REVIEW: ‘Disney’s A Christmas Carol’ is a Thrilling Ride in Digital 3D

There’s just no beating around the bush about this one: one of the most thrilling action movies this year was written by Charles Dickens in 1843. The only questions that remain are just how good is this movie that Disney has been promoting in over the top ways? And what should you know about this movie before you see it?

Check out our review of Disney’s newest film for all the sordid details.

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REVIEW: Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed In at the House of Mouse

It’s Christmas Eve and the entire Disney gang is trapped inside the House of Mouse but not a creature is moping — except for Donald that is. Can Mickey help remind Donald of the Christmas spirit and still keep his customers entertained? Or is it just one big snow job? Read our review to find out more.

 

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REVIEW: Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure

The Autumn Revelry is upon Pixie Hollow and it’s up to Tinker Bell to create the scepter used to replenish the pixie dust tree and keep Pixie Hollow going. But when things go wrong, she must venture out of Pixie Hollow on her own on a secret quest to right what has been wronged.

Will she soar? Or will Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure bite the pixie dust? Read our review to find out more.

Plus don’t forget, just a few more days to enter to win copies of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure on Blu-ray/DVD and the game for the Nintendo DS. So if you haven’t already, enter today!

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iPhone App Review: Disney’s Magic Mirror

Disney's Magic Mirror for the iPhoneTitle: Disney’s Magic Mirror (link)
Publisher:
Walt Disney
Released:
October 5, 2009
Cost:
$.99
iTouch?:
Yes, limited functionality
Pros: Sort-of cute app for the Snow White-diehard to share with friends
Cons:
More ad than content, not much of either for the price
Review:
This is a Snow White-ized  version of the classic Magic 8-Ball App. Ask it a yes/no question and it does its best to reply. So I simply asked it whether or not people should buy it and this was its actual response:

alone in the dark
the world is still
despite my best efforts
I do not know its will

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Report: D23 Member Preview Weekend at the Walt Disney Family Museum (Review)

It makes its official debut this Thursday, October 1, but D23 members were offered an exclusive preview this past weekend to visit the new Walt Disney Family Museum located in San Francisco’s The Presidio. Reports of the free tickets selling out fast were all too common and it’s not any fault of the Museum. A steady stream of D23 Members crowded the ten galleries focusing on visually and audibly telling the story of Walt Disney’s life.

From the moment you step into the beautiful but non-descript building, you get a taste for what you’re in for. Nine trophy cases line the walls filled with literally hundreds of different awards and recognitions received by Disney along with a few bonus items thrown in. Also on display in the lobby area is some of the original furniture from the Disney apartment above the Disneyland Fire Department as well as the multi-plane camera just inside the gift shop area (the multi-plane camera is so large that it actually extends to its proper exhibit on the second floor).

Inside the first Gallery, you are introduced to Walt’s family, even pre-Walt. There are literally hundreds of photos that help depict the life of the childhood of Walt and his siblings. You also get your first taste of the technology heavily employed within the museum: LCD monitors (a few of *many*) play a short, stylized video along with actual records of Walt recalling his youth — everything from growing up on a farm to forging a document so that he’d be accepted by the American Red Cross to join an Ambulance unit in France during the war after being rejected by the Armed Forces for his age (he was 16 at the time).

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iPhone App Review: Disney Fireworks

Disney Fireworks for iPhoneTitle: Disney Fireworks (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 11, 2009
Cost: $1.99
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Based off popular game genre, familiar images/music
Cons: Cost
Review: This is Disney’s iPhone version of the arcade/video game smash hit Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) with a couple of twists. Choosing from one of four environments, each with its own instrumental music: Peter Pan’s Neverland with ‘Second Star to the Right;’  Mulan’s Emperor’s Castle with ‘Reflection;’ Lilo and Stitch’s Hawaii with ‘He Mele No Lilo;’ and Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the premise is to press the appropriate color as the fireworks shell crosses the line at the top. Press the shell on target and it explodes into one of varying colors of fireworks, even the occasional Hidden Mickey firework. The  line is often not straight across either so it provides a larger challenge when you have competing shells being fired upwards. Complete a level and you can save it as a video to watch later (why, I haven’t quite figured out yet).

