Review: The Princess and the Frog Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Just in time for the exclusive engagement of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog in Los Angeles and New York City beginning this week, the soundtrack for the film has been unleashed. With a series of hits and misses over the past 15+ years and Disney taking breaking from its Menken safety net, how does ‘newcomer’ Randy Newman fare for the first Disney Princess in a decade?

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iPhone App Review: Prep & Landing

Disney's Prep & Landing for the iPhone by Walt DisneyTitle: Prep & Landing (link)
Publisher:
Walt Disney
Released:
November 19, 2009
Cost:
$.99
iTouch?:
Yes (WiFi/Internet required for some)
Pros: A couple of entertaining games/features
Cons: Long, frustrating gameplay with little payoff, promoted items missing
Review: On December 1, ABC will air its first ever original holiday special produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. That’s the good news. The bad news is they want to charge you for downloading the promotional app and it falls way short on expectations and even promises.

After watching a surprisingly brief promo for the special, you are presented with two menu options. Kringle Academy is where you’ll find 3 mini-games and P&L Specialized Equipment is where you’ll find the ‘extras,’ which are often more entertaining than the games themselves, unfortunately.

As a  general rule with the game, sound effects are nil (Christmas carols are your only source of audio candy) and gameplay is exceptionally long with repetitive movements. There’s also no scoring system so you’re really only competing for ‘distance’ and colored rewards such as gold, silver and red (and other, ‘lesser’ colors) which seem to offer no benefit other than a virtual pat on the iBack.

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iPhone App Review: LUMA

LUMA by Walt DisneyTitle: LUMA (link)
Publisher:
Walt Disney
Released:
November 10, 2009
Cost:
$.99
iTouch?:
Yes
Pros: Quick, addictive play, good graphics and sound effects
Cons:
None
Review: I confess when I first read LUMA’s description and saw the game shots, I thought I knew exactly how the game was going to go. At first glance, the concept seemed like this network type game I had played on a PDA long ago where ‘cables’ had to be rotated in 90 degree increments in order to connect various ‘nodes’ together to complete a ‘network.’ Although LUMA’s premise is similar, Disney Interactive (and its Enorbus subsidiary) have managed to turn the simple concept on its ears and produce a quick and highly addictive logic puzzle game.

LUMA by Walt Disney (more…)

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iPhone App Review: Bayou Beats (The Princess and the Frog)

Bayou Beats for the iPhone by Walt DisneyTitle:Bayou Beats (link)
Publisher:
Walt Disney
Released:
November 7, 2009
Cost:
Free
iTouch?:
Yes
Pros: Free, some replay value, music from the film
Cons:
Large installation due to music video
Review: In promotion of Disney’s The Princess and the Frog which opens nationwide December 11 comes this free app which includes a small, quasi-addictive game along with a music video and a lot of purchase links.

Bayou Beats for the iPhone by Walt DisneyThe game itself is small and pretty straightforward. Using instrumental versions of one of several songs from the feature film (but sadly not Gonna Take You There) as a backdrop, the game consists of pressing one of several buttons along the bottom as they are lit up by falling crowns passing through them. The game keeps track of how many correct touches in a row you have and then rewards long streaks by increasing a score multiplier. Where it may get confusing is that it looks like you have to ‘catch’ the individual crowns, but while you do have to prevent the crown from passing through without being touched, the key is you’re touching the button while it’s lit which means a single crown can yield you 2 or 3 successful touches if done quickly enough while a few crowns in immediate succession can yield a quick finger upwards of 15 touches or so. Get too greedy by having one of your touches land when the button is no longer lit, however, and the frog croaks and the chain count is reset to zero.

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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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