101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though much of London looked very good, some prominent problems affected my grade.
The main issues stemmed from edge enhancement. Haloes cropped up throughout the movie, and they sometimes made the image less concise and more tentative than desire. For the most part, sharpness looked fine, but those haloes caused too many distractions. I also saw some jagged edges and a few weird examples of motion artifacts that made the flick look like it suffered from scan lines; these were infrequent but odd and annoying. As for print flaws, I saw a couple of small specks, but otherwise the movie remained clean and fresh.
London enjoyed a suitably cartoony and lively palette, and the DVD replicated those tones spectacularly well. The colors always came across as tight and vibrant, as they virtually leapt off the screen at times. The hues never displayed any bleeding, noise, or other concerns, and they consistently appeared stellar. Black levels also seemed deep and rich, while shadow detail looked appropriately dense but never became too thick or opaque. The highs were enough to bolster this to a “C+“, but the lows disappointed.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of 101 Dalmatians II seemed satisfying. The soundfield maintained a noticeable bias toward the front speakers, and it displayed decent spread and imaging there. Music showed nice stereo separation, and a lot of environmental and other specific effects cropped up from the sides. The soundfield showed a good level of activity and made the front domain reasonably lively, though elements tended to seem somewhat “speaker specific” at times. The track didn’t blend together as smoothly as I’d like, and panning could appear a bit awkward.
Surround usage was relatively minor, though the movie enjoyed some active moments. For the most part, the rear speakers simply reinforced the front ones, but periodic instances of unique audio cropped up from the rear. I even detected some split-surround usage. For example, when Cruella shouted “spots!” and ran around the art gallery, her voice moved nicely across the rear speakers.
Audio quality appeared solid. Speech came across as natural and concise, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Music sounded fairly tight and brisk, with good dynamic range evident. Effects also seemed clean and accurate, and they could provide some nice low-end response when appropriate. For instance, the snort of the mad bull and the backfire of Cruella’s car both offered deep and vivid bass. Although the audio of 101 Dalmatians II didn’t excel in any particular way, it still worked well for the material.
How did the picture and sound of this 2008 “Special Edition” compare to those of the original 2003 DVD? In terms of audio, both seemed virtually identical, though the 2008 release omitted the DTS track from the original issue. Since I thought the Dolby and DTS mixes sounded the same, I didn’t mind the loss of the latter, but its absence may bother some fans.
As for the visuals, the transfers seemed to be the same but encoding appeared to differ. The 2008 disc looked softer but it suffered from fewer of those jagged motion artifacts. This meant that the two didn’t offer identical visuals, but neither worked better than the other.
Although Disney touts this 2008 release as a “Special Edition”, it adds almost nothing to the original disc’s supplements. The only new component comes from a game called Patch’s Twilight Adventure. This requires you to go through a series of mini-pieces to finish a quest. It’s simple but it offers mild fun.
Otherwise, all the DVD’s extras appeared on the 2003 release. The Lost In London game provides a moderately educational and enjoyable quiz. You hear a description of a London landmark and then need to select it from three options. If correct, you learn a little more about the sight. The game offers no reward for completion, but it lacks the mind-numbing repetition of many Disney DVD guessing games, and it lets kids learn a little more about London, so it seems like a decent piece.
Purely fun, Thunderbolt: An Inside Look takes us into the TV star’s trailer. We can then check out different materials in his abode. For example, we can read his fan mail and watch some commercials. The package even tosses in some “bloopers”. This section offers a reasonably enjoyable experience.
A light attempt to relate some information about the film’s creation, the Behind the Scenes Dog-umentary lasts six minutes and 58 seconds. It shows some pooches as they roam the Disney studios and learn a little about how they made London. We hear from directors Jim Kammerud and Brian Smith, art director Bill Perkins, and anonymous animator “Dave”. Veterans won’t learn anything hear, but it’s fun to see some of the voice recording sessions, and kids should get a kick out of this creatively-done documentary.
Next we find two music videos. “Try Again” by Will Young mixes recording studio shots with movie clips, while “You’re the One” by LMNT just runs film pieces along with the song. Neither tune nor video seems memorable.
As the DVD starts, we encounter a mix of ads. We find trailers for Sleeping Beauty, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, TinkerBell, WALL-E and Disney Movie Rewards. In addition, you’ll see these clips in the DVD’s Sneak Peeks domain plus promos for The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea, Tigger and Pooh and a Musical Too, Little Einsteins: The Christmas Wish and Phineas and Ferb.
Most of Disney’s “direct-to-video” releases seem cheap and cheesy, but 101 Dalmatians II: Patch’s London Adventure stands out from the pack. It never takes itself too seriously, and it offers a reasonably clever and lively romp. The DVD features flawed but usually decent picture quality along with good sound and a small roster of supplements. Families looking for some animated entertainment should give 101 Dalmatians II a look, as it seems like a fun choice for both kids and adults.
While new fans might want to give this release a look, I can’t recommend a “double dip” for folks who already own the original disc. Both releases featured virtually identical audio, and the extras were extremely similar as well; the SE added nothing of consequence. As for the visuals, they looked different between the two, but neither seemed stronger than the other. There’s no reason for fans to replace their old discs with this one.
To rate this film visit the original review of 101 DALMATIANS II: PATCH'S LONDON ADVENTURE