo. Shizuku Tsukishima is an absent-minded, insecure junior high school student who reads book after book of fairy tales, helps her friends, and does most of her chores, but remains dissatisfied. When she encounters a wonderfully supercilious cat on the train, she follows him and meets Seiji Amasawa, a student in her class who hopes to become a violin maker. Seiji's commitment to his dream helps Shizuku find her voice, literally and figuratively: she realizes she wants to become a writer. A statue of a cat in the antique store of Seiji's kindly grandfather inspires her first story, "Whisper of the Heart." Shizuku and Seiji exhibit believable strengths and flaws: their warm humanity contrasts markedly with the shabby superficiality of the characters in many American animated films. The lively performances of Brittany Snow and David Gallagher transcend the geographic limits of the story to make Shizuku and Seiji the kids the viewer wishes lived next door. Miyazaki's script suggests that a sense of magic can exist, even in everyday Tokyo. Whisper of the Heart was the only film Yoshifumi Kondo directed before his untimely death at age 47, but its understated charm stands as a monument to his talent. (Rated G, suitable for ages 10 and older: tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Complete Book One Collection
Manufacturer: Nickelodeon Brand: Paramount
Avatar: The Complete Book One DVD Box Set includes the collection of all Avatar Water Nation episodes. This six-disc set will center on the Water Nation and its characters in 20 Avatar episodes (Chapters 1-20), Five DVD’s plus a bonus disc filled with incredible special features! Book 1: Water, Vol. 1 Mysterious, visually beautiful at times, and surprisingly funny, Avatar: Book 1, Volume 1 is the exciting story of Aang, a 12-year-old reincarnation of the ancient Avatar, whose purpose (in an imagined world that seems both ancient and futuristic) is to restore peace and order between warring armies of the four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. At one time or another, over thousands of years, the Avatar has been embodied in masters of each of the elements. Aang (who is freed from a century-long sleep inside an iceberg) happens to be an "airbender," capable of using air and wind as powerful forces for moving objects and defeating hostile armies of firebenders. The feature-length Avatar follows Aang and a couple of friends as he becomes reacquainted with the world he knew before his 100-year hibernation--a world now lost to history. The story also concerns internal dramas within the unforgiving world of firebenders, who are intent on destruction and conquest. This engaging story, very pleasant to look at in its rich tones of blue and orange, is for all ages. --Tom Keogh Book 1: Water, Vol. 2 Avatar The Last Airbender, Book 1: Water, Volume 2 continues the adventurous if half-comic journey of 12-year-old Airbender Aang, reincarnation of an ancient avatar, and his friends Katara and Sokka as they seek a teacher to help Aang fulfill his peacemaking destiny in a war-torn world. The four episodes on this disc, a follow-up to the elegant, magical series introduction, find the trio wandering through sundry Earth Nation cities, where they encounter signs of troubles between the once-harmonious, elemental tribes representing fire, earth, air, and water. They also bump into trouble with the occasional evil kingdom, as in "The King of Omashu," where Aang must go through various trials to save Katara and Sokka from a bizarre execution. (They're encased in growing, crystal structures.) "Imprisoned" finds Katara inadvertently responsible for the arrest of an Earthbending boy who dares to use his powers while his people are under Firebender occupation. The ambitious, two-part "Winter Solstice" is the best production in this collection, a pairing of storylines involving the capture of a Firebender war criminal and the hopes of a frightened village that turns to Aang to defeat a monster from the spirit world. The action is still original and fun on this sequel--most of it continues to be based on exciting uses of the elements--and the lead trio's characters (Aang the scamp, Katara the idealist, Sokka the skeptic) are still a pleasure to be with. --Tom Keogh Book 1: Water, Vol. 3 The Avatar saga continues with four of the anime series' strongest stories yet o...
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