Review: “101 Dalmatians” Diamond Edition Blu-Ray

101 Dalmatians is now out in a 2-disc Blu-ray/DVD Diamond Edition. This classic film was created at a time when Walt Disney really needed a hit to keep animation going, and it helped turn the Walt Disney Animation Studios around.

101 Dalmatians tells the story of Pongo the dalmatian and his human, soon folding in a love for each. It also delivered a new villain in Cruella De Vil, with the eponymous song beginning before she arrives. The film isn’t a musical in the way Disney films had been before, but it struck a chord with movie-goers – and continues to do so nearly 55 years later.

Here are the bonus features from 101 Dalmatians, a few which are really worth having for any Disney fan.

Further Adventures of Thunderbolt – Thunderbolt is the hero to the dalmatians in the movie, and this new feature continues the show that they were watching in the film.

Lucky Dogs – My favorite of the new bonus features, this includes Disney Legend Rolly Crump, ink & paint artist Carmen Sanderson, animator Floyd Norman, and others who were part of the Walt Disney years at the studio. 101 Dalmatians was created at a time when Walt Disney was needing to cut costs on animation, and Xerox made that possible. It was the first animated film by the Walt Disney Animation Studios that didn’t use the ink and paint process, cutting jobs but maybe saving Walt Disney Animation Studios in the process.

Dalmatians 101: For as much as I enjoyed Lucky Dogs, I found this bonus feature unwatchable. It is aimed toward the teen market and tries to be hip and cool, and I am apparently not either. Actor Cameron Boyce (who I’ve not heard of) gives 5 reasons to watch the film. First reason? 101 Dalmatians is modern…for the time it was created. That pretty much sums up most films. I made it through 2 reasons before going to the next feature. But it might be popular with the teens.

Walt Disney Presents “The Best Doggoned Dog in the World” (1961 Version): This was the first time I’ve seen this footage, which begins with Walt Disney and his dog Lady, a miniature poodle. The bonus feature is all about dogs, different kinds of dogs. I didn’t realize a poodle was originally bred for hunting – so I learned a few things along the way. Eventually the segment features Walt and a dalmatian introducing 101 Dalmatians to viewers.

The only downside to watching this full feature was that we were planning on watching the film after the bonus features, but already felt like we’d watched much of 101 Dalmatians with Walt. I would recommend enjoying the movie first, and then enjoying this bonus feature. It really shows quite a bit of the film, more than I expected.

There are also classic bonus features, including Redefining the Line: The Making of One Hundred and One Dalmatians. Think of it like Lucky Dogs but much more in-depth. Don Hahn, Brad Bird, animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, and really just a veritable who’s who of animation and production (along with historians) talk about how 101 Dalmatians got made. It digs deeper than the newer bonus feature and is my favorite feature on the disc.

101 Dalmatians Diamond Edition is packed with a couple of hours of bonus features, along with a classic film. What is not to love? We recommend adding it to your collection!