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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Children > CG Animation > Animals > Drama > TV > Bands On The Run: The Rubber Band Movie (NEM DVD) + Bratz – BFF + Care Bears – Flower Power (Lionsgate DVDs) + Dog Tales Collection (w/Sounder) + Horse Tales Collection (w/Misty/Mill Creek DVDs) + Fan

Bands On The Run: The Rubber Band Movie (NEM DVD) + Bratz – BFF + Care Bears – Flower Power (Lionsgate DVDs) + Dog Tales Collection (w/Sounder) + Horse Tales Collection (w/Misty/Mill Creek DVDs) + Fanboy & Chum Chum (Nickelodeon DVD) + Madeline & Her Friends (Shout! Factory DVD) + SpongeBob Squarepants – Heroes Of The Bikini Bottom + Yo Gabba Gabba - Circus (Nickelodeon DVD)


Picture: C/C+/C+/C/C/C+/C+/C+/C+     Sound: C+ (Bands/Tales Sets: C)     Extras: D (Bands, Bears: C-/SpongeBob, Gabba: C)     Episodes/Films: C+ (Bratz/Horse: C)



This time, we get to compare different types of children’s programming (form then and now, as well as film vs. TV) and different eras….



Bands On The Run: The Rubber Band Movie is a new, recent CG animated program that is so odd that though child-friendly, the combination of its cheap animation and storyline of five rubber bands (I kid you not) being thrown away by truckers delivering them and leads them to “band” together to get where they are going is the most unreal such program we have seen in a while.  The title will remind many of the Paul McCartney & Wings album Band On The Run (reviewed elsewhere on this site) and one rubber band looks like McCartney with punky spiked hair and a guitar.  Oh, and we get music too.  This is bound to become a curio, but expect the oddest show.  Extras include a package of rubber bands stuck into the DVD case, as well as storyboards and a making of featurette on the DVD.  The Image has strange flaws and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is a little weak.


Bratz – BFF, Madeline & Her Friends, SpongeBob Squarepants – Heroes Of The Bikini Bottom, Care Bears – Flower Power and Yo Gabba Gabba - Circus continue more of the same in single DVD versions of the series/franchises we have reviewed before as follows:


Bratz/Madeline/SpongeBob Squarepants



Care Bears



Yo Gabba Gabba




As expected, the Bratz (four episodes) and Care Bears (8 shorts, plus trailers and parent’s guide) series are not getting any better, Madeline (six shorts) is being at least consistent, SpongeBob (8 shorts, plus bonus shorts and T.U.F.F. Puppy episode) funny enough and Yo Gabba Gabba (four episodes) an underrated show that still has yet to peak.  It is more of the same, which even when it is good, may only be good entertainment and not educational, repetitious and too safe for the minds of its growing audience.  They are just fine for what they are, but they become much like the previous releases and only a child will know what they think a favorite show is.  Picture and sound are also the same as previous releases.


Mill Creek has issued two sometimes odd DVD sets called Dog Tales Collection and Horse Tales Collection that tend to mix up theatrical films from the Fox vault of all things with bad TV movies.  Dog is shocking (and maybe problematic) by including no less than Martin Ritt’s 1972 hit Sounder about a poor black family trying to survive in the South.  Hard to believe Mattel Toys (home of Barbie and He-Man) co-sponsored this film, but they did.  Paul Winfield and Cicely Tyson are still good here, but this is not a film about their family dog!  The 1959 A Dog Of Flanders is another Fox film included here (both in anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 transfers, though they are a little weak) and harmless duds A Dog’s Tale (2003) and Finn On The Fly (2008) that do not work.  Horse Tales Collection includes the 1961 Fix film Misty also in a weak anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 transfers, plus 1972’s Mary White (with Kathleen Beller, Ed Flanders, Fionnula Flanagan and Tim Matheson and duds Wind Dancer (2004) and Wildfire – The Arabia Heart (2009).


The lesser works are fuzzier and have even weaker color and Dolby Digital 2.0 either Mono or Stereo that might as well be monophonic.  There are no extras and these sets will only go so far, but the earlier films reflect a more intelligent approach to children’s programming newer shows have abandoned, even when they were boring or did not work.  Neither set has any extras.


That leaves superhero genre spoof Fanboy & Chum Chum, a Nickelodeon CG animated series that definitely has shades of the Batman & Robin team, but is also trying to be hip.  They have silly arch-villains and there are a few chuckles, but I give it some credit for having the Kick Ass style and attitude without the anger, hate and crudeness.  Whether this will last like the shows above (and others in the links provided above) remains to be seen, but it is at least somewhat ambitious, though no match for the similar likes of Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse, reviewed elsewhere on this site.  Extras include bonus shorts and Planet Sheen Pilot episode.


I just wonder where are (and why are there a lack of) the smart shows like Schoolhouse Rock anywhere outside of PBS.  It is something to think about and maybe even be concerned at least a bit about.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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