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iPhone App Review: Toy Story Photo Hunt

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneTitle: Toy Story Photo Hunt (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: September 15, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes
Pros: Free, addictive, simple play
Cons: Addictive
Review: The type of video game commonly found in bars, Toy Story Photo Hunt brings all the fun home to the kids and is surprisingly just as challenging when sober. Billed primarily as a promotional free app for the Toy Story/Toy Story 2 re-release, this app also includes a countdown to October 2 (when the films are re-released in theaters in 3D) and the TS/TS2 trailer along with some promotional information for the Toy Story Mania! game for the Wii.

Toy Story Photo Hunt for the iPhoneThe concept itself is quite simple: identify all of the differences between two of the otherwise-same image from one of the Toy Story films. In Normal mode, you have to find the differences before the clock runs out. You start out with having to locate 2 differences and, as you progress, so does the number of differences you need to find, up to nine per image. A wrong answer penalizes you on time, but you start with and earn additional bonuses that will instantly offer you more time or even find the differences for you. In Free mode, there is no clock ticking so you can guess for the differences as much as you’d like without the fear of running out of time. In Challenge mode, you need to find only one difference between each set of photos, but the clock burns much faster, so you only have time for one bad guess (assuming you guess quickly enough). Normal mode lets you run out of time without solving all of the differences 3 times, but Challenge is far less forgiving and one mess-up ends it all. Both the Normal and Challenge modes even have a public scoreboard available so you can submit your level and see how you rank up against others.

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iPhone App Review: Radio Disney (Streaming App)

Radio Disney iPhone AppTitle: Radio Disney (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 28, 2009
Cost: Free
iTouch?: Yes (WiFi)
Pros: It’s free, makes Radio Disney portable
Cons: Additional features on RD website with clunky interface
Review: There’s not an awful lot to this app, with one click on the iPhone/iPod Touch, it launches and connects to the Radio Disney website where it begins streaming, providing you with song/artist information along with an artist photo (when available). Another screen allows you to view the last 10 songs played on Radio Disney without disrupting song play. Additional features (such as making a song request, sending a shoutout, answering a poll, etc) require using the device’s Safari app to reach the Radio Disney website which exits the application and shuts off the music. The website itself has a really nice opening screen but quickly becomes difficult to navigate and to discern where the links to continue are and — to be blunt — these additional functions are so simple, they could easily be integrated directly into the app.

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Review: Wizards of Waverly Place the Movie

The cast of Wizards of Waverly Place the MovieFor the most part, the movie takes place during a family vacation at the Caribbean resort where Jerry Russo (David DeLuise) and Theresa (Maria Canals-Barrera) first met years before. With the absence of a studio audience (and their fits of timely laughter), the movie can take additional liberties including a slew of special effects, which it does spectacularly well particularly in the beginning of the movie when Alex (Selena Gomez) selfishly and comically puts herself first, openly defying her parents’ wishes (i.e., par for the course).

Things go horribly wrong for the Russo children, however, when a heated argument between Alex and her mother causes Alex to say things she doesn’t mean including the wish that her parents had never met. Enter the first lesson: be careful what you wish for.

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iPhone App Review: Toy Story Mania!

Toy Story Mania!Title: Toy Story Mania! (link)
Publisher: Walt Disney
Released: August 14, 2009
Cost: $4.99
iTouch?: Yes, but no bonus feature
Pros: Portable version of its theme park candidate, fun graphics, good re-play value
Cons: Some controls can be annoying
Review: If you’ve been to Disney’s California Adventure (Anaheim) or Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Orlando) within the past year, you no doubt are familiar with Toy Story Mania!, the Toy Story-themed 4D (that’s park-speak for 3D with cold water splashed on you) video game/attraction. Set to make its in-home debut later this year on the Nintendo Wii (minus the cold water), the iPhone edition is a happy medium which allows you to take the charm of the game with you no matter where you go.

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