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March 11th, 2008 by Stinkhead

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We recently got to watch the new Platinum edition of 101 Dalmations (from 1961) newly restored on DVD. My first thoughts are how gorgeous the colors look. I hadn’t seen the VHS in many years, but it always had a “dated” impression in my mind. The colors and line work are so crisp and clean, that they make the film feel, almost contemporary.
I even tried to stir up a conspiracy, as the smoke from Cruella’s cigarettes looked even more toxic than before. Speaking of which, there was an interesting anti-smoking campaign placed before the movie started. I think that could help parents open a dialogue about the protagonist smoking a pipe the whole movie. But Cruella’s smoking is definately viewed as a horribly negative trait in the movie.

The last time I saw this movie was quite some time ago, so I got to watch with a quasi “fresh” pair of eyes. Since the backgrounds and characters are so stylistic, I think it gives the film a healthier shelf life. They don’t have the shading that we’re used to, there isn’t any crazy depth tricks or computer trickery, but with the style being so intentional, I believe young viewers won’t get hung up on how old it truly is. The digital clean-up is quite handy however.

As far as the story goes, I was anxious about having to explain a story about animal cruelty, and the danger that the little guys will be in, but it’s never terrifying or too much for a little one to handle. Cruella is pretty evil, but she and her henchmen are so comical, I doubt many children will be terrified of them. (The bad guys in Pete’s Dragon… they terrified me as a child) The story keeps moving and this is not one of the Disney musicals, so there aren’t a lot of musical numbers dragging it down either.

The bonus features are also good. I think both younger children and Disney-philes will get something out of them. There’s the pop-up video style trivia bits littered throughtout the movie. There’s an interactive puppy feature, and some great archival footage of Walt Disney’s correspondance with the original author. (clips available on You may also like the features about the music in the film.

This DVD is available now on

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Posted in 3&up, Boys, Girls, Movies, review | Comments Off on 101 Dalmations, Two-Disc DVD – Review

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