The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad / Fun and Fancy Free: 2-Movie Collection
Enjoy Disney animation's humorous retelling of two unforgettable classics, The Wind In The Willows and The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow, wonderfully narrated by Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby, which come together in one magnificent adventure.
Then have some fun with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in Fun And Fancy Free, as Jiminy Cricket brings to life the timeless tales of Bongo and Mickey And The Beanstalk. This was the last animated feature starring Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse. These classic films follow Disney's tradition of combining great storytelling, unforgettable characters, music and adventure to create fun you can share with the whole family.
A really bizarre release from the folks at Disney, this two film collection features two compilation films from Disney, the delightful The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and borderline unwatchable Fun and Fancy Free. There’s also yet another bonus film, The Reluctant Dragon. All three films are presented in the aspect ratio of about 1.37:1 on this dual-layer disc. Each has received 1080p/24hz high-definition transfers.
This release is really a mixed bag in terms of transfers. Source wise they’ve been cleaned up nicely, and there next to nothing in the way of damage, but the transfers themselves are not consistent. Ichabod and Mr. Toad is probably the best looking one, with a more natural looking image. Noise reduction has been applied but not to the level where the image becomes a plastic-looking mess. There’s still a sense of texture to the artwork and line details are distinctly delivered. These two short films have a darker look but the colours are perfectly saturated and come off vibrant and bright when required. It’s a nice looking transfer, which gave me high hopes for the rest of the films on here.
Unfortunately that’s not the case. Fun and Fancy Free offers the worst looking presentation of all of the films. It’s been cleaned up but the digital tampering has been fairly excessive in many of the sequences. Whereas Ichabod delivered some sharp lines and details, Fun and Fancy Free always looks blurry and the animated sequences, which make up a majority of the film, have been flattened out. Colours look fine and saturation is quite good, but that’s about the only plus I can say. The live action sequences look absolutely horrid, though. They’ve been filtered and have had heavy noise reduction applied to them, making every person in the scene look as waxy and fake as the creep puppets that they share the scenes with. Colours are also horrifically saturated and black levels crush out all shadow detail. These scenes look horrendous and actually come off creepier than they usually do because of it.
The bonus film, The Reluctant Dragon is a little schizophrenic and sits somewhere between the two main features. It’s a heavy mix of live action and animation, colour and black and white. The opening sequence actually looks really good: it’s grainy, but it looks clean, and detail levels are impressive. I was actually quite hopeful with this one but as the film progressed the picture quality wildly varied. Some of the black and white sequences become blurry and fuzzy and obvious filtering has been applied. Animated black and white sequences have a blotchy look to them, almost like a mosaic effect has been applied. The film turns colour eventually and these sequences wildly vary as well. There are some scenes where objects and people look waxy and textures are non-existent, but then there’s others where fine details come through clearly, textures are nicely rendered, and film grain is present. The colour animated sequences are not at all impressive, though, coming off filtered and flat. Overall it’s just all over the place.
So ultimately it’s a disappointment, and it’s curious that the quality varies so much.
The two main features both come with DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround tracks, though I wouldn’t call neither impressive. Though both deliver clean dialogue and great range, they’re still basically mono tracks that have music creep to the rears, along with some sound effects, maybe most noticeable during the Headless Horseman chase in Ichabod.
The Reluctant Dragon comes with a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono track which is what it is: it’s clear, but flat and weak, a product of its age.
There isn’t a lot to be found, though I think Disney fans will be happy at the inclusion of The Reluctant Dragon, a fairly entertaining 74-minute “tour” of sorts of Disney’s animation studio, filmed in 1941. It was last available in one of Disney’s long unavailable “Disney Treasures” releases. As mentioned in the video portion of the review the quality varies drastically in terms of its digital transfer, though the print has been cleaned up quite thoroughly. The film is only available on the Blu-ray.
Two dual-layer DVDs are also included, one for each film, which of course present standard definition versions of the films. Fun and Fancy Free presents a 15-minute Making of which is only of interest to those somewhat curious as to why the film was made, but it’s not terribly interesting or illuminating itself. Both discs then feature Interactive Storybooks which you flip through. These appear occasionally on Disney releases and I’m actually not sure who they’re targeted for. These features are not available on the Blu-ray.
And that’s it. Not a lot, but the inclusion of the entire Reluctant Dragon is a fairly be addition.
It’s a mixed release. Ichabod and Mr. Toad delivers the stronger transfer while the other two films vary from uneven to an absolute mess. The inclusion of The Reluctant Dragon is a very nice addition, though.