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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Cars > Construction > Travel > Education > Telefilm > Animals > Magic > Dogs > The Adventures Of Chuck & Friends: Friends To The Finish (Shout! Factory Kids DVD)/Dora’s Easter Adventure (Nickelodeon DVD)/Disney’s Geek Charming (DVD Set)/My Little Pony: Friendship Magic: The Frie

The Adventures Of Chuck & Friends: Friends To The Finish (Shout! Factory Kids)/Dora’s Easter Adventure (Nickelodeon DVD)/Disney’s Geek Charming (DVD Set)/My Little Pony: Friendship Magic: The Friendship Express (Shout! Factory Kids)/Treasure Buddies (2012/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)


Picture: C+/C+/C/C/B & C-     Sound: C+/C+/C+/C+/B & B-     Extras: C-/C-/D/C-/C-     Main Programs: C/C+/D/C/C-



Here is a mix of undistinguished children’s titles that are more of the same and sometimes odd.



The Adventures Of Chuck & Friends wants to capitalize on the Pixar CARS franchise and construction subgenre of special interest titles that appeal to children, but Friends To The Finish is average, though child-friendly and offers ten stories running 100 minutes.  Nice for young children, this is passable, but nothing too impressive.  Not that Cars 2 was that good, but this is only going to appeal to so many children and many will get bored quickly, though I could imagine some enjoying this more than I did.  There are no extras.


Though President’s Day is not here yet, Dora The Explorer is back with Dora’s Easter Adventure as I guess going to Mt. Rushmore is somehow not as interesting as colored eggs?  With that, we get the title adventure and two more episodes listed as bonus, but should not be, so we barely consider those extras.


The sappy live-action Disney’s Geek Charming is a would-be comedy aimed at pre-teen gals that is a cable telefilm as phony and processed as any of their battery of such efforts of late and I found this one especially formulaic and boring.  Everyone seems plastic and like an animated mannequin, while the dialogue is flat and dull.  Instead of falling in love, I wondered why in the midst of all this beauty and make-up, they did not get bored with themselves and fall asleep like I did watching this one.  What a big yawner, this is as charmless as it gets.  Oh, and did I note this thinks it takes place in the filmmaking business?  Well, its portrayal has zero to do with anything in real life and is embarrassingly so.  Ten episodes of the rather obnoxious series Shake It Up and some charm toys are the extras.


My Little Pony: Friendship Magic: The Friendship Express is a CG animated revival of the toy franchise with revised designs for the horses.  This was odd more than boring and nothing we have not seen before, but unless you like the toys, this was rather generic for being so colorful.  We get five episodes, but this is more simplistic than usual.  Slight extras include sing-a-longs, the debut episode of the new Pound Puppies show and digital coloring sheet.


Finally we have the latest entry in Disney’s ever-bizarre talking dog franchise.  Treasure Buddies (2012) takes the supposedly “cute” pups to Egypt and we get every Middle East cliché possible.  The five friends also find themselves on a quest for a treasure against an evil female cat, Cleocatra!  You can’t make this stuff up, but they did and some moments might be considered even politically incorrect on some level, which makes this entry one of the more bizarre.  You have been warned.  Extras include Music Video and a DIGS: B-Dawg Edition of the film.  Oh, boy.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Chuck is a little soft from its simpler CG animation, but is passable and has some good color as does Pony with its odd and softer animation and Geek is very weak for a live action presentation with the same playback.  The 1.33 X 1 on Dora is actually equal to or better than those entries when it should not be.  The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Buddies is easily the champ here, but still has softness issues, but not as badly as the anamorphically enhanced DVD included with it.


The lossy Dolby Digital audio on all DVDs here are underwhelming and above average, with the 5.1 mix on Buddies faring barley better than the 2.0 Stereo on the other DVDs, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Buddies Blu-ray is better than expected and even a tad better than its picture.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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