Blu-ray Review “Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo’s Return”

Actors: Michael J. Fox, James Garner, Cree Summer, Don Novello, Claudia Christian
Directors: Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise
Number of discs: 3
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Run Time: 176 minutes

“Atlantis: The Lost Empire”: 3 out of 5 stars
“Atlantis: Milo’s Return”: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Last year Disney started flooding the market with their less than par animated films on Blu-ray in these 2 Movie Collection sets. A few of them that we got “The Rescuers”/”The Rescuers Down Under”, “Pocahontas”/Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World” and “Mulan”/”Mulan II”. This month we are getting a few more to add to our collections including “The Emperor’s New Groove”/”Kronk’s New Groove”, “Lilo & Stitch”/”Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch” and this release “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”/”Atlantis 2: Milo’s Return”. “Atlantis: The Lost Empire” is not the best thing that Disney has every made, it is watchable and put not one of my favorites.  The sequel is another story, it was original made as a TV show “Team Atlantis” but failed and ended up being pieced together as a film. It is quite the failure in terms of Disney. I would say this release is for the hardcore Disney fans only.

Official Premise: Set a course for adventure as Milo Thatch and his fearless crew dive into the mysteries of the sea.  The group’s underwater expedition brings them face-to-face with gigantic sea monsters, spectacular spirits and the mythical land of Atlantis while they discover the power of friendship and teamwork.  Loaded with thrills and stunning visual effects, this sensational 2-Movie Collection takes audiences on an unforgettable voyage they’ll want to experience over and over again!

The 2-Movie Collection release of “Atlantis: The Lost Empire / Atlantis: Milo’s Return” is a 3-disc set. Which includes both films on one Blu-ray with each film also included on their own DVD. In terms of Blu-ray presentation, the 1080p transfers are great for “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”, which really looks clear and the colors are beautiful. “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” is not the greatest, especially since it really has that made-for-TV feel to it. Just doesn’t work for me overall. Both films come stocked with a standard, yet impressive DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio tracks, same thing applies here also as the video transfer. The first film sounds stunning and very epic, while the sequel does not reach that same level at all. Decent but no wow factor.

The best thing this Blu-ray has going for it that “The Emperor’s New Groove”/”Kronk’s New Groove” and “Lilo & Stitch”/”Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch” doesn’t is that it actually has special features on the Blu-ray disc. There is an audio commentary on the first film from producer Don Hahn and directors Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise.  I actually thought it was quite interesting and informational. “The Making of Atlantis” is a sweet hour long extensive ten-part documentary, which covers all aspects of the production. “The Lost Empire Deleted Scenes” includes four unused scenes. There is one deleted scene from “Milo’s Return” running thirty-two seconds long…really? Lastly there is “How to Speak Atlantean” as a faux news reel, “Atlantis: Fact or Fiction?”, which is fun for the kids and Theatrical Trailers included.

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Blu-ray Review “Fullmetal Alchemist- The Movie: The Sacred Star of Milos”

Actors: Vic Mignogna, Maxey Whitehead, Alexis Tipton
Directors: Mike McFarland
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Funimation Prod
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Run Time: 110 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

I have been a fan of “Fullmetal Alchemist” since day one.  I really enjoyed “Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos”.  I thought it was a great entry in the animes universe. The focuses on our heroes Alfonse and Edward but also introduces a bunch of other great new characters.  I did notice how they did shift the focus of the film to one of the newbies, Julia and focused some of the story on her. But I thought it still worked well and kept me very entertained and interested throughout. The series has never looked better in my eyes and I really hope that they are planning future films, maybe with Julia again (hint hint). If you are a fan of the series, this comes highly recommended.

Official Premise: A fugitive alchemist with mysterious abilities leads the Elric brothers to a distant valley of slums inhabited by the Milos, a proud people struggling against bureaucratic exploitation. Ed and Al quickly find themselves in the middle of a rising rebellion, as the exiled Milos lash out against their oppressors. At the heart of the conflict is Julia, a young alchemist befriended by Alphonse. She’ll stop at nothing to restore the Milos to their former glory – even if that means harnessing the awful power of the mythical Philosopher’s Stone.

FUNimation Entertainment has been very kind of the “Fullmetal Alchemist” series and “The Sacred Star of Milos” is no different.  It delivers a stunning presentation within its 1080p transfer and 1.78:1 aspect ratio.. The colors are very sharp and bright. Like with the last movie in the series, this one also includes both the original Japanese language track and my favorite, the English dub with very impressive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround tracks.  I just love the English cast from the series and this is a rare time when I prefer over the original language. The action is well-used with either track and works perfectly with the films non-stop action.

The special features are seem like they don’t come with much but I enjoyed what they had quite a bit. “Fullmetal Alchemist: Making of Sacred Star of Milos” is a very solid hour long behind-the-scenes look into the production of the film. It is in Japanese with English subtitles. There is a fantastic commentary track from the English dub cast including Maxey Whitehead (Alfonse), Christopher R. Sabat (Armstrong), Vic Mignogna (Ed), and many others from the crew. Lastly there is a U.S. Trailer, Web Promo, and TV Spot included. What I like most about this film is that you don’t really need to know the series that well to be able to enjoy and follow unlike the last movie “Conqueror of Shamballa”. Don’t miss this!