Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011/Fox Blu-ray w/DVD)/Astonishing X-Men: Dangerous (Shout! Factory DVD)/Conan The Adventurer – Season Two, Part 2
(Shout! Factory DVD)/Mo Willem’s Pigeon
& His Pals (Scholastic DVD Set)/Yo
Gabba Gabba!: Super Spies (Nickelodeon DVD)
B- & C/C+/C/C+/C+ Sound: B-
(DVDs: C+) Extras: D (Willem: C) Main Programs: D/C/C/B-/C+
and then motion picture features decided to lean towards toy-based franchises
with minimal educational value, it was considered a bad mix in the absence of
not enough educational releases and despite being (too obviously) profitable,
could only offer so much. The following
mix of child-aimed releases show toy franchise fatigue in ways even those who
might not have minded the shift would not be impressed by.
lawsuit and nothing more to do, Alvin
& The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (2011) was made anyhow, is the third
release in the tired franchise and despite making more money than anyone
expected, the worst of the franchise since the 1980s TV show. Loaded with too much music (especially badly
done), no energy, a certain tired cynicism in its predictability and the
feeling of repeating the formula to death, a change of locale did not produce
anything good and even Jason Lee looks like he is struggling to seem
fresh. The animation is not as smooth as
before, as supposed upgrades seem to have backfired and though the previous two
features (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) were very, very weak,
this is lighter than clichéd island music we should have heard more often. Justin Long, Christina Applegate and Anna
Faris even show up to no avail. Unless
you have an obsessed child, skip it!
include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable devices, five featurettes, a way to
dance with the trio, Sing-Along Music Videos (eeeeeeee) and Extended Scenes
erroneously referred to as “hilarious”.
Marvels’ Avengers feature coming up, they have issued two animated titles
through Shout! Factory: Astonishing
X-Men: Dangerous from the motion comics Marvel Knights series and the older
animated TV semi-hit Conan The
Adventurer – Season Two, Part 2 just to have product out there. The X-Men find themselves working with The
Fantastic Four among other things in a Joss Whedon co-created arc while Conan
continues to yell 1980s muscleman style before attacks and bad storylines. In both cases, I found the material flat,
uninvolving and not even as good as the sometimes-criticized Marvel 1960s animated
The X-Men Knights tale here follows Gifted from 2010 (also reviewed
elsewhere on this site) which I thought was better and my fellow writer really
enjoyed, while the animation (if you can call it that) is of course, not as
good as the early 1990s X-Men series
(reviewed in separate volumes on this site) or Wolverine & The X-Men series (reviewed on Blu-ray and DVD on
this site), so though this is not the nadir of the franchise animated, it is a
disappointment. As for Conan, two of my
fellow writers were only so impressed with the first two DVD releases and I am
even less so across the 7 episodes on the 2 DVDs here.
after seeing what worked in the 2011 feature film despite not doing well, that
was much closer to Conan than anything (including the first John Milius/Arnold Schwarzenegger
film) that has even been brought to film or TV.
Yes, the new film is much more violent and not for children, but does
the animated show have to be so stale and boring so often? If anything, it is as if Marvel is jumping on
the He-Man bandwagon, which is a
mistake. Needless to say, neither set
has any extras and we can see why.
do you turn to for quality children’s TV?
Mo Willem’s Pigeon & His Pals
is a new double DVD set (made from two single DVD releases from Scholastic including
a short or two we have seen in a previous DVD Set from them and New Video. We get two stories each for Pigeon, Knuffle
Bunny and two stand-alone tales that are intelligent, amusing, entertaining and
just fine for the young audience they are aimed at. No singing groups or superheroes needed here;
all we need are fun characters who deliver something authentic that works short
include Mo & Pigeon Visit A School,
Getting To Know Mo Willems and Animating Pigeon featurettes, Read Along
function and an on-camera Willems interview.
we have one of the latest four-episode Nickelodeon single DVD release of Yo Gabba Gabba!: Super Spies. This set follows its theme (Mystery, Space and Big join the
title episode) and this is among the usually amusing entries in the hit series
that is fun, energetic and colorful.
Reminding me of 1970s hit shows somewhat, the show is still its own
ballgame and I expect it is going to be around for a long time. There are no extras, but it is as child-friendly
as ever and one of the better selections on the list.
1.85 X 1 AVC @ 27 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on the Alvin Blu-ray is the best performer on
the list, but that is by default as it has more motion blur than the previous entries
had that I remembered and color is also limited. There are also color and detail limits, plus
a general; sense of a phony look throughout just to make the computer animated
characters fit the liver action world, which is even worse on the anamorphically
enhanced DVD version which is even weaker.
That leaves the limited-performance of the anamorphically enhanced 1.78
X 1 image on X-Men and 1.33 X 1
image on the rest of the DVDs (with their aliasing errors and limited
definition) better than the Alvin
DVD and old Conan transfers (with
their soft finished-on-old-analog-tape look) Alvin’s equal!
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is on the Alvin Blu-ray is also limited, too much towards the front speakers
(including oddly with the songs) and a soundfield that suffers throughout
(including a sense of digital phoniness in the mix) throughout. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Alvin
DVD is even worse and really no better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
on the rest of the DVDs.
- Nicholas Sheffo