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101 Dalmatians: Limited Issue

When Dalmatians Pongo and Perdita are united by the marriage of their owners Roger and Anita (who they think of as "pets"), the happy London family awaits the birth of Perdita's first litter. But after Anita's old friend, Cruella De Vil, fails to bully the couple out of the spotty little playthings (so she can make a coat from their fabulous fur), her goofy Cockney henchmen dog-nap the litter, where they join 84 other Dalmatian puppies at Cruella's abandoned country house, unaware that they are about to be bashed like a group of baby seals and become nothing more than an extravagant luxury good. As humans can do little to help, it's up Great Britain's canine and feline comrades — urban and rural alike — to free the innocent furballs and help them find their way home. Disney's 1961 101 Dalmatians is a laudable classic of the "for-kids-and-grownups" genre, with a sharp, focused plot, excellent voice-overs, and clever animation. In fact, of all the films from Disney's classic period, 101 Dalmatians offers the most distinctive art-direction, bypassing the traditional Mickey Mouse mold and opting for sharply drawn characters that look as if they were pulled from a New Yorker cartoon, all set against some effective monochromatic backgrounds that keep the focus on the action. This DVD edition is a gorgeous item, with a flawless transfer from a pristine source print and audio in Dolby Surround 2.0. And get this — it's even got a trailer! With a MSRP around $40, some folks might want to consider buying the comparable and less-expensive videotape edition, but since 101 Dalmatians was declared to be part of Disney's "Platinum Collection" in November of 1999, it's unlikely that the title will re-appear on disc until 2005 or later. If you're a fan, this one's probably worth the premium.

(Editor's Note: 101 Dalmatians: Limited Issue was placed on indefinite moratorium on Jan. 6, 2000, after 60 days in release.)

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