101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure: Special Edition (2002)

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Released 14-Jan-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Animation Menu Animation & Audio
THX Optimizer
Featurette-Thunderbolt's Dressing Room : Game for the tots (1.33:1)
Game-Lost In London : Another simple quiz game (1.33:1)
Featurette-Making Of-(7:00) Simple level, but some interest 1.33:1)
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 70:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:39) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Brian Smith
Jim Kammerud
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Barry Bostwick
Jason Alexander
Martin Short
Bobby Lockwood
Susan Blakeslee
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $36.95 Music Jason Frederick
Richard Gibbs
Randy Rogel


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
French dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   


    Disney had commercial and artistic success with the animated 101 Dalmatians in 1961. Forty-two years later a direct to video sequel appeared, 101 Dalmatians II : Patch's London Adventure. Now a "Special Edition" of that belated follow-up has appeared, although dropped from the local release is the only feature which was added to the initial line-up on the Region 1 release, a game entitled Patch's Twilight Adventure.

    Based on Dodie Smith's novel The One Hundred and One Dalmatians, with a screenplay by Jim Kammerud and director Brian Smith, we rejoin the household of Roger (Tim Bentinck) and Anita  (Jodi Benson - the voice of "Ariel") shortly after the defeat of Cruella De Vil in the original movie. Pongo (Samuel West) and his family of pups are flourishing, although Patch is feeling lost amidst the throng of siblings. He secretly longs to emulate his TV hero Thunderbolt (Barry Bostwick), a wonderdog icon to his millions of fans. However, all is not sunshine and light in the TV star's world. The envious Lightning (Jason Alexander) has planted seeds of self doubt which threaten Thunderbolt's ego. "They're writing me out of the show", he wails to the world. Patch hears that auditions are being held for a new star, but Jasper's household is planning a move to the country, to Cherry Tree Farm. When Patch is accidentally left behind in the deserted house, he decides to go to the TV auditions.

    In the ensuing action Patch auditions and befriends his idol, Thunderbolt, joining him as he tries to re-establish his heroic image. Thunderbolt confesses to Patch  "I'm not a real Wonderdog. I just acted like one ... once." Newspaper exposure brings Patch to the attention of Cruella (Susanne Blakeslee), who has met an artist, Lars (Martin Short), who specialises in drawing black dots. Cruella, concocting a cruel scheme to use the puppies as Lars' raw material, secures the release from prison of her bumbling henchmen, Horace (Maurice La Marche) and Jasper (Jeff Bennett) and plots to once again puppynap the dalmatians. Of course all is resolved in a climax which neatly unites all characters, and the dastardly are carted off to either prison or an insane asylum, while the virtuous are rewarded with love and/or fame.

    The extremely short running time, sixty-four minutes to the beginning of the endtitles, is crammed with fun and excitement. Aimed at a very young audience, there is minimal violence. When Cruella whacks Thunderbolt with a paint bucket it occurs "off camera", while there is nothing on screen that will upset the tots. The plot is lively, if not inventive, and the large cast of characters is amusing. The standout is undoubtedly Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show) who makes Thunderbolt an adorable and outrageously fractured star. The verbal interplay between him and Jason Alexander's Lightning is great fun. Also of note, as one would expect, is the contribution by the always clever Martin Short. Although the target audience is extremely young, there is more than enough to amuse and entertain any trapped adult. One such moment which should tickle any oldie watching occurs when Thunderbolt encounters Lars trussed up in a seemingly S&M situation. There is no dialogue, but the eyebrows say it all. Also of adult appeal is the attractive and varied jazz influenced score by Richard Gibbs (Cleaner). Very reminiscent of the early work of Henry Mancini, around Peter Gunn and Breakfast at Tiffany's time, the music is prominent and lifts the film with its vitality.

    I have read some strange criticism of the "poor" standard of the art work in this feature. These comments show a total lack of understanding of the style of the animation employed. The "making of" featurette, though catering to the very young, does cover the artistic style of the film. The creators have faithfully retained the look of the original film, a look which differs greatly from the "three dimensional" strivings of most  recent animated features. Colours are soft and most attractive, with some stronger bursts when Cruella is on hand.

