Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Fantasy > Action > Fairy Tale > Silhouette Film > Germany > Comic Strip > Adventure > Belgian > Adventures Of Prince Achmed (1926/Milestone DVD)/Adventures Of Tintin – Season One (1991/Shout! Factory DVD)/Caldecott Favorites + Giving Thanks (Scholastic DVDs)/Littlest Angel (2011/Anchor Bay DVD)/

Adventures Of Prince Achmed (1926/Milestone DVD)/Adventures Of Tintin – Season One (1991/Shout! Factory DVD)/Caldecott Favorites + Giving Thanks (Scholastic DVDs)/Littlest Angel (2011/Anchor Bay DVD)/Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Space Adventures (Disney DVD)


Picture: C+/C/C+/C+/C+/C/C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B/D/C+/C+/C+/C-/C     Episodes/Shorts: B/C+/B-/C+/C-/C+



With the holidays here, more children’s product is coming out as expected, but this time, it includes some higher quality product for a change than the usual franchise formula fluff.


Most amazing is Lotte Reiniger’s Adventures Of Prince Achmed, the groundbreaking 1926 German animated work that invented the Silhouette Film and is technically the first feature-length animated film ever made, putting it 12 years before Disney’s fully hand-animated Snow White.  This is the best surviving print of the five-part classic that too few have seen and is just remarkable beyond belief.  Miss Reiniger would hand cut hundreds of shapes, then match them into being fully realized plants, animals, people, etc. and animated them.  In silhouette, you cannot see the metal studs holding them together, yet the final product has life, character as distinctive as the stop-motion animation of Ray Harryhausen and then she can actually tell the story with few title cards.  Yes, it is a silent work, but a remarkable work that everyone should see because it is that stunning.  Go out of your way for it.


Extras include second track with the subtitles read, terrific stills gallery, Lotte Reiniger: Homage To The Inventor Of The Silhouette Film documentary by Ketja Raganelli that includes clips of more films along with surviving figures and backgrounds for her various films and a 1921 silhouette short by Reiniger called The Secret Of The Marquise, which also turns out to be an add for a famous beauty product still in production today.



With the Spielberg revival on the way, Shout! Factory is releasing Adventures Of Tintin – Season One (1991) that has not been seen as much in the U.S. and so much so that our only previous coverage is a box set from Australia of three feature films from 1964 – 1972 at this link:




My fellow writer liked the films even more than I did and I did like them, though I thought the picture and sound were much better then he was giving them credit for with exceptional color and were apparently from HD masters.  This new U.S. DVD set has 13 episodes and is lots of fun, though I think I liked the older films better.  Still, there is something special and stand-out about the ever-popular Hergé comic strip that may finally find a permanent home in the U.S. and this is as nice a place as any to start.  There are no extras.



The latest releases from Scholastic include a box set called Caldecott Favorites and a single called Giving Thanks meant for the Holidays, though having Native Americans on the cover and as the subject of the main short is a little problematic considering the genocide they experienced after Europeans arrived, but has some history to it and is narrated by Chief Jake Swamp.  This also includes the Lincoln & Douglas short we covered in a separate release (complete with the extra interview by author Nikki Giovanni), Pilgrims Of Plymouth and Hiawatha.  Caldecott Favorites offers three singles: Antarctic Antics (with six related shorts, half of which are considered bonus shorts for some reason), The Erza Jack Keats Collection (also with six related shorts, half of which are considered bonus shorts for some reason, plus Spanish tracks on two of them) and Make Way For Ducklings (with a Spanish version of the title offering and five more shorts, two of which are considered bonus).  We’ll count the bonus shorts as bonus even if we should not.



The overly simple and silly The Littlest Angel (2011) seems harmless on its own, though it still feels like it is trying to hide some Bible lesson, but it is otherwise a slight CG production about child angles in heaven and the title character has to bring his dog back to earth with him for a mission.  This is a bit much on some levels, but we have seen worse, yet be very cautious and be sure to go through this one before you show your child, because you may find some of it objectionable just the same.  A study guide download is the only extra.



Finally we have some more familiar faces.  With decent computer animation of the classic characters, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse – Space Adventures is a charming, fun, child-safe release that puts the classic gang in space, though not for the first time but in an up-to-date way.  Like some other shows on TV now, Mickey talks directly to the audience and asks them to answer back.  Nice to see the characters hold up so well and the company keeping them that way.  Extras include a regular bonus episode of the show called “Goofy’s Thinking Cap”, Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices and glow-in-the-dark sticker sheet that works well enough.



The 1.33 X 1 black and white image on Achmed is about as good as it is going to look for its age and in this format, though it is an image that is often tinted, while the color picture on the various Scholastic shorts have their share of aliasing, staircasing and softness from short to short, but the same image across all the Tintin episodes have even more plus digital combing that makes no sense and holds back its picture quality.  That’s sad because the color is good.  The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Angel is the softest of all between the style chosen, this transfer and the lack of advanced CG technology to make it in the first place, while the same 1.78 on Mickey is a little soft, but also colorful and more like moderate CG productions not from Pixar.  All are here in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, save the Dolby 5.1 on Angel, but it has a very limited sound design, so you get productions ranging from 1926 to date (or 85 years!) and less sound difference than you might expect.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com