Tag Archives: mystery

The Great Mouse Detective: Blu Ray Review

The Great Mouse Detective is available on Blu Ray + DVD on Oct. 9, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Films

Between 1958-1982, Eve Titus parodied the greatest fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, into a mouse named Basil Rathbone for a series of children novels. His success in making the adult detective series accessible to youngsters led to Disney’s adaptation The Great Mouse Detective.

In this rodent based adaptation, Basil and Dr. Dawson (a parody of Dr. Watson) track down the notorious Professor Ratigan in order to prevent him from committing a heinous crime against the Royalty of Victorian England.

What’s really astonishing about this film is how they’ve retained the original character traits of the base characters, while adding whimsical nuances to entertain younger generations. Disney did a fantastic job of allowing the sophisticated detective genius from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work to shine through, all the while interweaving a daring adventure for younger audiences.

Twenty-six years after its theatrical release, Disney has completely restored both the original film and its audio track for the Blu Ray + DVD release. On top of that, they’ve included some special features worth checking out. “So You Think You Can Sleuth” is entertaining and educational to both children and adults. This featurette looks at the history of crime solvers and provides a lighthearted wrongdoing for the audience to take a stab at solving. There’s also The Making Of The Great Mouse Detective and “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” Sing-A-Long Song.

Bottom Line: This mousy mystery is timeless and definitely worth owning on Blu Ray.

Movie Grade A-
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtime: 74 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

The Rescuers/The Rescuers Down Under: Blu Ray Review

The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under on Blu Ray + DVD combo available on August 21, 2012. Courtesy of Disney Pictures

Thirty-five years ago, Disney’s animation studios delivered an original tale of two mice risking their lives to save a kidnapped girl from the clutches of a cruel woman. Thirteen years after the success of The Rescuers, Disney delivered one of its first sequels to an animated film in The Rescuers Down Under. For The Rescuers three and a half decade anniversary, both films have been included in the Blu Ray + DVD combo release.

The Rescuers is such a hit simply because it veers away from what so many other films do—talk down to children. Instead, it delivers a darker story everyone can enjoy. Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart work magic together as the unlikely pair of mystery solving, lovable rodents.

In The Rescuers Down Under, the adventure is brought to the other side of the globe where Bernard and Bianca must stop a ruthless poacher in the Outback of Australia. All new characters and phenomenal animation make this sequel a fun ride. Story wise, it just falls short of the first film – But not by much.

This Blu Ray release looked far better than I thought it would on my 60” television and sounded surprisingly good as well. Included you’ll find a wide array of special features to enjoy: “Peoplitis” a deleted song, “Someone’s Waiting For You” Sing-A-Long, and The Making Of The Rescuers Down Under. On top of those, Disney has also included “The Three Blind Mouseketeers” – Silly Symphony Animated Short, and the best feature of all “Water Birds” Disney True Life Adventure. This last feature is a fun video about real birds in nature and how they differ from each other. A must watch for wildlife lovers!

Bottom Line: You and your children will have a blast delving into these timeless mysteries alongside two heroic mice and their companions.

Movie Grades: The Rescuers: A-/The Rescuers Down Under: B
Blu Ray Grade A-

Runtimes: The Rescuers: 78 minutes/The Rescuers Down Under: 78 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

One For The Money: Blu Ray Review

Katherine Heigl stars is Stephanie Plum in One For The Money, available on Blu Ray combo pack May 8, 2012. Courtesy of eOne Films

For people who aren’t in love with every romantic comedy to hit theatres, seeing Katherine Heigl’s name attached to a movie generally generates groans. Taking a slight sidestep from her usual comedic endeavours, Heigl takes on a grittier role as lingerie saleswoman, turned bounty hunter in One for the Money.

In this movie, Stephanie Plum (Heigl) takes on the difficult task of tracking down an old fling who is charged with murder.

While this shows incredible similarities to 2010’s dreadful Bounty Hunter, there are a number of differences that elevate this movie to more than a cheesy romantic comedy.

Stephanie Plum’s character gets a good amount of development without too much suspended disbelief as her character deals with the bad guys. Director Julie Anne Robinson takes on her second film and she managed to balance the characters well, even if there was a slight excess of sexual interactions among them – Particularly between Heigl and Jason O’Mara, whose chemistry felt weak.

In the Blu Ray + DVD combo pack, they have included some entertaining special features to accompany the solid audio and visual presentation of the film. The special features include a mundane making of featurette Making the Money: Behind the Scenes, a very interesting short documentary Bond Girls: Kicking Ass in the Bail Bond Industry, a short funny Gag Reel, a deleted scene, and the trailer.

Overall, I’m thinking no one will praise this as a great film, but as a solid attempt at giving us more than the usual cheese-fest Hollywood has asked us to stomach over the years.

Bottom Line: As a romantic comedy it feels forced. As a comedic mystery, with the air of romance, it entertains.

Movie Grade B-
Blu Ray/DVD Grade B+

Runtime: 92 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1