    While undeniably not up to the standard of the 1961 original, this direct to video sequel is sure to totally delight its target audience. This is a minor animated pleasure which targets its young audience expertly. Similarly aimed are the extras, which are disappointing for any adult buyer, but sure to briefly entertain the six-year olds ... until they ask to see the movie again, and again, and again. Don't miss the black and white tag which comes after the finals credits.
 

 

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Transfer Quality

Video

         
    There is very little to be displeased with in the quality of this disc.
    The transfer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.
    The image is clear and sharp, although the artistic style does not lend itself to a great amount of detail.
    The colours are generally soft and attractive.
    There was one instance of aliasing (31:21) on a portrait of Cruella, but apart from this the picture is extremely pleasing.
    The image is clean and clear, the only visual blemish being a slightly excessive use of edge enhancement.
    


    The English and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles were sampled and were found to be accurate.
    There are also subtitles in French.

    This is a dual layer disc, and the layer change at 54:39 is seamless.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are three audio streams : English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 Kbps;
                                                    French Dolby Digital encoded at 384 Kbps and
                                                    French DTS 
    
    Although there is a lack of dynamism compared to "adult" films, this gentler sounding disc has a full rich sound field which is very pleasing.
    There is frequent directionality across the fronts, and the surrounds supply frequent action bursts, ambience and puppy sounds.
    The subwoofer gives a moderate boost to many sequences, one being the auditions scene.

    Dialogue is perfectly clear, beautifully recorded and balanced.
    There were, as we should expect, no technical glitches of any sort.

    Richard Gibbs score is a standout feature. The jazz influenced orchestrations are quite dazzling in their full surround reproduction, with the bass rhythms nicely reinforced by the subwoofer. This is one time I would really have appreciated an isolated music track.
        

    

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras


The disc, for any adult, has a disappointingly small list of extras, actually fewer than appeared on the earlier Region 4 release, which included two music videos which have not resurfaced here.


Main Menu:
Presented in the ratio of 1.78:1 the menu uses attractive animation plus a musical theme from the film.

Options presented are :

        Scene Selection :  Twelve thumbnails on three screens with stills and music from the score.
        Set-Up : A screen with a still and music from the score offers :
                      Languages : English
                                          French Dolby
                                          French DTS

                       Subtitles : English
                                       English for the Hearing Impaired
                                       French
                                       None
       
                       THX Optimiser : Audio and Video Tests
       
        Bonus Material :  A separate screen with a still and music from the score offers :     
                                           Thunderbolt's Dressing Room
                                           Lost in London Game
                                           Making of Dogumentary

       
Bonus Features :

Game : Thunderbolt's Dressing Room :
Presented 1.33:1, this is an extremely simple little diversion. The "player" clicks on various items in the dressing room, but generally very little is revealed. The best of the bunch are the "bloopers" from Thunderbolt's TV series, presented at 1.66:1 but matted 4x3.

Game : Lost in London :
Presented 1.33:1 in this game the player is asked a question and presented with three options from which to select the correct answer. Each correct answer "rounds up" more of the lost puppies until all are safely back home.

Featurette : Making of "Dogumentary" (7:00) :

Presented 1.33:1 in a 4x3 transfer, this short making of documentary is extremely simplified for the disc's young audience - although critics of the artistic quality of the film will learn something. I would wish for more - such as what does "inbetween animation" mean, and what contributions to the final animation come from the Japanese artists. I suspect that the broad direction comes from the US, and then the hard labour takes place in Japan. However, I am not the intended audience for the disc, and I guess it suffices for six-year olds to hear that the artists worked "very, very hard". The documentary is good quality, but it is annoying that the sequences from the film itself are squeezed.

                                           
                                                                                                               
                                                                                          

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The local Region 4 release misses out on :

Patch's Twilight Adventure : This game was the only new feature on the US "special edition" release. Some reviews have criticised the game as being rather dull, which may account
                                            for its omission here.
Try Again : Music video by Will Young
You're the One : Music video by LMNT.

Summary

    This was one one of the better direct to video Disney releases. It is a short, no-nonsense piece of entertainment for the very young, with enough wit and intelligence to keep any adult amused. The disc looks most attractive, with the lively and enveloping sound raising the standard, especially in regard to the delightful score.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, February 09, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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