March 14, 2017

Disney’s Direct to VHS Legacy

With another live action Disney remake on the horizon; “Beauty and the Beast,” I thought it would be interesting to look at another thing that Disney used to do before they decided it was a good idea to remake and/or create live action spin-offs of some of their most well-known films.

Many people consider the late 1980s and early 1990s the Renaissance of Disney Animation. And that’s a fair point. From “The Little Mermaid” to “The Lion King,” from 1989 to 1995, you could throw a rock and hit a great Disney Animated Film. But with great box office, comes the need for more money! Normally the first step was to release it on VHS in the giant clam-shell case and warn everyone that if you don’t buy it quick it will go into “The Disney Vault.” Their next step was something that no other studio did, at least at the time; Direct to VHS Sequels!

Looking back at the 90s, these direct-to-VHS (and later DVD) were being fired off left and right. Between 1994 and 2008, over 40 sequels were released straight for home consumption. Normally these sequels never lived up to their predecessor and in 2011 production ceased for all future direct-to-home sequels since executives said that these sequels were inferior to their originals. Kooky…

One of the most memorable offering was “The Return of Jafar.”
After the success of “Aladdin” in 1992 it only seemed natural to release a sequel, and to be fair, “The Return of Jafar” isn’t that bad and it marked the first Straight-to-VHS sequel that Disney had released. The one drawback was the lack of Robin Williams, but that was later rectified in the inferior 2nd sequel, “King of Thieves.” 

To not take the piss out of this post, I can honestly say that I haven’t seen another Direct-to-Home Video Disney film, but here are just a few of some of the other winners that you can still find in those giant clam shells.

Not exactly a Murderer’s Row of Disney excellence, but they are still an important part of Disney history. Fun fact, “Toy Story 2” was originally supposed to go Direct-to-VHS, but in a late decision, it was released to the theaters. Consider what could have been if the decision was to actually relegate such an early Pixar film to what I would consider “film purgatory.”

Bringing this back around, will the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” be any good? Who knows, but in all honesty, was “Maleficent” and good? Was “Cinderella” really any good? This seems to be the new normal for Disney at this juncture and only time will tell if this new wave of live-action remakes will go the route of the doomed Direct-to-VHS experiment.
August 14, 2014

Simplistic Rememberance: Robin Williams

No death is easy to take, but you can rest easier if it’s someone that has lived a full life and their time has come. Whether it’s a family member, close friend, acquaintance, or in this case an actor, when it’s sudden, it kicks you right in the gut, and the news of the passing of Robin Williams is one of the most devastating in recent memory.

From his humble beginnings on TV playing Mork from Ork, to his stand-up on HBO, and his numerous film roles playing everything from a cross-dressing nanny to a 10-year old trapped in a 40-year old’s body, and his Oscar-nominated performances as a Vietnam-era DJ, a schizophrenic ex-professor on the edge, an English teacher who single-handedly invented YOLO, and of course his Oscar-winning performance as Will Hunting’s therapist who reminded Will it wasn’t his fault, the man did it all.

As a genie, an alien, a doctor with a clown nose, and of course Peter Pan, Williams was both the gregarious clown and the dark, brooding character we were surprised to see from time to time. While some actors are tight-cast as either dramatic or comedic actors, Williams was able to do it all. He could bring you to tears with one word and have you bent-over gasping-for-air laughing the next. Not many actors in the past 50 years, or even 100 years for that matter, have been able to strike the perfect balance between manic and hysterical, crushing and comedic, or simply happy and sad.


We at Simplistic Reviews mourn the loss of one of film’s greatest actors, and there will never be another actor, or human being for that matter, like Robin Williams. Below are some of our fondest memories of Williams and some of our favorite films. Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought about his over 40 years of genius material.

DJ’s Top Three:

1. Good Will Hunting
2. Good Morning Vietnam
3. Popeye 

Matt’s Top Three:

1. Good Will Hunting
2. Aladdin
3. Death to Smoochy

Justin’s Top Three

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