The Jungle Book and Friends Collection (DVD/Digital)

With Disney remaking their remakes of classic fairy tales and adventure novels, stories like “The Jungle Book” are all the rage these days. For folks that want to branch out from the Disney umbrella and check out what other companies have adapted these classic stories, Mill Creek Entertainment releases a collection of animated adaptations of legendary adventures and fantasies. It’s especially good if you’re looking to save a few bucks while expanding your animated horizons beyond the House of Mouse.

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Jungle Emperor Leo (Janguru taitei) (1997)

I’ll plead ignorance by admitting that I wasn’t aware that “The Lion King” was controversial for being touted as plagiarizing “Kimba The White Lion” and “Jungle Emperor Leo” since the aforementioned film’s release. There are even reports of Matthew Broderick explaining his new project as a remake of “Kimba.” As for other similarities explained by anime fans, you really can’t deny the shocking similarities. “Jungle Emperor Leo” is worth viewing not just because of its inherent entertainment value and great animation from Tezuka Productions, but the fact that it bears shocking similarities to “The Lion King.”

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Millennium Actress (Sennen joyû) (2001)

Satoshi Kon’s contribution to the animation medium was nothing short of absolutely breathtaking, as the director created films that blurred the lines of fantasy and reality and placed great emphases on the feminine energy. After the mind blowing “Perfect Blue,” Kon delivered what is arguably one of the best animated films ever conceived. Now bring granted a limited run in theaters nationwide, “Millennium Actress” is a wonderful experience you have to see for yourself, as it’s stunning, and absolutely surprising in the way Kon celebrates the adventure that is life.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Nickelodeon has been in a tricky scenario over the last five years, in where the audience that once watched their hit shows is now becoming adults. Now they’ve scrambled for ways to appeal to a new generation, even aging their banner characters a bit. With “Dora the Explorer,” Nickelodeon has taken great pains in allowing her to blossom with her audience, and then revert back to the original formula that made her such a hit. With this feature film adaptation, they manage to pull off what is a loving tribute, a fun action adventure film, an adaptation that is never afraid to poke fun at itself every now and then, and a spotlight for latinx movie heroes we can root for.

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Ever After (Endzeit) (2019)

Director Carolina Hellsgård wears her heart on her sleeve with “Ever After,” a movie that’s mired in the influence of femininity and women and offers up a lot of metaphysical ideas about mother Earth, nature, and our state of being. Although “Ever After” has been marketed as a zombie movie, the zombie element is mostly a background dressing for something more meditative and complex. While I adapted to what screenwriter Olivia Vieweg was leading us in to after the first half hour, “Ever After” still manages to be a mixed bag and doesn’t quite re-invent the wheel.

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Steampunk Connection (2019) [Fantasia Festival 2019]

Director Annie Deniel’s “Steampunk Connection” will likely be admired in the same vein as “Trekkies,” in that it examines a strong fan movement that allows people to connect through a broad scope of science fiction. It’s also been integrated in to their everyday lives and for many of them, the art form of Steampunk has allowed them to grow as people, and realize their potential in mediums like mechanics, engineering, and fashion. If there is anything that may push audiences away is that director Deniel digs so deep in to the following that it’s almost too niche for a broader audience.

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Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997) [Blu-Ray]

By 1997 the “Power Rangers” had reached the nadir of their popularity and with the appeal of the franchise dying down as fans grew older, “Turbo” was a last gasp cash grab. It didn’t just bring the old and new Rangers (for the most part, anyway) to the big screen, but it also rebooted the Power Rangers in to a auto-centric kind of Power Rangers team that would do nothing but go downhill from here.

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