Tag Archives: Disney

DVD review: Disney’s “Starstruck- 2 Disc DVD/CD Extended Edition”

Starstruck is the latest Disney Channel movie crafted as a vehicle for one of their television stars, in this case Sterling Knight, one of the cast members from the hit series, Sonny with a Chance. It would be easy to write it off as just another way for the network to get huge ratings, but this Starstruck is actually a lot better than most of the movies the Disney Channel churns out.

Danielle Campbell, a relatively unknown teen actress whose biggest credit is the un-tween friendly Prison Break, stars as Jessica, a Michigan teenager on a family vacation to visit her grandmother in Los Angeles. Her older sister, Sara (Maggie Castle) is obsessed with pop star Christopher Wilde (Knight) and thinks she’ll be able to track him down while in California (only in a Disney movie). Jessica could care less for the world of movie stars and pop musicians, she’d rather go sightseeing and spend some time on the beach, so when Sara drags her along in search of Christopher Wilde, she does so dragging her feet.

Just who is Christopher Wilde? You’d expect him to be some stuck up snob, the kind of character that Knight plays so effectively on Sonny with a Chance. However, Wilde is actually just a lucky kid whose parents are consumed with his career and making decisions without his input. They want him to tour endlessly and possibly take a role in a big movie project that could make the family more money. No one seems to have his best interests in mind, especially not his fame hungry girlfriend (Chelsea Staub). His lone voice of reason and loyalty is his best friend, played by Brandon Mychal Smith (also from Sonny With a Chance).

Like the best romantic comedies that Starstruck is emulating, dating back to the dawn of talking motion pictures, the privileged Christopher Wilde and the uninterested Jessica are destines to meet, fall for each other, get photographed by paparazzi, have a misunderstanding that leads to a fall out and ultimately come back together. It’s like Notting Hill for a much younger crowd, except that Starstruck is actually more enjoyable than Notting Hill.

Campbell is a bright young star that lights up the screen when she’s on camera. If the head honchos at Disney don’t already have more projects with her in the works, they’re idiots. And Knight has a great comic timing and boatloads of charm. As I mentioned earlier, he plays a real jerk on Sonny with a Chance. In this film, he’s funny, serious and heartfelt. Starstuck may follow a formula, but it is well written, has some great performances and promotes strong messages of honesty, humility, self-acceptance and strength of character. Chalk this one up as a winner for girls and families alike.

This being a movie about a pop singer, there are plenty of opportunities for Knight to perform. The kid has a nice voice, as heard on the CD that accompanies this 2-disc DVD and CD set. Other features on the DVD include an extended version of the movie that is only available on DVD, three music videos, plus eight “rock along” tracks that give girls (and boys) the opportunity to sing along with the stars.

Dadnabbit Contest: Win a Disney Easter Basket!

Don’t feel like shelling out to fill your kids’ Easter baskets with toys and candy this year? Never fear! Disney’s giving away a whole bunch of stuff to celebrate the holiday, and if you’re our lucky winner, all you’ll have to do is accept delivery of this mound of April bounty from your sweating, angry mailman.

Here’s what you (and, uh, your kids) stand to win:

Winners will receive a Disney-themed Easter Basket that values over $200, including Blu-ray & DVD Combo Packs for the exciting new releases of Ponyo, The Princess and the Frog, Toy Story and Toy Story 2 Special Editions; a special Princess Tiana & Prince Naveen Wedding Doll Playset that is only available in Disney Stores, an adorable Ponyo plush toy, and assorted holiday chocolates and Easter eggs.

Sounds pretty great, right? Here’s all you have to do: Our esteemed Managing Editor, Jason Hare, has pretended to hide an egg somewhere in his hometown of Astoria, Queens. Your job is to take a look at the Google map of Astoria and try to figure out where he hid it. Send Jason an e-mail with your guess, and if you come closest to the imaginary egg’s real location, you win this big ol’ basket full of righteous Disney swag!

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Blu-ray Review: “The Princess and the Frog”

Even if you aren’t the kind of person who tends to get caught up in hype, you have to admit that last year’s Princess and the Frog made for a pretty killer story. The studio that invented longform animation, then abandoned it for CGI, returning to its classic roots…led by the guy who directed Toy Story and helped start sounding traditional animation’s death knell in the first place? What could be more perfect?

Well, in Disney’s eyes, the movie’s eventual $264 million worldwide gross could have been a little bigger — and as far as most critics were concerned, The Princess and the Frog was a solid, albeit disappointingly slight, effort that didn’t quite live up to its advance billing. (Not that anything could have, but whatever.) For a studio that spends an inordinate amount of effort trying to make filmgoers believe each of its releases is a certified classic (except Song of the South, right? Ha ha), the lavishly promoted Princess was a bit of an embarrassment.

Scrub away all that hype, though, and Princess is actually quite a bit of fun. If you’re the type of parent who, like me, sort of detests the whole Disney princess thing to begin with, the movie won’t do much to change your mind — despite a few surface changes to the studio’s formula, it’s very much the slice of happily-ever-after fairy tale that the title indicates — but it’s beautifully animated, with vibrant characters, gorgeous visuals, and a gently rollicking set of songs from one of my favorite artists of all time, Randy Newman. I mean, hey, it’s Disney. What exactly are you looking for, if not peerless craft in service of a storyline that probably doesn’t quite deserve it? Continue reading