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THE MORNING BUZZ: Creating Beauty Can Be A Beastly Task

13 Jun, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

I've been silently ruminating to myself lately that many of the special features on some of the latest family-oriented DVDs have skewed much more to the young viewer and can be boring for parents or older siblings experiencing them with a young viewer.

Trying to create programming for both adults and children on a “family” DVD is challenging and the results can be sometimes be uneven.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment is taking the challenge seriously, and if recent press demonstrations of the DVD features for both Beauty and the Beast and Monsters, Inc. are any indication, the studio has made significant strides.

It is clear from what I saw last week that Buena Vista has invested huge amounts of time and resources to take these two DVDs to another level in many ways.

Both new DVDs creatively offer the youngster and the mature viewer designated different tracks to experience the films and a host of related content. And some of it is so seamlessly melded that both age groups can enjoy the DVD together.

Beauty and the Beast, for instance, uses various characters in certain parts of the DVD to reach out to different demographic groups. A child is guided through various interactive games and more kid-friendly content by the Chip in “Chip's Adventure,” while adults interested in the more technical and “how-to” aspects of the making of the film and DVD enter “Cogsworth and Lumiere's Library.” Kids and parents can enjoy together a rollicking and challenging game in the dreaded West Wing, as well as segments on the history of the story of Beauty and the Beast (and other Disney stories) narrated by Celine Dion, and other features.

For Monsters, Inc., Buena Vista and Pixar have created a DVD that is a little more direct in its approach to serving both the young and mature, yet no less stupendous in the investment of time, effort and resources. Though there are myriad features, the two major tracks include “Monster World,” which puts you in the world of Monsters, Inc., with a variety of interactive elements and content, and “Human World,” which skews older with a selection of behind-the-scenes and “making of” featurettes.

It's impossible to describe here the impressive scope and quality of the programming in these newest efforts. (And I am curious as to how Disney is going to market both DVDs' many and varied elements.) Bob Chapek, BVHE's president, promises an “extraordinary” marketing effort.

Both DVDs, I believe, are indicative of the industry's continuing evolution in creating a whole new entertainment platform.

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